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Baffert finishes meet as leading trainer

Monday, December 18th, 2017

Barbara D. Livingston
Bob Baffert is the first trainer to win the Starlet Stakes and the CashCall Futurity the same year.

Bob Baffert led all trainers at the 11-day Los Alamitos winter meeting with six wins, two of which were in Grade 1 races.

On Dec. 9, Baffert became the first trainer to win the Grade 1 Starlet Stakes and Grade 1 Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity in the same year.

The Los Alamitos meet began Nov. 30 and ended Sunday.

Baffert won the Starlet with Dream Tree and the Los Alamitos Futurity with McKinzie, who was promoted from second to first after the Baffert-trained Solomini was disqualified and placed third for causing interference in the stretch.

No trainer had won both races in the same year since the Starlet was first run at Hollywood Park in 1981. The races shifted to Los Alamitos in 2014.

Apprentice jockey Evin Roman led all riders with 18 wins, 10 more than Stewart Elliott, who finished second. The 19-year-old Roman, almost a certainty to be recognized with the Eclipse Award as the outstanding apprentice jockey of 2017, also won riding titles at Los Alamitos in July and September.

Fields averaged 7.54 runners per race, below the 7.9 average of the 2016 December meeting, but the highest of the three meetings held at Los Alamitos this year. The July meeting averaged 6.8 runners per race, while the Los Angeles County Fair meeting in September averaged 6.93 runners.

“The December meeting is usually the best meeting of the three,” racing secretary Bob Moreno said.

Track vice-president Jack Liebau said business and field size on the final six days of the meeting were hurt because of the devastating wildfire that struck the San Luis Rey Downs training center in Bonsall, Calif., on Dec. 7. The fire, which killed 46 horses, prompted the cancellation of the Dec. 8 card, and forced horsemen stabled there to focus on reforming their stables at Del Mar.

Los Alamitos will have three meetings in 2018, beginning with a summer meeting from June 28 to July 15 following the end of the Santa Anita spring-summer meeting and prior to the Del Mar summer meeting.

Moreno said the summer meeting will be highlighted by two graded stakes – the Grade 2 Great Lady M. Stakes for female sprinters and the Grade 3 Los Alamitos Derby.

A three-week Los Angeles County Fair meeting will be held at Los Alamitos in September. A two-week meeting will be held there in December.


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