With ten previous wins in the Del Mar Futurity, it should have come as no surprise that Bob Baffert would win the Grade 1 race for the 11th time. It wasn’t a shocker but the Baffert-trained Rolling Fog was far from the favorite as he was let go at 7-1 before he won the 7 furlong Futurity in a full field of twelve on closing day of Del Mar, located just north of San Diego.
Under jockey Rafael Bejarano, Rolling Fog broke on top from post nine and was allowed to settle alongside pacesetter Caballo Del Cielo as they set fractions of :22.91 for the first quarter mile and :45.89 for the first half.
“The instructions to Rafael [Bejarano] were to play the break and if you catch a flier go, and if not just sit with whoever’s on the lead and the best horse will prevail,” Baffert assistant trainer Jim Barnes said.
Around the far turn it was Rolling Fog that prevailed on the lead as Caballo Del Cielo could not keep up as they headed for home. Rolling Fog hit the lead at the top of the stretch and began to draw off as Best Pal stakes winner and favorite Know More came up to finish second with Hollywood Juvenile Championship victor Scherer Magic getting up for third. The final time for the seven furlongs was 1:22.96.
“This horse had been training so great and today he ran to it,” Bejarano said. “Great trip today; everything worked out perfect. The distance was a bit of a question in my mind with him, but now I see he can handle it. In fact, I think he’ll go longer. He’s a nice horse. A very nice horse.”
It was the second victory in as many starts for Rolling Fog who won his first race against special weight maidens at Del Mar Aug. 4. The first place check in the $300,000 Del Mar Futurity amounted to $180,000 and increased Rolling Fog’s earnings to $222,000. Rolling Fog was bred in Florida by British Mist Racing and Breeding of Panama City, Panama and now races for Arnold Zetcher, the former head of Talbot’s women’s apparel.
“[Rolling Fog] was ready to run when we left Santa Anita,” Barnes said. “He was one of our top horses when we left Santa Anita but we got down here and worked him a couple of times and he was struggling with the track a bit. We entered him and he got in, then he ran a low-grade fever and we had to scratch.
“That was probably the best thing, because then we worked him a couple more times and won the first time out. He just kept improving on this track and he really likes dirt, I know that.”
Rolling Fog returned $16.60 for the win, $7.00 to place and $4.80 to show. Know more paid $3.40 and $2.80 while a $2 show ticket on Scherer Magic amounted to $5.80.
Rolling Fog is also tied to Marion County as a graduate of the this year’s Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company April Sale of Two Year Olds in Training where he sold for $62,000 from the consignment of Danzel Brendemuehl’s Classic Bloodstock located in Ocala, Fla.
The other ten winners of the Del Mar Futurity trained by Baffert are Silver Charm (1996), Souvenir Copy (‘97), Worldly Manner (‘98), Forest Camp (‘99), Flame Thrower (2000), Officer (’01), Icecoldbeeratreds (’02), Midshipman (’08), Lookin at Lucky (’09) and Drill last year.
Photo by Benoit