December 9, 2022

Baffert seeks 14th Futurity with Roadster, Game Winner

Roadster works with Drayden Van Dyke up (c) Cecilia Gustavsson/

When it comes to the $300,000 Del Mar Futurity (G1), Bob Baffert stands front and center. The Hall of Fame trainer has won a staggering 13 editions of the seven-furlong test for juveniles and appears well-represented once again by top contenders Roadster and Game Winner.

Monday’s closing-day event lost a major player when Best Pal (G2) winner Instagrand was removed from consideration on Friday, but the Futurity will still feature a nice field of seven.

Roadster looks like he could be any kind. Bet down as the odds-on favorite in his July 29 debut, the gray Quality Road colt did not disappoint his many backers posting a dominant 4 ¼-length decision and registered an outstanding 96 BRIS Speed rating. The $525,000 yearling purchase will retain the services of Mike Smith.

Game Winner raced up close from the start and seized control leaving the far turn of his August 18 career bow, powering away to a 5 ¾-length romp. He earned a fine 92 Speed figure and the son of Candy Ride will wheel back off a 16-day rest in this spot with new rider Tiago Pereira.

Only seven trainers other than Baffert have won the Futurity since 1996.

Larry Best’s OXO Equine and Jerry Hollendorfer won’t send out Instagrand, but the connections still have a promising prospect in Rowayton, who will test stakes waters after comfortably proving best in his initial outing on July 21. A $320,000 buy at a two-year-old sale, the Into Mischief colt brings plenty of speed to the mix and keeps Drayden Van Dyke in the saddle. Hollendorfer will be seeking his second Futurity triumph after winning with Tamarando in 2013.

Sigalert and Spin Lightning are exiting debut wins at Del Mar. The John Sadler-trained Sigalert, a $420,000 son of Street Sense, prevailed from off the pace as the favorite on August 4 but loses Van Dyke. Tyler Baze picks up the mount. Spin Lighting also rallied to capture his lone outing, scoring by 1 ¼ lengths at 6-1 on August 12, and Flavien Prat sticks with the Jeff Mullins-trained son of Hard Spun.

Savagery, who exits an 11-length win over high-priced maiden claiming rivals, and Best Pal runner-up Sparky Ville complete the line-up.