Starlight Racing, SF Racing, Madaket Stables and partners’ Pinehurst scooted to the front in the seven-furlong Runhappy Del Mar Futurity (G1) on Sept. 6 and kept that advantage all the way around to score a 4 ½ length triumph on closing day of the Del Mar meet.
Pinehurst, who jumped into top-level company after breaking his maiden at first asking on Aug. 1, gave Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert his 15th win in the race.
Another Hall of Famer, jockey Mike Smith, rode Pinehurst and nursed him through quick fractions of :22.09, :44.77, 1:10.17 and a final of 1:23.55. It was Smith’s first stakes score of the summer and his first in the Futurity.
“When we ran last time, he stumbled pretty badly coming out of there, but he still made the lead,” Smith said. “So I knew he was plenty quick. We beat a horse that day (Aug. 1) named Enbarr and I knew they were real high on him. So I figured I was sitting on a good horse. When you ride for Bob (trainer Baffert), you ride with confidence. He puts so much foundation under them and they all come running. So glad I got to win a stakes at Del Mar; and best to do it with a Grade I.”
Pinehurst won a first prize of $180,000 for his efforts and he now shows a bankroll of $222,000. He’s a bay colt by Twirling Candy who cost $385,000 as a yearling at the Keeneland September Sale.
“I could see that (3/5 favorite) Murray didn’t have it today,” Baffert said. “He was struggling early on. I’m just glad that I had two good horses and one of them had it even if the other one didn’t. I’ve been blessed over the years with so many good owners and so many good young horses.”
Pinehurst paid $10.00, $5.40 and $4.00 across the board. Finneus returned $18.00 and $7.80 and American Xperiment paid $5.00.