Mastery wins the Bob Hope Stakes

Mastery wins the Bob Hope Stakes

Benoit Photo

Promising Mastery Heads Los Al Futurity Field

Owner has "big plans" for undefeated Candy Ride colt.

An experienced horse owner, Everett Dobson didn't want to say it—but he gave hints.

Undefeated Mastery , who Dobson owns under the name Cheyenne Stables, is the commanding favorite for the Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity (gr. I), but he's also a colt carrying expectations. It would be hope of the Triple Crown trail.

"I'm that guy that always says 'one game at a time.'" Dobson said with a laugh. "But we definitely have big plans for him if he continues to move forward."

Dobson, a three-time graded stakes winner as a solo owner, has also seen success in partnerships with 2011 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I) and King's Bishop (gr. I) winner Caleb's Posse , as well as two-time graded victor Madefromlucky .

On Mastery—a 2-year-old Candy Ride  colt who won his October debut at Santa Anita Park by 4 1/4 lengths then scored a hand-ridden victory in the Nov. 19 Bob Hope (gr. III) at Del Mar—Dobson has taken his cue from his trainer, Hall of Famer Bob Baffert.

BALAN: Mastery Masterful in Bob Hope Victory

"Bob is high on him," Dobson said. "Every time I talk to him, he says he's doing everything as good and professional as a horse of his age can be doing it."

Baffert has taken his time with the colt—bred by Stone Farm out of the Old Trieste mare Steady Course—who was a $425,000 purchase by Gatewood Bell's Cromwell Bloodstock at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale.

Even early on, Dobson got indications of Mastery's quality.

"He was broken and trained in Randy Bradshaw's place in Ocala," Dobson said. "He said all along that this is the real deal—the kind that you can have some real fun with.

"And he never took that step back so many can take, both physically and mentally. It's rare when it doesn't happen. He's a May foal, so we didn't really get him going until November and never thought about getting him started early."

Then comes the big hint, in reference to a certain race in May that is run at a certain distance.

"He's fun to watch run because he's so professional," Dobson said. "He has a huge stride length and that's always encouraging when you're looking to get a mile and a quarter."

The rest of the five-colt field lacks the visually impressive punch Mastery has displayed, but potential upsetters loom in debut winners Bobby Abu Dhabi and another Baffert-trained colt, Show Me Da Lute.

Show Me Da Lute won his 1 1/16-mile debut at Santa Anita Oct. 29 by 1 3/4 lengths, but did so at the tepid price of 6-1. Horses who train well for Baffert—like Mastery, who won his debut at 3-10 odds—are often well-known by Southern California clockers and have a tendency to take heavy pari-mutuel action. The son of Midnight Lute  is also just one of two in the field—along with Dangerfield, who took the Oak Tree Juvenile Stakes at Pleasanton Oct. 1—to have a two-turn win on his record.

Rockingham Ranch's Bobby Abu Dhabi was well-supported in his debut, a 6 1/2-furlong race at Del Mar Nov. 19. Off at 2-1, the Peter Miller-trained son of Macho Uno  prevailed to win by a head and connections feel the added distance will only help.

"One of the things we've liked is that in his works, he's been wanting more distance," said Brian Trump, Rockingham's director of operations. "We had a couple options, like an (upcoming allowance for his next race), but one of the best things with our owner Gary (Hartunian) is that he likes to take chances. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't."

Along with Dangerfield, Doug O'Neill also has maiden Irap entered to complete the 1 1/16-mile Futurity field.

Entries: Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity (G1)

LOS ALAMITOS RACE COURSE, Saturday, December 10, 2016, Race 6

  • Grade I
  • 1 1/16m
  • Dirt
  • $300,000
  • 2 yo
  • 2:58 PM (local)
11Dangerfield (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateDrayden Van Dyke120Doug F. O'Neill6/1
22Bobby Abu Dhabi (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateNorberto Arroyo, Jr.120Peter Miller4/1
33Mastery (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateMike E. Smith120Bob Baffert1/2
44Show Me Da Lute (KY)Martin Garcia120Bob Baffert7/2
55Irap (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateMario Gutierrez120Doug F. O'Neill20/1