Los Alamitos Futurity May Produce Early Kentucky Derby Favorite

The next stop on the Road to the Kentucky Derby is Saturday, Dec. 20, with juveniles squaring off in the $500,000 Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) at 1 1/16 miles.

The race is worth 10 points to the winner in the Road to the Derby series of races, with four points to the runner up, two points to the third place finisher, and one point awarded to the fourth place finisher.

The race may end up producing the early betting favorite for next spring’s Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

The race will be run for the first time at Los Alamitos after being run as the Hollywood Futurity (1981-2006) and CashCall Futurity (2007-2013) at the now closed Hollywood Park.

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas will send out Mr. Z, who was beaten by just a nose in the Delta Jackpot (G3) at Delta Downs on Nov. 22. The colt ran fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) in his previous start on Nov. 1.

The colt has only won once in seven career starts, but has three other runner up finishes in graded stakes company— the Sanford Stakes (G3) and Saratoga Special (G2) at Saratoga this summer, and a second behind Carpe Diem in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland.

Carpe Diem went on to run second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and is 20-1 in early Kentucky Derby betting.

Mr. Z will certainly see his odds drop in Kentucky Derby betting with a big performance but he is going to run into a very promising colt from the Bob Baffert barn in Dortmund.

The colt was an impressive maiden winner in his debut at Santa Anita on Nov. 2, drawing away to win by 4 ¾ lengths and was bet down to 6-5 odds.

His first start against winners came at Churchill Downs against first level allowance company and the colt took command in the stretch and drew away to win by 7 ¾ lengths.

The colt is by 2008 Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown out of the stakes winning mare Our Josephine, who earned $190,584 in her career.

Even without a stakes start to date, among the Kentucky Derby horses this colt is starting to create a buzz and could see his odds drop low enough with a win in the Futurity to become the early betting favorite for next spring’s Run for the Roses.

Another promising runner pointing toward the Futurity is No Problem, who won the Bob Hope Stakes (G3) at Del Mar going seven furlongs on polytrack.

He upset the even money betting favorite Alright Alright, returning $36.20 for a $2 wager.

Trained by former Todd Pletcher assistant Michael McCarthy, the ridgling was eighth in his debut and broke his maiden in his second career start when entered in a $75,000 maiden claiming race at Santa Anita on Oct. 26.

Others pointing toward the race include Bench Warrant, Firing Line, Calculator, Tizcano and Serbian Syclone.

The first Road to the Derby race in 2015 is the $200,000 Jerome (G2), and it is coming up on Jan. 3 at Aqueduct. Last year’s winner was Noble Moon, who took some early Kentucky Derby betting but did not make the Triple Crown races after a sixth place finish in the Wood Memorial (G1).

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