Experienced horse owner Kalim Shah has had many victories in the sport but he’s wanted something that might seem insignificant the the outsider–a painted lawn jockey. He finally got one on Monday as his Klimt earned the win in the Grade 1, $300,345 Del Mar Futurity. For Klimt’s trainer Bob Baffert, he took his 13th Del Mar Futurity win in 21 tries. Klimt was the second favorite among race bettors and covered seven furlongs in 1:21.80. Rafael Bejarano was the jockey.
After the race, Baffert praised the quality of horses he has to work with and made reference to Shah’s ‘lawn jockey’ accomplishment: “We’re fortunate to have these good horses, and the clients who step up to buy them. We’ve made good draft picks. What a way to end the meet. Kaleem always wanted one of those jockey statues.” Baffert is referring to Del Mar’s tradition of painting the lawn jockeys in the paddock area in the colors of the winners owners of the Pacific Classic, Del Mar Debutante, and Del Mar Futurity. Shah’s Dortmund had finished third in the Pacific Classic but he had to withdraw his filly American Gal from the Debutante prior to the race. Klimt took care of business, making short work of post time favorite Straight Fire to take the win by 4 1/4 lengths. What’s next for Klimt isn’t known at the moment but the long range goal is to enter him in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
Baffert is big on Klimt’s potential thinking he’ll improve at longer distances: “We always thought he’d be better going two turns. He’s got a great mind, will sit off horses.”
Baffert’s previous Del Mar Futurity winners comprise a very impressive list: American Pharoah (2014), Rolling Fog (2012), Drill (2011), Lookin at Lucky (2009), Midshipman (2008), Icecoldbeeratreds (2002), Officer (2001), Flame Thrower (2000), Forest Camp (1999), Worldly Manner (1998), Souvenir Copy (1997), and Silver Charm (1996).
The race was marred by tragedy as Chasing Aces was pulled up in the stretch after suffering a slab fracture of the left knee. He was vanned off and had to be euthanized. Trainer Peter Miller tried to make sense of what happened: “It probably happened when he ducked in. The knee slabbed and collapsed. The vets said they hadn’t seen anything like that in years. The humane thing to do was put him down. I’m heartbroken, devastated.”