Drill won a contentious Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) (VIDEO) Sept. 7 that saw Majestic City disqualified from second to third after he came in sharply on odds-on favorite Creative Cause in the final strides. The Bob Baffert-trained Drill, sent off as the third choice in Del Mar's closing-day feature, completed the seven furlongs in 1:22.16 on Polytrack.
Drill's victory gave Baffert his 10th score in the Futurity since 1996. It also marked the second victory in three years for the ownership group of Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman, whose Lookin at Lucky won the 2009 renewal en route to the 2-year-old championship.
The Futurity's outcome looked to go any way as a quartet of juveniles took aim on the wire in virtual lockstep. Then the previously unbeaten Majestic City veered to the right under left-handed urging from David Flores, shutting off Creative Cause and sending Drill momentarily sideways. During the dust-up, Drill's jockey, Martin Garcia, lost his whip yet managed to right his colt and urge him onward with a wave of the reins.
The inquiry sign went up immediately, and after reviewing the head-on replay the stewards demoted Majestic City and elevated Creative Cause, who also came into the race unbeaten. Gun Boat finished fourth.
Garcia said despite the bumping and the loss of his whip, Drill responded well. "We were looking for a big race from him today. Bob said: ‘Don’t rush him today. Give him a good experience. Let him learn from this race.’
"He broke real sharp, but I took him back and put him in behind horses. Then when the time came, he was running. He finished strong. I got banged right at the end, but he was still strong. He’s a nice colt. How nice, we’re going to see."
Baffert concurred, saying Garcia had ridden Drill just as he had instructed: “This horse is just learning. He’s been working well here, but I really don’t think he like the Poly that much. I think he’ll prefer the dirt. I got a little nervous the last part when he got bumped, but I’m glad he came through."
Flores blamed fatigue for Majestic City's erratic stretch run.
Eight juveniles contested the $250,000 Futurity. Drill, a Kentucky-bred son of Lawyer Ron, broke well and settled in fifth early as stablemate Gun Boat outdueled Majestic City and Basmati down the backstretch in an opening quarter in :23.04. Drill and Creative Cause began their bids coming out of the turn, with the eventual winner widest of all.
Drill returned $10.40, $5.20, and $3.40, while Creative Cause paid $2.60 and $2.10. Majestic City returned $2.60.
Bred by Stonewall Farm Stallions and a $300,000 Keeneland September yearling sale buy, Drill finished eighth in his July 30 debut as the even-money choice, then won by a neck as the favorite in his second start Aug. 13 at Del Mar. Drill's Futurity victory boosts his earnings to $188,150.