August 1 was an excellent day for former winners of the Los Alamitos Thoroughbred Futurity.
At 2:36 p.m. at Del Mar, 3-year-old started in the Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar. Albaugh Family Stables LLC and Spendthrift Farms LLC’s Thousand Words, the winner of the 2019 Grade II Los Alamitos Thoroughbred Futurity, looked razor sharp right from the start, as he took the lead in the 1 1/16th miles race. Thousand Words (photo) continued leading with highly regarded Cezanne stalking him off the rail before making a bid around the turn. The two – both winners at Los Alamitos – were soon joined by the 1-5 favorite Honor A.P., as he joined the foray to challenge 9-1 Thousand Words.
Ridden by Abel Cedillo and trained by Bob Baffert, Thousand Words responded like an all-star, as he continued gamely down the stretch and fought off Honor A.P. by ¾ lengths to likely secure his spot in the 2020 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) at Churchill Downs on September 5.
"Turning for home, I could tell that Honor A. P. wasn't running like he usually does," said Baffert in a Bloodhorse story. "Cezanne got really tired, but Thousand Words... The real Thousand Words showed up today. His whole mind changed. His color has changed. He had soured out on me, but we got him going the right way. I think he earned his way to the Derby."
The Shared Belief was the third stakes win for Thousand Words, who picked up 50 qualifying points toward the Kentucky Derby. His overall tally of 83, some earned with victories in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) and Los Alamitos Futurity over the winter, ranks him seventh on the leaderboard.
Approximately nine minutes after Thousand Words had crossed the wire first in the Shared Belief, the Baffert trained Improbable, the winner of the 2018 Los Alamitos Thoroughbred Futurity, won the Grade I, $695,000 Whitney Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.
Ridden by Irad Otiz Jr., Improbable chased a slow pace in second, then took charge with five-sixteenths left and sailed to a two-length victory to earn a free spot in the Longines Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) as part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge program.
"Improbable showed up today. It was very impressive. He's put it all together. He's one of the prettiest-moving horses you'll see, and he was in a great rhythm today," Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who won last year's Whitney with McKinzie and became the first trainer since Scotty Schulhofer in 1994-95 to score back-to-back wins, told reporters at Saratoga.
"It was a nice half-hour," he added, referencing Thousand Words' win in the Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar.
It was more like 11 minutes, but who is counting. It was a good Saturday indeed.