12/11/2013 3:32PM

Jay Hovdey: A two-turn futurity in the offing for Los Alamitos


It is safe to say that no race for 2-year-old Thoroughbreds has had more impact on what happens next than the CashCall Futurity.

(There will be a brief musical interlude while my nerd base thumbs through their American Racing Manuals for possible refutation. Good luck.)

The race was called the Hollywood Futurity from 1981 through 2006, at which point owner Paul Reddam stepped up to sponsor the race through his CashCall financial loan company. Along with it came a history to die for.

In 32 runnings of the Futurity, between 1981 and 2012, there have been a half-dozen Futurity winners to go on to win at least one of the Triple Crown classics (Stephan’s Odyssey, Snow Chief, A.P. Indy, Real Quiet, Point Given, and Lookin At Lucky). Four colts finishing second or third in the Futurity became classic winners the following spring (Ferdinand, Giacomo, Alysheba, and Thunder Gulch). And if they did not win a classic, seven other Futurity winners made a successful Grade 1 impact at some point in their 3-year-old season, including Temperate Sil, King Glorious, Best Pal, Afternoon Deelites, Lion Heart, Brother Derek, and Pioneerof the Nile.

For context, always handy, the 32 winners of the Champagne Stakes between 1981 and 2012 have included an admirable five classic winners: Easy Goer, Sea Hero, Timber Country, Birdstone, and Union Rags. The Remsen Stakes, Aqueduct’s post-Breeders’ Cup answer to the CashCall, boasts a distant past of classic winners like Johnstown, Phalanx, Carry Back, Northern Dancer, and Damascus among its winners. Since 1981, though, there has been only Pine Bluff, Go for Gin, and Thunder Gulch (ball’s in your court, Honor Code).

As for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, supposedly the high-water mark for the 2-year-old division, its roster of champs between 1984 and 2012 has produced exactly two winners of the 87 Triple Crown races available from 1985 through 2013. A prize to anyone who can name them without looking.

The obvious conclusion follows. Of all the major stakes that could have dropped off the map because of the closing of Hollywood Park at the end of the current meet, it’s pretty clear that the loss of a race like the Hollywood Futurity would leave the biggest hole.

An early pass at a renovated racing schedule for 2014 and beyond proposed that Del Mar extend its new fall meeting into early December to be able to present races corresponding to the CashCall Futurity and its sister race for fillies, the Starlet Stakes. However, when a three-week December meet at Los Alamitos was added to the mix, the traditional date for a CashCall-like futurity landed smack in the middle. Brad McKinzie, a consultant for the Los Alamitos transition to the Thoroughbred rotation, was asked if there were plans to present a rich futurity this time next year.

“A futurity?” McKinzie shot back. “Heck, we’ve got a two-million dollar Quarter Horse Futurity this weekend.”

At this point it must be recommended that if the Thoroughbred racing community of California is going to get along with its new digs at Los Alamitos, where Quarter Horse values run deep, they’d better get used to McKinzie’s slightly twisted sense of humor. McKinzie was referring, of course, to the $2 million Los Alamitos Futurity for the fastest young Quarter Horses in the nation, to be run Sunday night.

Of more concern, is the fact that it was only last Monday that the Cypress City Council approved the track’s plans to expand its dirt racing surface from five-eighths of a mile to the one-mile circumference Thoroughbred horsemen prefer. Hollywood Park will close its stable area for training come the end of January, and Los Alamitos needs to be online with its 500 Thoroughbred stalls and a road-tested racing surface by then, or there will be animals wandering the streets of Inglewood. Dennis Moore, the Hollywood Park track superintendent who has taken the same post with Santa Anita, is ramrodding the Los Alamitos project as well.

“By Tuesday morning at 8 o’clock we were clearing land,” McKinzie said. “You remember that scene from ‘Patton’ where he was pushing his tanks across France? That’s what it’s looking like out here with scrapers and bulldozers and every other kind of road-building vehicle. We’re rolling.”

On Saturday afternoon, the $750,000 CashCall Futurity will be run for the last time, with Del Mar Futurity winner Tamarando, Hollywood Prevue winner Shared Belief, and Reddam’s FrontRunner Stakes winner Bond Holder topping the field. McKinzie wanted to assure all concerned that it will not be the last Futurity.

“We plan on keeping both the CashCall and the Starlet in some sort of fashion, with the appropriate Grade 1 purse levels,” McKinzie said. “We’ve talked to Paul Reddam, and he has expressed interest in continuing his sponsorship of the CashCall.”

This is good news, because the impact of the Futurity was not derived from where it took place, but when. One stage is being torn down as another is being built, and the show will go on.

In the meantime, if Thoroughbred race fans want to get a taste of what it’s like to go racing at Los Alamitos, this might be the weekend to give it a try. In addition to Sunday’s $2 million Futurity, the $750,000 Champion of Champions – a Quarter Horse version of the Breeders’ Cup Classic – will be run on Saturday night. Cowboy hats preferred, but not required.

Cubs1908 More than 1 year ago
its street sense and chiefs crown. I should have looked that up.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Wrong, street sense and timber county. Only two Bc juvenile winners to win a Tc race
Ann More than 1 year ago
Chief's Crown, the first BC Juvie winner (at 1 mile, around one turn at Hollypark), won the Travers, Flamingo, Blue Grass, Marlboro Cup, etc. at 3, but only placed in each of the Triple Crown races - 3rd Kentucky Derby, 2nd Preakness, 3rd Belmont S.
Margi Foley More than 1 year ago
And.....he was the only horse ever to go off favored in all three Triple Crown races without winning any of them!
Cubs1908 More than 1 year ago
its street sense and chiefs crown. didn't have too look that one up
Walter More than 1 year ago
I look forward to seeing what Los Al has to offer. SoCal needs something new and this could be the answer.
John More than 1 year ago
On a bitter note ! Remember when the group from the east coast was able to put in that winning PICK 6 , after 4 races on Breeders Cup Day ............well, on the Jason Levin Show last week, one of his guests was the designer of the tote system, for the entire USA. When he was instructing the "SUITS" how it would work, and how to run it, he gave them a warning about downloading the totals into the mutual pools. He told they they needed to do it a certain way or people would be able to bet past post ! ! ! ! AND, in the case of the PICK 6, they could past post thru the 4th race.......................and they ignored him ! Now you know why your 10-1 shot is 5-1 when he draws off to win by 6 lengths, PEOPLE ARE ABLE TO PAST POST, and the track suits know it ! SURE SUCKS ! Racing needs to cut off betting TWO MINUTES before post time !
Walter More than 1 year ago
I always wondered about the past post issue. But this got corrected on the pick 6. are you saying this glitch still happens? Quite troubling
John More than 1 year ago
I CAN GUARANTEE ALL OF YOU, well , %99.9 of you will love Los Alamitos. Its a great place, clean, well run, easy access from the 605 and 405 freeways, plus the racing will be top quality ! They used to run a fair meet there and even on a 5/8th track, it was awesome ! A one mile track is going to burst Los Al into the racing scene, to the point, I bet they ask and end up with more dates in 2015 ! For a great night out, go into the Vessels Club, great food, fantastic bar with a great view of the track, tons of TV monitors also. No jeans , no tennis shoes, its a great date place !
Starr D More than 1 year ago
Is it AP Indy and Street Sense?
Jillian More than 1 year ago
Street Sense, yes. A.P. Indy, no. (He never won the BC Juvenile.) The other is Timber Country, who parlayed his '94 BC Juvenile win into victory in The Preakness the following year.
Gunner More than 1 year ago
Timber Country and Street Sense is the nerdy answer.
Ben D'Antonio More than 1 year ago
Did the double last year, watching Violence take the Cashcall, then cruised down the 405 to see Rylee's boy run'em all down in the Champion of Champions. What an awesome day of racing, the thought of watching and wagering on 15 or so live races in the same day made me decide to do it again this year!
Kelly Collinsworth More than 1 year ago
Thank goodness there are no more race tracks for Bay Meadows Land Company to tear down.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
The same Stat I have been giving you people for six months now 87 races only 2 BC Juvenile Winners timber county and street sense. Easy goer and looking at lucky won 2yo eclipse but lost in Bc juv. Bc juvenile is useless. Great race to bet but don't look for your derby winner in that field.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
People hate the truth, -2. Hahah. Wait to first Saturday in may
Gunner More than 1 year ago
Looking for something FAST? Check out - Los Al! Until then?...Keep them dozers rolling.
Keith More than 1 year ago
Stephan's Odyssey never won a Triple Crown race - finished second in Derby and Belmont, so it's 5-5 on Champagne vs. Futurity. Context should be accurate as well as handy.