In the latest graded race for juveniles, trainer Bob Baffert led a sweep of the top four positions in the Sept. 11 Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) on the closing-day card at the southern California oval.
The effect of the seven-furlong race on the Bessemer Trust Juvenile remains to be seen, however, as Baffert said winner Icecoldbeeratreds is more of a sprinter and will be kept at one-turn races. Of his other contenders in the race, Baffert said he was disappointed that favored Bull Market "missed the break" before ranging up to run with Icecoldbeeratreds on the lead but eventually dropped back to be sixth in the eight-horse field.
Del Mar Futurity runner-up Kafwain will likely move up in the World Thoroughbred Rankings when the Juvenile list comes out next week, as he was one of five horses tied for ninth on the list last week.
Sunday's $200,000, one-mile Futurity Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park contest could be a big stepping stone for Whywhywhy, who won the Sanford Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga July 25 and also took the Flash Stakes (gr. III) wire to wire over the Belmont layout.
Atfirst Blush enters the Futurity off a sharp maiden victory, and the full brother to Rubiyat can't be dismissed here. Valid Video is undefeated in two starts, including the Sapling (gr. III) at Monmouth, and has won both on the lead and coming from off the pace.
Silver Squire has never been outrun to the wire in two starts, although he was disqualified in his second effort for lugging in. Pretty Wild ran second behind Sky Mesa in the Hopeful (gr. I) at Saratoga. Bob Baffert ships Truckle Feature cross country to compete.
Top honors in the division are presently shared by two undefeated colts--impressive Hopeful winner Sky Mesa and Euro-based Elusive City--followed by Zavata and Zafeen.
Owned by John C. Oxley and trained by John Ward Jr., who teamed to win the Kentucky Derby with Monarchos, Sky Mesa upset 2-5 favorite Zavata in his Aug. 31 Hopeful triumph at Saratoga. The son of Pulpit has won all three career starts, beginning with a romp in his maiden at Saratoga on Aug. 3.
One of the victories by Elusive City could be taken away from the colt after he tested positive for a prohibitive medication following his win in the group II Richmond Stakes on July 30. The outcome is dependent upon confirmation of the positive sample. Trainer Gerard Butler has said the positive test may have been a result of his use within recommended guidelines of a medication used to treat ulcers. Elusive City, a U.S.-bred son of Elusive Quality, has subsequently won the Prix Morny (Fr-I) in France.
The top juvenile list also includes Prix Morny runner-up Zafeen, a son of the recently-deceased stallion Zafonic. Trained by Mike R. Channon, the colt has one win and two seconds in three career efforts, all on grass.
Despite his Hopeful loss, Zavata remained third on the Juvenile rankings this week. The Hopeful ended a three-race win skein for Zavata, who has two graded stakes wins to his credit.