Bob Baffert is well positioned for a 10th victory in the $200,000 Best Pal (G3) at Del Mar on Sunday, with rollicking debut winners Muth and Prince of Monaco entered in a small field of five. Both pricey sales purchases will try to advance their candidacy for the Del Mar Futurity (G1).
Muth, the $2 million sales topper at OBS March, represents Zedan Racing Stables. The Good Magic colt wasted no time in repaying the investment, blowing away his opponents as the 3-10 favorite at Santa Anita on June 18. Muth showed dazzling speed to open up early, and he extended his margin to 8 3/4 lengths under considerate handling by Juan Hernandez.
Prince of Monaco, a well-named son of Speightstown and the Medaglia d’Oro mare Rainier, went to the SF Racing/Starlight Racing/Madaket Stables consortium for $950,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling. Unveiled July 9 at Los Alamitos, the 1-20 favorite cruised around the leaders and won for fun by eight lengths.
Flavien Prat takes over on Prince of Monaco, as Hernandez stays on Muth. The Baffert duo drew the outside posts 4 (Muth) and 5 (Prince of Monaco) in the six-furlong dash.
Tranche has already overturned one Baffert hotpot, Mirahmadi, as a 20-1 longshot in the June 17 Fasig-Tipton Futurity, and the Luis Mendez pupil aims to repeat the feat. But Mirahmadi was unraced entering that Santa Anita contest, while the Baffert pair in the Best Pal have already answered the bell. Tranche can still claim the benefit of more experience, with three starts under his belt, and he delivered a powerful performance to wire the Fasig-Tipton Futurity by 7 1/4 lengths. By hot young sire Collected, Tranche figures to flash speed from post 2 again with Edwin Maldonado.
Doug O’Neill’s Raging Torrent likewise sports a win over Mirahmadi, when scoring in his July 23 debut here going five furlongs. The son of freshman sire Maximus Mischief was overlooked at 9-1, but rallied to score by 2 1/4 lengths, and Mirahmadi checked in further back in fourth. Antonio Fresu retains the mount on the rail.
Rounding out the quintet is maiden Who Is Pavel, a Reddam Racing homebred coming off a fifth in a one-mile turf event for Edward Freeman.
The Best Pal is set for early on the card, as the fourth race at 6:30 p.m. ET.