News and STORIES

Anneau d'Or, Wrecking Crew Will Go Against Baffert Colts

Author: Clint Goodman
Published: Friday December 06, 2019
Even though the Dec. 7 Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) was downgraded this year and is no longer a grade 1, it still serves as a late 2-year-old prep race for next year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1).

Each of its select cast of four was part of the 22 individual betting interests in Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which was conducted last week by Churchill Downs. Anneau d'Or, the runner-up in the TVG Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1), went off at 31-1, Maiden winner Thousand Words at 34-1, High Velocity, the Bob Hope Stakes (G3) winner, at 40-1, and Juvenile third-place finisher Wrecking Crew at 86-1.

Los Alamitos

The conditions at Los Alamitos Race Course are very different than what they could eventually encounter in the Derby. Their odds of winning are much better in Saturday's $200,000 race, run at 1 1/16 miles on dirt. In the Derby, the field often reaches 20. The Los Alamitos Futurity gives qualifying Derby points based on a 10-4-2-1 scale for its top finishers. 

Jason Loutsch is the racing manager for Albaugh Family Stables, co-owner of Thousand Words. 

"Having a Derby prep race with four horses is interesting. Those small fields, sometimes the races can get weird," said Loutsch. "So I'm sure it will depend on how all the horses break, and hopefully, everyone gets a good trip, and the best horse wins."

Commanded Attention

Even before they were being watched by Derby bettors, the four horses received attention at public auction when they brought in sale numbers of $350,000 or more. The yearling Thousand Words, a son of Pioneer of the Nile, was at the top of the list with $1 million. Albaugh Family Stables made the purchase with Spendthrift Farm at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. 

Anneau d'Or, purchased for $480,000, commanded a lot of attention in the showcase race form "Future Stars Friday" at the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 1. After winning a maiden race on the turf at Golden Gate Fields by eight lengths, he went into the Juvenile and challenged Storm the Court, losing by a head. 

"I knew we he was off the radar, no one really looking our way, which allowed us to slip through the cracks," said trainer Blaine Wright. "He ran a super race."

The Medgalia d'Oro colt was cross-entered during the same of Breeders' Cup pre-entries with first preference for the Juvenile Turf presented by Coolmore America (G1). He was not able to gain entry due to it overfilling, and he was assigned a position as an alternate. Wright, along with owner Peter Redekop decided to take a shot at the Juvenile after being encouraged by his one race and workouts. 

"What concerned me more was the slowness and deepness of Santa Anita's race track versus how it used to be, hard and fast," Wright said. "Coming off workouts on our Golden Gate surface, on the synthetic, our horses are ultra-fit coming off it to dirt tracks. So we didn't know quite what to expect with the new normal at Santa Anita. That was our biggest obstacle I think, just wondering how fit we actually had him."

The dirt surface opens for the upcoming meet on Friday. The one race that ran at 1 1/16 miles on the track during its September meet was taken by $25,000 claimer Street to Indy in 1:42.69.

Anneau d'Or, out of the Tapit mare Walk Close, was purchased by bloodstock agent Alistair Roden for Redekop at the Spring Sale of 2-year-olds in Training at the Ocala Breeders' Sale from the Tom McCrocklin consignment. He is the first foal to race from a dam that took the Wild Applause Stakes and Modesty Handicap (G3T) on turf. 

Northern California jockey Juan Hernandez will be on top for the race. 

Wrecking Crew will look to improve in his second route. He took a maiden race, and the son of Sky Kingdom finished second in the Best Pal (G2) and Runhappy Del Mar Futurity (G1) in sprints this summer at Del Mar. He is owned by Rockingham Ranch and David Bernsen and trained by Peter Miller. 

Bob Baffert is an 11-time winner of the Futurity, and he will add blinkers to Thousand Words while removing them from High Velocity.