Del Mar Thoroughbred Club concludes its 80th summer season of equine action Labor Day Monday in a traditional way, featuring renewal of the Grade I $300,00 Runhappy Del Mar Futurity for two-year-olds as the highlight of a ten-race program. Post time for the first race is 2 p.m.
The seven-furlong sprint, which has showcased numerous Thoroughbred stars of the future since its inauguration in l948, attracted a talented field of eight first-year runners.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, a 14-time Futurity winner, will send out the morning line favorite in Eight Rings, a six and one-quarter length winner in his debut August 4, plus stablemate Garth, second in a maiden event at odds of 1-5. Drayden Van Dyke returns aboard Eight Rings, while Mike Smith will pilot Garth, donning blinkers for the race.
Certain to attract support is Wrecking Crew who overcame a slow start in the Best Pal Stakes to be second, beaten a length and one-quarter. Abel Cedillo has the call from trainer Peter Miller who also will saddle Nucky, a ten and one-half length winner of a $100,000 maiden claiming race. Norberto Arroyo, Jr. rides Nucky.
Seeking a third Futurity victory will be trainer Doug O'Neill, to be represented by Defense Wins, Rafael Bejarano, and Fore Left, Mario Gutierrez. Fore Left won the Tremont Stakes at Belmont Park in New York in early June and was third in the Best Pal. Fore Left also will be equipped with blinkers. Defense Wins was second in a maiden event, beaten a half-length.
Completing the line-up are Storm the Court, with Del Mar's leading rider, Flavien Prat, drawing the mount, and Ginobili, impressive victor in a maiden contest, to be handled by Florent Geroux.
Supporting feature on the program is the $100,000 Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf at one mile on the grass.
Entrants are Convoluted, Awesome Drive, Applecross, A Thousand Dreams, Croughavouke, Flamigo Bay, Acai, Warren's Showtime, Yesterdayoncemore, Shedaresthedevil, Overjoyed, Mean Sophia and Text Don't Call.
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