The Los Alamitos Futurity, scheduled to run on December 19, has gone through numerous name changes over the years. The initial moniker for the final West Coast grade I race for two-year-olds was the Hollywood Futurity back in 1981. Once it became sponsored by CashCall Company its name changed to the CashCall Futurity. That lasted until the fall of Hollywood Park.
While the name may have changed over the years, the level of competition has not, as the event has been won by a wide range of notable trainers such as D. Wayne Lukas, Jerry Hollendorfer, and Ron McNally, to name a few. There is one man who has staked claimed to the Futurity more than any other, and that man happens to be Bob Baffert, who has been a part of seven Futurity winning teams.
Baffert has become accustomed to name changes when it comes to the Futurity, and another possible change could be in the works, with the Los Alamitos Futurity in danger of yet another relocation and rebranding.
Baffert, on the hunt for his eighth Futurity crown via Toews On Ice and Mor Spirit, believes “the timing of the race is important,” and he “would hate to lose it on the calendar.” According to Baffert, “Very good horses run in it and come out of it to do big things. This race starts you thinking about the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).”
The Futurity has become known as the race that showcases which horses can navigate two turns and those better suited to veer off the Triple Crown trail. “With a lot of horses, you don’t know if they want to go long,” said Baffert. “They can all go long if they go slow enough, but under pressure you don’t know how far they’ll go until they run in a race like this.”
Baffert will use the Futurity as a measure to determine which of his two horses has a legitimate shot at going the Derby trail distance.