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Image for Brian Zipse Brian Zipse - Updated October 14, 2022

Del Mar Futurity: The Expected Favorite of the Three Will Be the Recent Debut Winner Cave Rock

Del Mar Futurity Odds and Post Position

Check out our predictions and odds for the 2022 Del Mar Futurity at Del Mar!

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
U Rispoli P D’Amato
2 AGENCY 8/1
F Prat M Glatt
3 MIXTO 20/1
R Vazquez D O’Neill
4 SKINNER 30/1
V Espinoza J Shirreffs
5 POP D’ORO 30/1
A Cedillo H Palma
J Velazquez B Baffert
J J Hernandez B Baffert
M Smith B Baffert
9 THE BIG WAM 10/1
H Berrios L Mendez

Del Mar Futurity Predictions and Best Bets

Here are my plays ($40 in total)

$10 Trifecta Part Wheel – Cave Rock over Agency and Newgate over Agency, Havnameltdown and Newgate  = $40

If you’re playing only to win, go with my top pick Cave Rock (8/5)

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Del Mar Futurity

In search of his 16th victory in the race, trainer Bob Baffert will send out the formidable trio of Cave Rock, Havnameltdown and Newgate to headline Sunday’s Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity at Del Mar.

The expected favorite of the three will be the recent debut winner Cave Rock. A $550,000 yearling purchase, the son of Arrogate won his first race by six lengths for Baffert.

The debut, which was only four weeks ago at Del Mar, stopped the timer in 1:15.81 for 6 1/2-furlongs. It was enough to earn him a lofty Beyer Speed Figure of 101.

Havnameltdown, meanwhile, is the only unbeaten stakes winner in the field. A son of Uncaptured, the Florida-bred has already won twice at the Del Mar meeting.

He earned a debut win in July in a fast 5 furlong maiden race, before coming back to account for the Grade 3 Best Pal Stakes on August 14 by 2 1/2-lengths.

Finally, Newgate could be any kind for the Hall of Fame trainer. An $850,000 yearling purchase, the son of Into Mischief was a good-looking debut winner at Del Mar six weeks ago.

If Baffert’s domination in the 7 furlong Del Mar Futurity is to be tested, the top candidates for the upset include Agency, Classical Cat, and The Big Wam.

Del Mar Futurity Predictions and Race Analysis

Cave Rock

In his only start he romped home by six lengths in very fast time as the 6-5 favorite in a field of nine on August 13. A son of the champion Arrogate, this Baffert-trained juvenile was rewarded with gaudy speed figures for the debut win.

A repeat performance likely is enough to land him in the winner’s circle again on Saturday. This field will obviously be a greater challenge, though. Still, the impressive-looking dark bay has every right to be even better in his second start at Del Mar.

There will be more speed pressure this time, but as good as he looked three weeks ago, I fully expect him to announce himself as California’s top contender for November’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland. He is the top pick.


Also trained by Bob Baffert, this son of Uncaptured is the only entrant with a graded stake win. He scored by 2 1/2-lengths in the 6-furlong Best Pal Stakes (G3) at Del Mar three weeks ago in front-running fashion.

Note that the Del Mar leading jockey who rode him that afternoon, Juan Hernandez, will instead stay with Cave Rock in this one. It will be interesting to see if either of the two favorite stablemates choose to lay off the lead this time.

Off his two wins over the track, he is an obvious threat in here, but this looks like a more difficult task as he will be asked to carry his speed farther against a tougher field.


The third of three from Baffert, he was an $850,000 Keeneland yearling purchase and is also undefeated. He won his only start by 3 1/2 lengths when debuting at Del Mar on July 30. Given a little more time than his two stablemates, he could take a step forward in his second career start.

He also showed the ability to pass a horse in that solid victory going 5 1/2-furlongs, after tracking fast early fractions. That capacity to stalk and pounce should benefit him in a race with plenty of early speed.

He does not have the stakes experience of one of his stablemates or the huge number of the other, but he looks like a horse destined for big things. I consider him the biggest threat to my top pick.

Classical Cat

This son of Mendelssohn looks to have found a difficult spot for his second career start. Drawn to the rail with plenty of speed in front of him, it appears he will need to work out a good trip stalking from the inside.

Trained by Phil D’Amato, he was a good-looking winner of his only start, when he came from third to put away his competition at Del Mar by 2 1/2-lengths on August 20.

It’s certainly possible that he can move forward off that maiden win going 5 1/2-furlongs, but I do have more confidence in a few others in this spot.


This son of Bolt d’Oro was a $400,000 2-year-old in training purchase in March. He overcame some trouble to get up and win a maiden race at Santa Anita Park in his debut back in June for trainer Mark Glatt.

Off the nice maiden win he came to Del Mar and again came from a little bit off the pace but could never seriously threaten Havnameltdown when runner-up in the Best Pal. There should be more pace this time around as he stretches out to 7 furlongs on Saturday.

With the added pace to set up his rally and another furlong in the Del Mar Futurity, I like his chances to be in the exotics at the wire.

The Big Wam

One of only two stakes winners in the field, this son of Mr. Big brings relative experience to the Del Mar Futurity. He’s already started four times, with two wins and two seconds.

Most recently, the Washington-bred came from off the pace to win the Graduation Stakes on August 12 at Del Mar. As part of the Golden Stakes Series races, it was restricted to California-sired runners.

Clearly he is a nice horse who has been tough sprinting so far in his career, and he does have two wins at Del Mar, but my feeling is that this Grade 1 competition might have a little more talent than he is accustomed to.


One of two maidens in the field, this son of Good Magic will need to show big improvement for trainer Doug O’Neill, who has won this race twice.

Fourth in his career debut at Del Mar only eight days ago, he got off to a slow start and made up good ground in the stretch that afternoon.

Of the big longshots, he looks the one most likely to make some noise in the Del Mar Futurity. Having said that, there are too many here that I like better to strongly consider.

Pop d’Oro

Another son of Bolt d’Oro, this one broke his maiden in Arizona at Turf Paradise, before heading north to run in a couple of stakes races in Southern California.

First he ran fourth in the Fasig-Tipton Futurity at Santa Anita, and then he came back to finish fourth behind Havnameltdown in the Best Pal. He was a pretty big longshot in both of them and looks to be again on Saturday.

Perhaps the blinkers on will help him stay closer early, but I find him hard to recommend against these talented colts.


A $510,000 2-year-old in training purchase in April, this son of Curlin was not quite ready for primetime when he finished fifth in his debut which came seven weeks ago at Del Mar.

Undeterred, his familiar connections of C R K Stable and trainer John Shirreffs will give him a shot in this Grade 1 test in his second career start. The placement is a vote of confidence for the well-bred youngster.

He’s worked solidly for Saturday’s test, and he could well be a colt with a future, but I would not expect enough improvement to make serious noise in the Del Mar Futurity.

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How to Watch the Del Mar Futurity

What Del Mar Futurity (Grade 1)
Location Del Mar
Time Sunday, September 11 –8:30 pm Eastern time
How to Watch TVG
Purse $300,000

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Image for Brian Zipse


Brian Zipse

238 Articles

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

Email: [email protected]

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