December 3, 2020

Weston faces competitive maidens in Del Mar Futurity

Weston (second from right) overtakes Girther (right) to win the Best Pal at Del Mar (Benoit Photos) © BENOIT PHOTO

Maidens comprise two-thirds of the field for Monday’s $250,000 Del Mar Futurity (G1), but those trained by Kentucky Derby (G1) veterans Bob Baffert and Doug O’Neill figure to be well-backed.

O’Neill and jockey Mario Gutierrez, who teamed up to capture the Derby in 2012 with I’ll Have Another and in 2016 with Nyquist, will be represented by Dixie’s Two Stents, a sharp second by a head in his debut on Aug. 1. The Quality Road colt sports the colors of J. Paul Reddam, who campaigned both Derby winners.

The Bob Baffert-trained Spielberg was also second in his debut on Aug. 8, as an odds-on choice, but was nearly six lengths behind the more experienced Dr. Schivel, who was graduating in his third career start. Spielberg, by Union Rags, was a $1 million Keeneland September purchase.

Dr. Schivel had previously lost to Weston, who followed up his maiden win with a gutsy neck triumph in the Aug. 8 Best Pal (G2). However, that race was more than two seconds slower than Dr. Schivel’s graduation effort on the same afternoon.

The field for the 7-furlong dash is rounded out by Dyn O Mite, runner-up in all three starts to date, and Scooby, who was stakes-placed against California-breds in his debut and second in a maiden on the turf last out.

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The $100,000 Del Mar Juvenile Turf, a one-mile event that might yield a potential starter for the corresponding Breeders’ Cup event at Keeneland in November, has attracted a much larger field.

Trainer Peter Miller has entered four, with debut winner Get Her Number and the Grade 3-placed Herd Immunity of immediate interest. However, Irish import Ebeko and None Above the Law, a first-time turf starter by Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) winner Karakontie, might outrun expectations.