The next stop on the Road to the Kentucky Derby will be the 2015 Los Alamitos Futurity, which runs out of Los Alamitos Racetrack in Cypress, California. The race is one of the highlights for two-year old colts, offering a purse of $500,000. This year’s renewal will run on Saturday, December 19th and remains one of the most anticipated competitions prior to the start of the new year.
Conceived in 1981 and previously known as the Hollywood Futurity and the Cashcall Futurity, past champions of this race have included Dortmund, Shared Belief and Lookin at Lucky. Perhaps the most successful winner of the Los Alamitos Futurity overall has been Point Given, who won the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes in 2001. Point Given would also claim victories at the Santa Anita Derby and Travers Stakes in that same year.
Aside from Shared Belief, all three of those horses share a trainer in common. Bob Baffert has been behind some of the sport’s greatest champions, including American Pharaoh. Baffert has also been the trainer for seven of the Los Alamitos Futurity winners. If he wins this weekend, he will set a new record for trainer wins at this race.
Naturally much of the attention for the 2015 renewal of the Los Alamitos Futurity falls on Baffert’s pair of entries. Mor Spirit has had a rough year filled with injuries and illness, but his handlers remain convinced that there is greatness in this two-year old. “We were hoping he’d be ready for the Breeder’s Cup,” Baffert said, “but illness during the summer interrupted his training.” Mor Spirit could very well be the one to watch if he is truly running at peak form. He last ran in the Kentucky Jockey Club (GR2), finishing second behind Airoforce.
How high are expectations for Mor Spirit? He is listed at 31/1 in the first pool of the Kentucky Derby Futures Wager. Airoforce and Swipe are the third favourites at 18/1, while Nyquist is the leader of the pack at 9/1. Mohaymen, one of the biggest draws in the pool, is second at 11/1.
The odds on favourite for the Los Alamitos Futurity is likely to be Baffert’s other horse, Toews on Ice who ended the first pool of the KDFW with 49/1 odds. It will be very interesting to see how the perception of Toews On Ice changes should he win the 2015 Los Alamitos Futurity. He is currently in the midst of a three race winning streak with triumphs at the Barretts Juvenile, Speakeasy and the Bob Hope Stakes (GR3).
The pressure is certainly on for Toews On Ice and Mor Spirit. They will contend with others, such as Hollywood Don, Urlacher and Sorryaboutnothin who could very well spoil the party but don’t seem like likely threats to Baffert’s two entries.