The 2017 Los Alamitos Futurity was always pointed as a two horse race between two very well known contenders. Solomini was coming off a second place in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and was looking to build up momentum heading in to next season. Posting as a tempting 8/5 second choice, he certainly had his work cut out for him.
For Him took out the field as a 60/1 longshot, setting a strong pace. The 2017 Los Alamitos Futurity contenders took the first quarter in a brisk :23.71. Runaway Ghost wasn’t happy with the pace and surged to the front of the pack hitting the half-mile at :46.70. Co-favorites Solomini and McKinzie, the 1/2 outright choice, sat patiently in stalking position around the backstretch and in to the final turn.
Right at the top of the homsetretch, it seemed like this race was going to shake out as a perfect storm for Solomini and McKinzie but Instilled Regard had other plans in mind. The 17/1 outsider shot to the lead and challenged McKinzie, who had taken the inside track. Bursting and battling on the outside was Solomini as the three seemed to engage in an absolutely neck breaking war. In the end, Solomini was able to drop another gear and outpace his rivals to win the race.
Or so he thought.
During the last moments of the 2017 Los Alamitos Futurity, Solomini visibly bumped Instilled Regard from the outside, who then made contact with McKinzie. It was a move that jockey Flavian Prat was trying to walk a fine line with and it ended up costing the pair the victory. They have been since dropped to third, giving McKinzie the win by disqualification.
“I didn’t think there was going to be a change,” trainer Baffert said of the altered outcome. “Unfortunately, Solomini will lay on horses in the lane and you have to be careful with him. Prat might have gotten a little over aggressive. It’s really too bad they took him down. He was the better horse today.’’
McKinzie’s rider Mike Smith was less concerned with the drama saying, “I just rode my race, he kept trying hard and we were blessed enough to get kissed into the win.”
With the win at 1/2, McKinzie paid out $3.00 and $2.40 while Instilled Regard brought back $6.80 as a 17/1 runner-up. Solomini will take third but did not pay out due to the ruling.
It’s a bitter end that may be slightly controversial, but this is just one stop on the 2018 Road to the Kentucky Derby. McKinzie is surely a highly rated contender on the trail, drawing in over $100K in bets this weekend at the 2017 Los Alamitos Futurity. That almost doubled what Solomini generated. Certainly, Solomini proved that he can compete at the highest level but he’ll just have to steer clear of his competition in a literal sense.