The 77th summer season of Thoroughbred racing at Del Mar comes to an end Sept. 5 with a vintage renewal of the $300,000 Del Mar Futurity (gr. I), the seven-furlong contest for 2-year-olds which has been pivotal in the development of future stars, including the last three winners of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I)—Eclipse Award champions California Chrome , American Pharoah , and Nyquist .
California Chrome was a troubled sixth in the 2013 Futurity, but went on to Horse of the Year honors the next season en route to becoming North America's richest money-winner of all-time, with earnings of more than $13 million.
American Pharoah ended a 37-year drought when he swept the 2015 Triple Crown, the first since Affirmed in 1978, and also was acclaimed Horse of the Year after a memorable triumph in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I).
Nyquist followed up his Futurity victory with success in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), and earned recognition as 2015's best 2-year-old, setting the stage for his Kentucky Derby win last spring.
Three potential stars head the field in Monday's 69th Futurity.
Chasing Aces bettered Soldier Girl's 52-year-old Del Mar record for five furlongs when he blistered the distance in 56.21 seconds in breaking his maiden July 17.
Straight Fire, runner-up to Chasing Aces, returned brilliantly Aug. 6 when he won by 10 1/2 lengths in 1:14.94 for 6 1/2 furlongs.
Klimt won the Futurity steppingstone Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) Aug. 13 in game fashion and is trainer Bob Baffert's hopeful for an incredible 13th Futurity triumph; he carries high weight of 123 pounds.
Tyler Baze returns aboard Chasing Aces, who is trained by Peter Miller; Kent Desormeaux again has the call from brother Keith Desormeaux on Straight Fire, and Rafael Bejarano will pilot Klimt.
Completing the line-up are stylish debut winner Midnight Pleasure, and maidens Vegas Itch and Dynamic Ruler. Del Mar, Monday, September 05, 2016, Race 5
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L 1 1Chasing Aces (KY) Tyler Baze 120 Peter Miller 9/5 2 2Straight Fire (KY) Kent J. Desormeaux 120 J. Keith Desormeaux 8/5 3 3Midnight Pleasure (KY) Martin Garcia 120 Shelbe Ruis 10/1 4 4Vegas Itch (KY) Jamie Theriot 118 George Papaprodromou 20/1 5 5Dynamic Ruler (KY) Flavien Prat 118 Vann Belvoir 20/1 6 6Klimt (KY) Rafael Bejarano 123 Bob Baffert 2/1
Del Mar, Monday, September 05, 2016, Race 5