October 16, 2021

Eight Rings favored to give Baffert a 15th Del Mar Futurity

Eight Rings breaking his maiden at Del Mar last August (c) Horsephotos.com/Cecilia Gustavsson

Bob Baffert’s won the Del Mar Futurity (G1) an incredible 14 times since 1996. He’s taking two shots at the 2019 renewal on Labor Day with Eight Rings and Garth, the former of which figures to be a strong favorite in Del Mar’s seven-furlong closing day feature.

A son of Empire Maker, Eight Rings romped to a 6 1/4-length debut victory at Del Mar on August 4, beating next-out winner Express Train as the 3-5 favorite. Eight Rings earned a BRIS Speed rating of 100.

Garth, a Godolphin homebred son of Into Mischief, was an even heavier favorite in his debut, on August 10, but the bay proved second best to Storm the Court at odds of 1-5. Garth adds blinkers for the Futurity.

Wrecking Crew enters off a second to Collusion Illusion in the Best Pal (G2). Third in the Best Pal as an odds-on choice was Fore Left, previously the winner of the $150,000 Tremont at Belmont Park for Doug O’Neill. Like Garth, Fore Left will race with blinkers on Monday.

O’Neill has won the Futurity twice, with eventual juvenile champions Stevie Wonderboy and Nyquist. In addition to Fore Left, he’ll also take a shot with Defense Wins, a debut second by a half-length to Collusion Illusion. Ginobili, a 19-1 maiden winner of his second start, also bears watching.

Earlier in the card, the $100,000 Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf at one mile attracted a large field. Shedaresthedevil, a distant third in the Sorrento (G2) last time, tries the turf for the first time, while European invaders Applecross, Croughavouke, Flamigo Bay, and Yesterdayoncemore could make an impact first off the plane.