Kareem Shah’s Klimt and jockey Rafael Bejarano win the Grade I $300,000 Del Mar Futurity Monday, September 5, 2016 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Del Mar, CA. ©Benoit Photo
FRONTRUNNER IS ONE OF FIVE BREEDERS’ CUP ‘WIN AND YOU’RE IN’ CHALLENGE STAKES
ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 28, 2016)—Well accomplished and on a roll, Bob Baffert’s Klimt seeks his fourth win in a row and Keith Desormeaux’s Straight Fire will try to avenge an odds-on defeat as they both head a field of seven 2-year-olds in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 FrontRunner Stakes going 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita. A handy 4 ¼ length winner of the Grade I, seven furlong Del Mar Futurity Sept. 5, Klimt, who was off at odds of 5-2, easily bested 4-5 favorite Straight Fire, who came up empty late.
KLIMT: Owned by Kaleem Shah, he was a disappointing fourth going five furlongs in his career debut at Santa Anita on June 25, but made amends in his second start, winning a 5 ½ furlong maiden special weight by 5 ¼ lengths here on July 10. Ridden by Rafael Bejarano in all four of his races, he was subsequently an impressive 2 ¾ length winner of the Grade II, 6 ½ furlong Best Pal Stakes on Aug. 13. A Kentucky-bred colt by Quality Road, Klimt will be trying a route of ground for the first time on Saturday and can be expected to be forwardly placed early. Originally run as the Norfolk Stakes from 1970-2011, Baffert has won the FrontRunner a record seven times, including the 2014 edition with eventual Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah.
STRAIGHT FIRE: A devastating 10 ½ length maiden special weight winner going 6 ½ furlongs on Aug. 6 at Del Mar, this Kentucky-bred colt by the Smart Strike stallion Dominus thus earned a FrontRunner-best Beyer Speed figure of 98 leading into his second place run in the DM Futurity. Owned by Jim and Janet Rome’s Jungle Racing, LLC, LNJ Foxwoods, KMN Racing, LLC and partners, Straight Fire has a win and two seconds in three starts and could be the quickest horse early in what will be his first test around two turns.
THE GRADE I FRONTRUNNER STAKES IN POST POSITION ORDER WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS
Race 6 (of 11) Approximate post time 3 p.m. PST
1. Gormley—Victor Espinoza—122 2. Plum Dandy—Mike Smith—122 3. Secret House—Santiago Gonzalez—122 4. Midnight Pleasure—Martin Garcia—122 5. Straight Fire—Flavien Prat—122 6. Klimt—Rafael Bejarano—122 7. Vibe—Kent Desormeaux—122
First post time on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m. For more information, please visit santaanita.com