How to wager on the Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity
by Scott Shapiro
The first of two Saturday cards at the Los Alamitos winter Thoroughbred meeting features two Grade 1 events for two-year-olds.
The Starlet for fillies is the more competitive of the duo, while the Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity offers racing fans a chance to see one of the early favorites in the 2017 Kentucky Derby, Mastery.
#3 Mastery is 1-2 on the morning line and for good reason. The son of Candy Ride has won his first two starts for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and is considered one of the likeliest winners of next year’s “Run for the Roses.” The Cheyenne Stables colt closed at 10-1 in Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager after dominating a group of maidens in his first start at Santa Anita Park on October 22nd and then returning on November 10th to defeat a compact group of five in the Grade 3 Bob Hope at Del Mar.
Saturday’s race will be Mastery’s first try around two turns, so there is always a question on how that will go, especially around the unique Los Alamitos configuration, but on paper he appears extremely tough to beat. Baffert puts the blinkers back on after removing them in the Bob Hope, so expect the heavy favorite to once again be prominently placed under jockey Mike Smith.
While I certainly have little desire to wager on Mastery at the expected short price, I find wagering on any of his competitors equally unattractive. Therefore, I will make one straight exacta bet with Mastery on top and hope I can correctly identify the runner most likely to finish second in the CashCall Futurity.
#4 Show Me Da Lute is the 7-2 second choice on odds maker Russell Hudak’s morning line. The Midnight Lute colt was hustled hard to the early lead in his debut at Santa Anita on October 29th and then was nursed to the wire under jockey Victor Espinoza against a suspect group of two-year-old rivals. His lack of money at the windows for a Baffert runner, as well as concerns that he will not make the lead in his first try against winners has me looking towards others in this spot.
#2 Bobby Abu Dhabi took significant money for the red-hot Peter Miller barn in his debut at Del Mar on November 19th. In that effort, the Macho Uno colt got a perfect stalking trip from his outside post and was able to hold off late running Adorned in the lane. This Rockingham Ranch runner probably has the greatest upside in the field outside of Mastery, but I question how he will perform in his first try around two turns, as well as being inside the other horses with early zip. If he moves forward off that first win he could potentially challenge the favorite, but my guess is he regresses and struggles to finish the mile and a sixteenth. I will side against him on Saturday.
#1 Dangerfield is not a horse with huge upside in my opinion, but the Doug O’Neill trainee has shown the ability to get two turns and should be able to relax off an honest pace and pass tired runners in the Los Alamitos stretch. Jockey Drayden Van Dyke comes off a great Del Mar meet and if he can avoid trouble from the rail should finish strong enough to defeat all but Mastery in the Futurity. He is my choice for second.
#5 Irap is a half to 2004 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Speightstown. The Reddam Racing runner tries dirt for the first time on Saturday after two even efforts over the lawn. He could get a nice trip from his outside draw, but he has shown little reason to endorse him in this spot.
The lack of value on top and compact group make this a tough race to wager on, but here is my lone bet on the Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity:
A 50-cent Pick 4 sequence commences with the CashCall Futurity and includes two maiden events, as well as the Grade 1 Starlet.
With the presence of a likely short priced winner to start the wager and a few other short priced runners with strong chances of running well, I do not recommend spreading deep. Instead trying to hit it multiple times if you want to wager a significant amount of money is likely the best approach.
Here are my recommended wagers:
$1 Pick 4
3 with 6 with 3+4+7+9 with 2+5+6 = $12
$1 Pick 4
3 with 2+3+6+8 with 3+7 with 2+5+6 = $24
$1 Pick 4
3 with 2+6 with 3+7 with 2+5+6 = $12
Good luck at the windows!