12/08/2016 3:46PM

CashCall Futurity runs through Baffert

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Benoit & Associates
Bob Hope winner Mastery will be going around two turns for the first time in his career in the CashCall Futurity.

With 40 percent of the field, including the overwhelming favorite, trainer Bob Baffert appears to be sitting in a good spot to claim the Grade 1, $300,000 CashCall Futurity for the third straight time since its move to its current home, Los Alamitos, where the race formerly run at Hollywood Park will have its 36th running on Saturday.

Mastery, unbeaten and already a graded stakes winner in just two starts, will be an odds-on favorite in the CashCall Futurity. Baffert also sends out Show Me Da Lute, a winner going two turns in his lone start against maidens. They are two of just five runners who are signed up for this year’s running, which annually is the final Grade 1 race of the year nationally for 2-year-olds.

Baffert won the race in 2014 with Dortmund and last year with Mor Spirit. When the race was run at Hollywood Park, he won it six times, beginning in 1997 with Real Quiet, who went on to just miss sweeping the Triple Crown. A victory on Saturday would be Baffert’s ninth in the race in the last 20 runnings and would mark his sixth win in the race in the last nine runnings.

In Mastery, Baffert has a promising colt who acts as though he’s going to be among the top 3-year-old prospects next spring. This, though, is an important step. Mastery will be trying two turns for the first time when he goes 1 1/16 miles, and the elongated stretch at Los Alamitos will test any young animal.

“I always felt that he would,” Baffert said Thursday regarding Mastery’s ability to get two turns, “but that’s the question. You never know until they do it.

“So far, I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t. He’s got a nice, big, beautiful stride. He looks like he can turn it on and off. He’s not one-dimensional.”

In addition to Baffert’s pair, the CashCall Futurity field includes Dangerfield, Bobby Abu Dhabi, and Irap, the latter owned by CashCall’s owner, Paul Reddam. Both Dangerfield and Irap are trained by Doug O’Neill.

The CashCall Futurity goes as race 6 on a nine-race card that begins at 12:30 p.m. Pacific. It is the first of two Grade 1 races on the card, with the $300,000 Starlet Stakes for 2-year-old fillies carded as race 8.

As in the CashCall Futurity, Baffert has two runners in the Starlet, including the expected favorite, American Gal. Mike Smith rides both Mastery and American Gal.

KEY CONTENDERS

Mastery, by Candy Ride
Last 2 Beyers: 87-93

◗ Both of his figures are faster than anything any of his four rivals have ever recorded.

◗ His prior wins were at six furlongs and seven furlongs. In his debut, he wore blinkers, but Baffert took them off prior to the Grade 3 Bob Hope last month at Del Mar. They are back on for the CashCall Futurity.

“I just think he’s a little handier with them,” Baffert said. “When Mike worked him the other day, we worked him in blinkers, and Mike liked him better with blinkers. They’re very small blinkers. I thought he was a little green last time, looking around.”

Show Me Da Lute, by Midnight Lute
Beyer: 72

◗ It’s never easy to win going two turns first time out, but he pulled it off, and he earned his way into this race by working well in company with Mastery, Baffert said.

Bobby Abu Dhabi, by Macho Uno
Beyer: 75

◗ He won going 6 1/2 furlongs in his lone start and tries to stretch out off that.

◗ He was part of a blockbuster meeting at Del Mar for Peter Miller, who ran away with the training title.

Dangerfield, by Into Mischief
Last 3 Beyers: 71-71-55

◗ With five starts, he’s the only horse in here who has run more than twice.

◗ He was a distant third in the Delta Jackpot last time out.

Irap, by Tiznow
Last 2 Beyers: 59-58

◗ He is winless after two starts, and this will be his first race on dirt.