To me, the Kentucky Derby trail starts in earnest with the running of the Los Alamitos Futurity which was run on December 19.
Granted, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile sets your early favorite for the Derby, but when the Futurity – it used to be at Hollywood Park – runs, I start paying attention.
This year’s running saw – surprise – a Bob Baffert runner win Spielberg became the 13th winner of the race for Baffert and did so with a grueling stretch run down the lane, catching 33-1 The Great One who looked like he was going to wire the field.
At one point, The Great One appeared to put away Spielberg with about 50 yards left in the race, but jockey Flavian Prat kept the horse charging, taking the lead just before the horses hit the line.
Red Flag, out of the John Sherriffs barn came into the race as the favorite after handing Spielberg a beating in the Bob Hope at Del Mar. Spielberg finished a disappointing fourth in the race.
Saturday, Victor Espinoza never seemed to get Red Flag engaged and finished a well-back fourth.
The 10 points Spielberg got for the win moved the horse to fourth in the standings in the early going. The $1 million horse has now won two-of-6 starts.