07/16/2012 3:11PM

Del Mar: Baffert loaded with juvenile runners

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Executiveprivilege wins Saturday’s Landaluce Stakes. She is the early favorite for the Del Mar Debutante.

DEL MAR – There are several things at Del Mar that happen every year. You won’t be able to move at the track on opening day, but few will mind. The fish tacos at the neighboring The Brigantine will be sublime. And trainer Bob Baffert will fire early and often with his 2-year-olds.

Of all of Baffert’s accomplishments during his Hall of Fame career, he has been most dominant with 2-year-olds at Del Mar, where he has won the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity an amazing 10 times since 1996. That’s 10 times in 16 years, and, like the boys say in “Spinal Tap,” Baffert may go to 11 this year.

Baffert is loaded. There was a preview of coming attractions Monday morning at Del Mar, when Baffert sent out several of his better 2-year-olds for workouts. The most impressive were Den’s Legacy, a colt by Medaglia d’Oro, and Power Broker, a son of Pulpit, both of whom are scheduled to run against maidens Saturday.

Power Broker is one of several 2-year-olds Baffert has for owners Gary and Mary West, who have a home in nearby Rancho Santa Fe but have not raced on this circuit for several years. They are back this year, having placed runners with both Baffert and Ron Ellis.

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Other Baffert colts worth following include Cameo Appearance, who is by Majestic Warrior, and Title Contender, who is by Pulpit.

Baffert has already tipped his hand with his fillies. Executiveprivilege is unbeaten in two starts following her victory last Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park in the Landaluce Stakes. She is the favorite for the Grade 1, $300,000 Del Mar Debutante on Sept. 1, a race Baffert has won six times.

“She’s just really gifted,” Baffert said of Executiveprivilege. “I think she’s the female version of Lookin At Lucky.”

Baffert has some supporting players, though, including Magic Vixen, a daughter of Tapit who is slotted for a maiden race Sunday. Baffert also likes the War Front filly Wild One, who could see action early in the meet, and another War Front filly, Tres Belle, who should be ready in a few weeks. Rockabye Lady, a Rock Hard Ten filly, should be seen late in the meet.

Ellis is taking his time with his West-owned 2-year-olds, but said Beat the Odds, a colt by Harlan’s Holiday, should be the first one to run at Del Mar.

“They sent me six well-bred horses,” Ellis said. “It’s nice to have them back out here.”

Cruise Director, a son of Pulpit, could be ready by the end of the meet, Ellis said.

The trainer likely to duel most often with Baffert in the 2-year-old ranks is John Sadler, who finished off the Hollywood Park meeting by running one-two in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship with Scherer Magic and Carson’s Crown.

Sadler is high on Forest Boy, a son of Forestry, and Joelito, who is by Rock Hard Ten. Capo Bastone, by Street Boss, has trained sharply at Santa Anita in recent weeks.

“And we’ve got some really nice fillies,” Sadler said. “This is the strongest group of 2-year-olds we’ve had in the last three or four years.”

Sadler’s promising fillies include Truly Marie, a daughter of Hard Spun, and Iconic Spirit, by Bernstein.

Peter Miller finished second and third in the Landaluce with Speedinthruthecity and Miss Empire. He will run those two plus Heir Kitty on Aug. 8 in the Grade 3, $150,000 Sorrento Stakes, a prep for the Debutante.

Heir Kitty won her debut on turf at Hollywood Park, so she could end up at meet’s end in either the Debutante or the Oak Tree Juvenile Fillies Turf, which joins the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf as new stakes races for 2-year-olds designed to move runners along toward respective Breeders’ Cup grass races this fall at Santa Anita.

“I was jealous seeing Saratoga all these years with all these races for babies on the grass, so this is a great thing,” Miller said. “I’ve got some colts who are bred for the grass who I’d like to start off on the grass.”

Trainer Richard Mandella said that Dance Team, second to Heir Kitty in that July 8 maiden race, will take advantage of the potential opportunities on turf this summer here. Del Mar’s condition book has maiden races going a mile on turf.

“I’m very happy with these races,” Mandella said Monday morning.

Mike Machowsky has high hopes for Target Engaged, a filly by Dehere who he thinks “will love the track down here.”

Broken Sword, an 11-length winner of her debut in the Juan Gonzalez Memorial Stakes at Pleasanton on July 7, could be heading south for the summer for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

Also worth following is Heir of Storm, a debut winner at Hollywood for trainer Alexis Barba. Heir of Storm should be seen next on Aug. 5 in the Grade 2, $150,000 Best Pal Stakes, a prep for the Futurity.