Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has a chance to make history Dec. 9 in the $300,000 Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity (G1) and $300,000 Starlet Stakes (G1).
In the history of the two grade 1 races for 2-year-olds—which have been run since 1981 at either Hollywood Park or Los Alamitos Race Course—no trainer has ever won both in the same year.
Baffert, who has won the Starlet three times and the Futurity on nine occasions, including all three run at Los Alamitos, will send out the undefeated Dream Tree in the Starlet and Solomini and McKinzie in the CashCall Futurity. Both races are at 1 1/16 miles.
Owned by Zayat Stables, Solomini, a $270,000 purchase from Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency's consignment to the 2016 Keeneland September sale, finished second behind Good Magic in the Nov. 4 Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) at Del Mar.
Prior to the Juvenile, the son of Curlin defeated maidens going 6 1/2 furlongs in his Sept. 2 debut at Del Mar, then was second to Bolt d'Oro in the Sept. 30 FrontRunner Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park.
Owned by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman, McKinzie—named in honor of the late Los Alamitos executive Brad McKinzie—broke his maiden by 5 1/2 lengths when debuting at seven furlongs Oct. 28. The son of Street Sense has trained well since the victory firing three straight bullet moves, including a six-furlong breeze in 1:12 4/5 Nov. 27 at Santa Anita.
Mark McKinzie, whose older brother died Aug. 6 at 62 after battling renal carcinoma, is eagerly anticipating McKinzie's next start.
"I can't wait for the race," he said. "I thought the horse looked really good in his win and he's done very well preparing for the Futurity. It would be very special to win (the Futurity).
"We're hoping we're going to be making a trip to the Kentucky Derby next year.''
Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who won the final CashCall Futurity run at Hollywood Park with Shared Belief in 2013, will be represented Saturday by Instilled Regard.
An Arch colt, Instilled Regard finished second and third in two sprint starts to start his career, then won by 4 1/4 lengths when stretched out to the CashCall Futurity distance Oct. 29. Instilled Regard has earned $48,000 for OXO Equine LLC.
Runaway Ghost, an authoritative winner of the Nov. 11 Golden Nugget at Golden Gate Fields in his first start in five months, will try two turns for the first time for owner-breeder Joe Peacock and trainer Mike Machowsky.
A son of Ghostzapper , Runaway Ghost has won two of three and banked $73,550. Prior to his 7 1/2-length win in the Golden Nugget, the Kentucky bred finished second in his May 12 debut, then defeated next out graduate Serengeti and seven others going five furlongs June 10 at Santa Anita.
Completing the CashCall Futurity field is For Him, who has one win in four starts and earnings of $28,345.
Dream Tree, who is owned by Phoenix Thoroughbred III, will try more yardage in the Starlet after beginning her career with two narrow wins.
The Uncle Mo filly, who was purchased earlier this year for $750,000, scored by a nose over Midnight Bisou in her Oct. 27 debut at six furlongs, then defeated the same rival by the same margin 22 days later going seven-eighths of a mile in the Desi Arnaz Stakes at Del Mar.
Piedi Bianchi will be seeking her second win for Nice Guys Stable, Joe Bick, Jay Oringer, and trainer Doug O'Neill.
The Overanalyze filly has started five times and earned $201,000. In her most recent start, the $80,000 purchase at the Ocala Breeders' Sales March sale of 2-year-olds in training finished fifth in the 14 Hands Winery Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) Nov. 4.
Pieidi Bianchi, who has been worse than third only once, debuted at Los Alamitos July 6, finishing second behind She's No Drama.
War Heroine, a Lonhro filly, stretches out for trainer Peter Miller after a 6 3/4-length debut score at 6 1/2 furlongs Nov. 12 at Del Mar.
Exuberance, who was a 6 1/2-length winner over maidens in her first start around two turns Oct. 13, will make her graded stakes debut for Seltzer Thoroughbreds and trainer Ian Kruljac.
Trainer Simon Callaghan, who won the 2016 Starlet with Abel Tasman, will try for a repeat with Yesterday's News. Owned by J. Paul and Zillah Reddam's Reddam Racing, the New Year's Day filly has one win in five starts and earnings of $53,245.
The last trainer to win the Starlet in consecutive years was D. Wayne Lukas, who scored with Sharp Cat in 1996 and Love Lock in 1997 at Hollywood Park, marking four consecutive wins in the race.