09/05/2011 12:53PM

Del Mar: Majestic City well rested for Del Mar Futurity

Shigeki Kikkawa
Majestic City hasn't raced since his victory in the Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile on July 17.

DEL MAR, Calif. – As a jockey for nine years, Jeff Bloom scored his biggest win in the Manitoba Derby. In recent years, Bloom has been better known for his work on the West Coast with West Point Thoroughbreds, for whom he helped manage the careers, among others, of the popular Awesome Gem. And, for more than a decade, Bloom has been a familiar face, and voice, to visitors at Del Mar, providing commentary during training hours for patrons eating breakfast trackside on weekends.

He’s been on racing’s radar, and that blip is getting a lot bigger.

Bloom, 47, is hoping his latest venture is his best yet, and, so far, he’s batting 1.000. Bloom is the managing partner of Bloom Racing Stable, whose sole horse is Majestic City, the unbeaten winner of the Hollywood Juvenile who will try to extend his streak to four on Wednesday in the Grade 1, $250,000 Del Mar Futurity, the highlight of the closing-day card here.

Majestic City has not raced since July 17, a strategy Bloom and trainer Peter Miller thought best to get him ready for the first Grade 1 race of his life. To win, Majestic City will have to get past Creative Cause, the unbeaten winner of the Best Pal Stakes – Del Mar’s major prep for the Futurity – and the Bob Baffert-trained pair of Drill and Gun Boat, both maiden winners this season.

“We wanted to give him time to settle, back off, and come in fresh for this,” Bloom said. “Fortunately, he’s a horse who maintains his fitness.”

Majestic City was purchased by Bloom in Ocala earlier this year on behalf of a partnership, and he subsequently put together an ownership group that now numbers eight people. From the start, Bloom said, the seven-furlong Del Mar Futurity was a target for the colt, who is by City Zip.

“I liked him at Ocala because he was very advanced physically and mentally,” Bloom said. “He was impressive on the track in his preview. I liked the way he came out of his work and how he acted around the barn area. He has a solid disposition and mind. He has a level of maturity rarely seen in young horses. He had all the attributes of a horse who would make noise early on and could show up in a race like the Del Mar Futurity.”

Creative Cause was a sensational winner of his debut at Hollywood Park on July 16, which caused several suitors – like Baffert and Todd Pletcher – to seek a private purchase. He was not for sale, and he came back to win the Best Pal.

Baffert is always a major player in this race, having won it a record nine times since 1996. Both Drill and Gun Boat were mentioned before the meet as 2-year-olds to watch, and they have come through.

Drill disappointed in his debut, but added blinkers for his second start and beat maidens while overcoming an inside draw.

“He was behaving badly before that first race,” Baffert said Monday morning. “He had some gate issues. He’s calmed down. His second race was very nice. He ran a huge race. He’s improving, but this is a pretty tough race.”

Gun Boat was surprisingly overlooked at 12-1 in his winning debut Aug. 6. The third-place finisher in that race, Norm’s Passion, came back to win easily Sunday, validating the performance of Gun Boat.

“I was thinking of running him in the Barretts Sale stake at Fairplex,” Baffert said, “but he goes so good over this track. A lot of it here has to do with whether they like the track.”

Four others are entered in the Futurity. Basmati, still a maiden, was beaten a head by Gun Boat on Aug. 6. Sheer Talent was a winner of his debut July 30. Mighty Monsoon was a distant third to Creative Cause in the Best Pal after breaking poorly from the gate. Corsa Di Cavalli beat maiden-claimers in his lone start.