March 29, 2023

Slow Down Andy pulls off mild upset in Los Alamitos Futurity

Slow Down Andy and jockey Mario Gutierrez win the Los Alamitos Futurity (Photo by Benoit Photo)

Slow Down Andy toppled heavily favored Messier to claim Saturday’s $300,000 Los Alamitos Futurity (G2), thus ending trainer Bob Baffert’s seven-race win streak in the 1 1/16-mile test for two-year-olds.

Baffert, a 13-time winner of the Futurity, had won all the previous runnings of the race held at Los Alamitos, which inherited the Futurity from the defunct Hollywood Park in 2014.

Making his first start against open company after facing California-breds in his first two outings, Slow Down Andy rated in fourth early under Mario Gutierrez. Hitting the front at the top of the stretch after making a three-wide bid, Slow Down Andy raced erratically in the stretch, with his head tilted toward the stands at times, but successfully re-rallied after conceding the lead briefly to Messier.

“He relaxed perfectly early. When I saw the opening going to the turn I sent him through and he responded. I think he was just playing around in the stretch. When Messier got back in front of him, he regained his focus and showed his heart,” Gutierrez said.

The winning margin was one length for the J. Paul Reddam homebred, who is trained by Doug O’Neill. Slow Down Andy paid $12.40 as the third choice in a field of five after covering the course in 1:42.33 over a fast track.

Messier, the 1-2 choice, was nine lengths clear of stablemate Barossa, with Durante fourth and pacesetter Olympic Legend an eased-under-the-wire fifth.

Slow Down Andy earned 10 qualifying points toward the 2022 Kentucky Derby (G1). With the Baffert-trained colts currently ineligible to acquire qualifying points, only the O’Neill-trained Durante also entered the Derby leaderboard after this race, earning one point.

A 4 3/4-length winner on debut going 5 1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita on Oct. 2, Slow Down Andy finished a half-length second in the seven-furlong Golden State Juvenile at Del Mar on Breeders’ Cup weekend. He’s now bankrolled $249,850.

By Reddam’s champion and Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, Slow Down Andy was produced by Edwina E, a daughter of Square Eddie. Slow Down Andy is a full brother to stakes winner Team Merchants.

This female family yielded Broodmare of the Year Cara Rafaela, the dam of champion and top sire Bernardini.