The historic result was two-fold in Rolling Fog’s pace-pressing victory as the 7-to-1 third choice in the 65th running of the $300,000 Del Mar Futurity (G1), competing seven furlongs in 1:22.96 on Del Mar’s synthetic Polytrack surface.
Not only did trainer Bob Baffert extend his record by winning the Futurity for the 11th time, but jockey Rafael Bejarano’s 13th stakes win broke the previous record in the final stakes race of the meet.
"This horse had been training so great and today he ran to it. Great trip today; everything worked out perfect,” Bejarano said. “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.”
Purchased by Arnold Zetcher LLC for $62,000 just five months ago at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. spring sale of 2-year-olds in training, the Posse colt added $180,000 to his career earnings which now stand at $222,000 and earned an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita Park on November 3.
“We just couldn’t be more happy to win a Grade 1 like that,” Zetcher said on the day he and his wife celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary.
Rolling Fog won in similar fashion in his debut a month ahead of the Futurity, prevailing by 2 ½ lengths after dueling on the early lead. Today, he stalked the flank of 9-to-1 longshot Caballo Del Cielo through modest early fractions of 22.91 and 45.89 before taking charge at the top of the stretch and holding on to the finish line.
Baffert’s domination in the traditional closing day feature for juveniles at
This year’s win added to his record with 102 career stakes wins at Del Mar.
Long ago having secured this year’s riding title at Del Mar, Bejarano tied the record for stakes wins at the meet when the 2-year-old filly Executiveprivilege won the Del Mar Debutante (G1) for Baffert four days prior.
"Sweet. Oh, so sweet,” said Bejarano of his accomplishments.
Remarkably, Joe Talamo also scored 12 stakes wins at the meet, but settled for sixth aboard 9-to-1 longshot Gabriel Charles in the Futurity.
The only horses to win a stakes entering the race rallied to complete the trifecta, with Know More 1 ¼ lengths behind the winner in second as the 8-to-5 favorite and Scherer Magic running third at 12-to-1.
"We were down inside and that wasn't the place where you wanted to be. He was back behind horses for the first time and he was having a bit of a hard time figuring it out,” Know More’s jockey Garrett Gomez said. “But I got him out and we made our run. Not the right day to be doing that. All the front runners are holding up this afternoon."
To view my horse racing channel on YouTube click here!
Listen to my weekly HD Los Angeles sports podcast!