Prime Ruler and Great Hunter, the potential favorites, drew at opposite ends of the gate for Wednesday's $250,000 Del Mar Futurity (gr. II) for 2-year-olds, the closing day feature at the seashore.
Charles Cono's Prime Ruler, who broke his maiden impressively at first asking at Del Mar for trainer Christopher Paasch, drew the rail and will be ridden by Alex Solis. The Doug O'Neill-trained Great Hunter is on the outside in the seven-horse field with Corey Nakatani aboard. O'Neill won the Del Mar Futurity last year with Brother Derek.
All horses will carry 117 pounds in the seven-furlong dash.
Missing from this year's 59th running of the Futurity is trainer Bob Baffert, who has dominated the race like no other. Baffert won it seven consecutive years from 1996 to 2002, but has been blanked since. Baffert's key 2-year-old male, E Z Warrior, came up with sore shins earlier in the meet and won't be ready to run for a while longer, the trainer said.
"I have no plans for him right now," he said.
J. Paul Reddam's Great Hunter was second in both the Hollywood Juvenile Championship (gr. III) – to E Z Warrior – and to the Paasch-trained Principle Secret (also owned by Cono) in the Best Pal (gr. II) Aug. 13.
Stormello, who was third in the Best Pal, and Divide and Conquer, who placed fifth, both return for the Futurity as well.
Lucky Thirteen, from the Mike Harrington barn, the Richard Mandella-trained Horse Greeley, and Brian Koriner trainee Caped for Flight are prospects that broke their maidens during this meet. Caped for Flight is the most recent, going to the winner's circle Aug. 26.$250,000 Del Mar Futurity (gr. II, Race 8, 5:30 p.m.), 2-Year-Olds, 7 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Jockey
1. Prime Ruler (KY), Alex Solis
2. Lucky Thirteen (CA), Michael Baze
3. Divide and Conquer (KY), Clinton Potts
4. Stormello (KY), Kent Desormeaux
5. Horse Greeley (KY), Victor Espinoza
6. Caped for Flight (KY), Aaron Gryder
7. Great Hunter (PA), Corey NakataniEach assigned 117 pounds.