December 6, 2022

Del Mar Futurity pits Pappacap versus Baffert duo

Pappacap becomes Gun Runner's first graded winner in the Best Pal at Del Mar (Benoit Photo)

The Del Mar summer season ends with a crescendo Monday, as promising juveniles square off in two stakes at the seaside track. A small but select field of six vies in the $300,000 Del Mar Futurity (G1), preceded by the $100,000 Del Mar Juvenile Turf.

Del Mar Futurity (G1) – Race 9 (8:30 p.m. ET)

Undefeated Best Pal (G2) winner Pappacap bids to extend his streak to three in the seven-furlong Futurity. Trained by Hall of Famer Mark Casse, the son of hot freshman sire Gun Runner will need to work out a trip from the rail with Joe Bravo.

Two of his main opponents come from the barn of 14-time Del Mar Futurity winner Bob Baffert – debut scorers Murray and Pinehurst. Both race for the same ownership consortium of SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, and partners.

Murray conquered by 10 1/4 lengths here July 25, and the Street Sense colt keeps Flavien Prat aboard. Pinehurst was less gaudy in his Aug. 1 unveiling, but coped with the rail post and repelled stablemate Enbarr, who was himself 11 1/2 lengths clear of the rest. Hall of Famer Mike Smith reunites with Pinehurst, a Twirling Candy blueblood now drawn better in post 4.

Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen dispatches Saratoga romper American Xperiment. By champion Nyquist, who captured the 2015 Del Mar Futurity en route to turning a rare Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1)/Kentucky Derby (G1) double, American Xperiment wired an off-the-turf maiden in his Spa premiere. Umberto Rispoli will ride the son of Grade 2 vixen Lovely Lil.

Finneus, a closing second in the Best Pal, hopes to capitalize on the potential pace war over an extra furlong. Rounding out the cast is Olympic Legend, who takes the blinkers off after a Los Alamitos maiden win.

Del Mar Juvenile Turf – Race 8 (8 p.m. ET)

Silver Surfer, runner-up to a trio of useful rivals in Ireland, makes his U.S. debut for Phil D’Amato. From the first crop of the outstanding Scat Daddy stallion Caravaggio, the gray gelding scored a breakthrough at Fairyhouse in his latest. Bravo will pilot Silver Surfer from the rail.

Fellow import Optimising, who scampered clear in his lone start over Wolverhampton’s Tapeta, figures to acclimate well as a Mehmas colt. Drayden Van Dyke picks up the mount on Michael McCarthy’s new recruit.

Mackinnon, a son of American Pharoah and a Scat Daddy mare, exits a maiden win at this course and one-mile distance. Mogollon Rim also has the benefit of local experience, elevated to third thanks to a troubled trip at first asking.

Aquitania Arrival tries turf after a fifth in the Best Pal. Socal Red won a $50,000 maiden claimer going a mile on the main track, but has a turf-friendly pedigree. Shortman; Thirty Four Coupe, fourth to Socal Red; and first-time starter My Mane Champ have more to prove.