Baffert Seeks Grade I Double in Starlet

Starlet-Stakes-OddsProvided there is racing at Los Alamitos on Saturday — the California wildfires led to racing being cancelled on Friday — trainer Bob Baffert will attempt to sweep the card’s two Grade I events: the Cash Call Futurity, where he sends out likely favorites Solomini and McKinzie, and the Starlet Stakes, where he’s represented by Dream Tree, who is 8-5 on the morning line.

Let’s take a peek at the Starlet:

While Baffert is seeking his fourth consecutive win and tenth overall in the CashCall Futurity, he has captured the Starlet “just” three times — his most recent trip to the winner’s circle coming with Streaming in 2013. But the Hall of Fame conditioner has a great chance of annexing win number four on Saturday.

Dream Tree has won both of her lifetime starts by a nose — but don’t let that fool you. In each of those races, the runner-up was well clear of the third-place finisher (by 7 lengths on Oct. 27 and by 5 ¼ lengths last time, on Nov. 18). The daughter of Uncle Mo tries two turns for the first time, but is certainly bred to go longer.

War Heroine is the second choice on the morning line after a dominant maiden-breaking performance at Del Mar on Nov. 12. The daughter of Australian sire Lonhro broke on top that day and never looked back, cruising to a 6 ¾-length score while in hand late. I suspect she’ll face more pace pressure on Saturday, but a repeat of her debut makes her very dangerous.

That said, I’m hoping that Yesterday’s News, who is 8-1 on the morning line, will be part of the exacta. She doesn’t appear to be as fast as the aforementioned fillies — or Piedi Bianchi, for that matter — but I like the way she’s progressed in her last two starts.

Despite racing on the turf, which I don’t think is her best surface, she’s shown the ability to relax—which wasn’t the case in her maiden win at Del Mar, where she recorded a blazing -16 early speed ration.

My Selections: 3-5-4

Derek Simon
Derek Simon is the Senior Editor and Handicapper at US Racing.
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