Seven juvenile colts, led by a pair from the prolific Bob Baffert barn, look for a first stakes victory in the $150,000 Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) at Del Mar Aug. 7.
Baffert sends out Brigand, a $925,000 purchase by Kaleem Shah at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. March select sale of 2-year-olds in training, and Night Tide, a $150,000 yearling buy at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky in July 2010 owned by Peachtree Stable.
Both bay colts were first-out maiden winners at Hollywood Park and returned with big efforts in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship (gr. III) in their second starts July 17. Brigand, pulling early, came on for second to Majestic City in the six-furlong Cushion Track test while Night Tide ran third after setting a quick pace, finishing 1 1/4 lengths behind his stablemate.
Both colts are out of dams by Quiet American. Brigand is by Flatter and was produced by the unraced Silence Please. Night Tide was sired by Malibu Moon and is out of Yo Ali.
Garrett Gomez has the mount on Brigand, who drew the far outside post in the 6 1/2-furlong Polytrack test. Martin Garcia retains the call on Night Tide, breaking from post 4.
Baffert has won the Best Pal, the main stakes prep for the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) on closing day Sept. 7, a record seven times since 1998. His most recent victory was with last year's champion 3-year-old male Lookin At Lucky in 2009.
Majestic City is skipping the Best Pal and will instead wait for the Futurity, according to trainer Peter Miller.
Making the field is Olympia Star's Galex, another son of Flatter that was second in a stakes at Pleasanton as the even-money choice last time for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. Mighty Monsoon, a colt by Forestry trained by Jeff Bonde, ran third in the same July 9 race.
John Elder's homebred Curfew Tower, a son of City Zip , ships in from Keeneland for trainer Eric Reed following a third-place finish in a stakes at Colonial Downs July 16.
The others in the Best Pal, which is the eighth race on the card with a 5:30 p.m. PDT scheduled post, are first-out maiden winners Creative Cause and I'll Have Another .
Creative Cause, trained by Mike Harrington for owner Heinz Steinmann, is a Kentucky-bred son of Giant's Causeway that romped by 4 3/4 lengths at Hollywood July 16.
I'll Have Another hails from the Doug O'Neill barn for J. Paul Reddam. The Flower Alley colt took his field all the way to win by three parts of a length July 3 at Hollywood.
$150,000 Best Pal Stakes (gr. II, Race 8, 5:30 p.m.), 2-Year-Olds, 6 1/2 Furlongs (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. I'll Have Another (KY), J Rosario, D F O'Neill
2. Creative Cause (KY), R Bejarano, M Harrington
3. Mighty Monsoon (KY), V Espinoza, J Bonde
4. Night Tide (KY), M Garcia, B Baffert
5. Galex (KY), J Talamo, J Hollendorfer
6. Curfew Tower (KY), P A Valenzuela, E R Reed
7. Brigand (NY), G K Gomez, B Baffert
All carry 119 pounds.