2022 Los Alamitos Futurity Odds & Betting Pick

It all revolves around Bob Baffert at Los Alamitos on Saturday, when the master trainer saddles the top three on the morning-line – including Kentucky Derby fancy Arabian Lion – in the feature G2 2022 Los Alamitos Futurity, a race he has won 13 times. Twenty-four hours later, a tight field of Cal-breds face off in the ungraded King Glorious, with Geezer bidding for a four-timer against established stakes performer Giver Not A Taker.

Los Alamitos Futurity

G2, $200,000, 1m 1/16 dirt, 2yo, 2.00pm PT Saturday

It is tough to find an original angle for the Los Alamitos Futurity, Saturday’s feature at the south Los Angeles circuit that offers ‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’ points on a 10-4-3-2-1 spread – or would do in a normal year.

The only way in is through Bob Baffert, who has won the Futurity a record 13 times (including seven of the last eight) and saddles three of the five runners this year, although owing to his suspension from Churchill Downs none of the trio are eligible to earn those RTKD points.

All the big noise circles around Arabian Lion, already one of the early favorites for the Kentucky Derby next May, which is quite something for a colt who has yet to run in a stakes race. He impressed when getting it right first time at Santa Anita over six furlongs, and lost little caste when runner-up in a seven-furlong allowance optional claimer at Keeneland next time.

It was a two-horse race – the third was 17 and a half lengths back – and although Arabian Lion was beaten three-quarters of a length, the winner Giant Mischief is very well regarded and the form looks pretty solid. Stretching out shouldn’t be an issue and improvement is expected.

Barnmate Carmel Road has had a taste of Graded company, although it wasn’t so sweet when he finished 13th in the G1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland. He had earlier looked a fine prospect when blitzing a mile maiden at Del Mar, gate-to-wire by eight and three-quarter lengths, and is certainly worthy of interest back at this level.

The remaining Baffert player is Fort Bragg, who lost his maiden tag at the third attempt when rolling coast-to-coast at Santa Anita over a mile-sixteenth, drawing clear along with the runner-up but in a slow time. He wore blinkers there but doesn’t here, and he ran without the headgear on his previous outing – also at Santa Anita, over a mile – when first past the post but disqualified for interference.

The unofficial result had Fort Bragg a length and a half clear of the rallying Practical Move, but the stewards turned that around. That allowed Practical Move his first victory, and he went on to run third in the G3 Bob Hope at Del Mar behind the Baffert-trained Havnameltdown.

Practical Move has kept very good company on his four starts, earlier finishing behind Breeders’ Cup Juvenile second and third Cave Rock and National Treasure, and has strong claims to break the Baffert stranglehold, although he goes without blinkers for the first time in his life today and the effects remain to be seen.

The three-race maiden Tall Boy may improve for stretching out beyond six and a half furlongs for the first time, but he’d be happier in an easier spot.

2022 Los Alamitos Futurity Odds & Betting Pick

Tall BoyUmberto Rispoli+2000
Carmel RoadJuan J. Hernandez+200
Fort BraggFlavien Prat+400
Practical MoveRamon A. Vazquez+800
Arabian LionJohn R. Velazquez-125

Practical Move shouldn’t be underestimated but ARABIAN LION comes from the right barn, has a big reputation, and looks ready to make his mark in this grade.

King Glorious Stakes

Ungraded, $100,000, 1m dirt, 2yo state-breds, 5.00pm PT Sunday

The King Glorious, named after the 1988 winner of the equivalent race to the Los Alamitos Futurity, highlights the Sunday card at ‘Los A’ and is restricted to California-breds, which compromises the quality a little but has resulted in a very competitive contest.

Previous stakes form is thin on the ground but Giver Not A Taker has experience at this level, laying down his best effort yet when taking a state-bred stakes over six furlongs at Del Mar in September, rallying hard to catch the long-time leader and score by two and a quarter lengths, with longshot Amigo G A closing late for third but almost eight lengths further back, and Merit Song another couple of lengths behind in fourth.

After that, Giver Not A Taker sank without trace in the G3 Zuma Beach on the Santa Anita lawn but rebounded when back on the main track, finishing runner-up in another state-bred stakes, this one over seven furlongs at Santa Anita, in which Merit Song was nine lengths behind him in fourth. He was odds-on that day and sets the standard in this company.

Merit Song’s barnmate Geezer is the stable first-choice and comes here hunting for a four-timer after building a streak in claiming grade, winning here – Crypto Ride third on debut, beaten three and a quarter lengths – and at Santa Anita (by eight lengths) before toughing it out at Del Mar for the hat-trick, with Amigo G A a distant fourth. All his wins have come at six furlongs and today’s extra yardage, as well as the uptick in class, gives him something to prove.

Crypto Ride gave the form a minor boost when winning a state-bred maiden claimer here over six furlongs last time out, but this requires much more.

This is third time around for Tom And Jazzy and Please Focus, second-last and last in a six-furlong state-bred maiden here over six furlongs before showing major improvement when switched to the weeds and stretched out to a mile, filling the exacta in a state-bred maiden at Santa Anita when separated by two and a quarter lengths.

Please Focus set the fractions before fading in the final sixteenth and is expected to be a pace angle again after going gate-to-wire in a mile maiden on the Del Mar lawn last time, but whether either horse can sustain their improvement back on the main track is open to question.

Belly Up was odds-on when debuting at Gulfstream Park but finished last of eight, and changed barns afterwards. He did all his best work late when getting off the mark at Del Mar over six furlongs and should appreciate stretching out. **Odds will be update soon**

King Glorious Stakes Odds & Betting Prediction

Giver Not a TakerFlavien Prat
GeezerTiago Josue Pereira
Please FocusMario Gutierrez
Belly UpJuan J. Hernandez
Crypto RideUmberto Rispoli
Amigo G ARamon A. Vazquez
Merit SongLuis Contreras
Tom and JazzyJoe Bravo

The only one with solid form at this level is GIVER NOT A TAKER, who has a touch of class and can return to winning ways after a strong effort last time out.

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