A field of eight was entered Friday for Monday's Grade I $300,000 Runhappy Del Mar Futurity.
The 72nd running of the traditional closing day feature marks the 27th year in a row at seven furlongs and the 13th consecutive with Grade I status.
Three trainers who have entered two horses each account for three-quarters of the field.
Bob Baffert, seeking his 15th Futurity victory, will be represented by Eight Rings and Garth, both making their second career starts. Doug O'Neill, looking for a third Futurity win, will saddle Defense Wins and Fore Left, who have a combined four starts. Peter Miller, aiming for a Futurity breakthrough, will send out Nucky and Wrecking Crew, whose experience is four and two races, respectively.
Defense Wins, a Kentucky-bred son of Flatter, was a $175,000 purchase at auction in Florida in March and made his racing debut on July 21 here going five furlongs in a field of six. Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, the gray colt was never far off the pace and made up two lengths in the stretch to lose by a half-length to Collusion Illusion.
Collusion Illusion would go on to win the Graduation Stakes 12 days later but trainer Mark Glatt has chosen to pass up the Futurity.
Hall of Fame basketball coach Rick Pitino is the majority owner of Defense Wins with a 25 percent interest. The San Diego-based Great Friends racing syndicate headed by sports radio host Scott Kaplan is also a part owner, among others.
As the majority owner, Pitino exercised his right to name the horse and chose a phrase that epitomizes his philosophy of the game. Defense Wins will run in Pitino's RAP Racing Stable silks. It's not known if Pitino will attend the race.
The field from the rail: Storm the Court (Flavien Prat), Eight Rings (Drayden Van Dyke), Defense Wins (Rafael Bejarano), Ginobili (Florent Geroux), Garth (Mike Smith), Fore Left (Mario Gutierrez), Nucky (Norberto Arroyo, Jr.) and Wrecking Crew (Abel Cedillo).
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