Precocious colts collide in Del Mar Futurity

Six juvenile colts will face off in the Grade I, $300,000 Del Mar Futurity as the curtain comes down on the Del Mar summer meet on Monday. The Futurity is scheduled as Race 5 with an approximate post time of 7:00 p.m. EST. Hopefully you’ve taken part in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game all meet long; if not, Monday’s action offers a great opportunity to try it out!

#2 STRAIGHT FIRE (8-5) was made the favorite by a very slim margin on the strength of his 10-length annihilation of a maiden field at Del Mar last month. He’s raced twice now and has earned flashy speed figures in both of his starts, but he does have a loss on his résumé. That came at the hands of #1 CHASING ACES.

CHASING ACES (9-5) made his second ever start while STRAIGHT FIRE was just beginning his career on July 17, and CHASING ACES beat STRAIGHT FIRE handily. There is good reason to believe the script can be flipped though, as that July 17 heat was at five furlongs; a drastically different distance than the seven furlongs they’ll have to negotiate today. CHASING ACES has never been further than five panels, while STRAIGHT FIRE won at 6.5 furlongs.

Neither STRAIGHT FIRE nor CHASING ACES will be my top pick though. That honor belongs to #6 KLIMT (2-1), who will be making his fourth career start to date.

KLIMT ran fourth in his debt behind CHASING ACES (who was second) on July 25. But since then he’s reeled off two consecutive victories, including a convincing score in the Grade II Best Pal Stakes (6.5 furlongs) at this course last month. The $435k son of Quality Road is trained by Bob Baffert, who is having another fine season at Del Mar. And Rafael Bejarano, who has ridden KLIMT in all three of his starts, has the call once again. He should be able to work out a smooth stalking trip.

Tyler Baze (CHASING ACES) and Kent Desormeaux (STRAIGHT FIRE) will have to be sure not to engage each other in a speed duel on their respective mounts in order to give themselves their best chance to win. I don’t think they will be able to restrain their mounts’ natural early speed though, and that may be their downfall. KLIMT will be very tough to hold off.

The play: $5 exacta 6/1,2 ($10)

DFJ analysis: Rafael Bejarano ($10,000) is tough to leave out of the stable on Monday. In addition to KLIMT, Bejarano has live mounts in the other two stakes on the card (The Pirate’s Bounty and the Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf Stakes, neither of which are graded). He is also named to ride Big Gray Rocket in Race 9, who figures to win as a heavy favorite.

If you’re shopping for a bargain, Santiago Gonzalez ($8,000) has a good shot at winning the two minor stakes on the card on his mounts. He also rides two logical contenders in non-stakes races (Races 2 and 7).

Follow me on Twitter: @itsgood2beking