Fantastic Finish Ends with Disqualification and McKinzie Victory
Trainer Bob Baffert saddled the two favorites in the short field of the $300,000 Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) Saturday, and Solomini (8-5) and McKinzie (1-2) finished three across to the wire with longshot Instilled Regard (17-1). The Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race saw Solomini cross the finish line first, but the stewards put up the inquiry sign and disqualified Solomini, not for keeping Instilled Regard from winning but finishing second. McKinzie was second across the line, but was declared the winner on the disqualification. However, McKinzie could not be found for the winners’ circle picture because he’d already gone back to the barn.
“I’m still mad that horse [McKinzie]) wasn’t around for the picture,” Baffert said. “[Jockey] Mike [Smith] got off the horse and didn’t think there was enough for the horse to come down, so they took him back to the barn.”
McKinzie is named after popular Los Alamitos official Brad McKinzie, one of Bob Baffert’s best friends, who died earlier this year at age 62 of kidney cancer.
“I think McKinzie learned a lot today,” Baffert said. “He went a little early today and got tired at the end. You learn by running these horses.…We didn’t know that much about him other than he was really fast.”
Will McKinzie earn his way to the Kentucky Derby? He’s one of the initial favorites at 12-1 in Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager.
The head-on view showed Solomini making contact with Instilled Regard, forcing his hind end to go slightly askew. The California rule is if one horse costs another horse a placing, then he must come down. Because McKinzie in second, beat Instilled Regard by only a head, it was ruled the bump cost the horse second place.
The stewards voted 2-1 to take down Solomini.
Baffert attributed Solomini’s contact to the fact the colt hasn’t learned to change leads. Horses lead with either the left or right side and alternate on straightaways and turns to keep from getting tired. (Think about pulling a suitcase through the airport and how you often alternate hands.)
“That’s why he got DQ’d,” Baffert said, without agreeing with the decision. “He came over. He did make contact. I can see why the stewards looked at it. It’s one of those things. They have a tough job and when they say it’s official, that’s it. Nothing you can do about it.”
McKinzie paid $3.00 and $2.40. There was no show wagering in the 1 1/16-mile race because it was only a five-horse field. It was his second win in two starts and the 10th time Baffert has won this race.
Baffert then won the $300,000 Starlet Stakes for 2-year-old fillies with Dream Tree to become the first trainer in the 38-year history of the two races to win them both in the same year.