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Prince of Monaco Captures Del Mar Futurity

Prince of Monaco  thrust himself into a myriad of discussions with his smart victory in the Sept. 10 Del Mar Futurity (G1). He will now be talked about as a favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) as well as an early hopeful for Triple Crown races in 2024. The colt also added to a long list of Futurity accomplishments by his trainer, Bob Baffert. 

Going into the race, Baffert had a record 16 Futurity victories, and he extended that record with Prince of Monaco. The Speightstown   colt also followed Worldly Manner in 1998, Flame Thrower in 2000, Officer in 2001, Looking At Lucky in 2009, and Klimt in 2016 as Baffert trainees to win both the Best Pal Stakes (G2) and Futurity at Del Mar. And with Baffert-trained Mirahmadi  finishing second, Baffert has now finished one-two in the Futurity for a third time, having earlier accomplished that with Cave Rock and Havnameltdown in 2022 and with Icecoltbeeratreds and Kafwain in 2002. 

Prince of Monaco’s 4 1/4-length victory in the six-furlong Best Pal showcased his potential to such an extent that he faced only five rivals in the Futurity after the scratch of Valiant Knight . Bettors didn’t put too much faith in those rivals thwarting a Baffert rout, sending Prince of Monaco off as the 1-20 favorite. Mirahmadi, still a maiden, went off as the 15-1 third choice behind 10-1 Raging Torrent , a maiden winner who had finished third in the Best Pal.

From the very start of the seven-furlong Futurity, the two Baffert runners dominated the proceedings. In just a few strides, Mirahmadi, under Juan Hernandez, forged to the front, with Prince of Monaco loping along easily in second for Flavien Prat.

In his past two races, Mirahmadi had run very erratically, especially in a mile maiden race Aug. 26, when he had the lead and the race seemingly locked up in the stretch, only to veer in and out so badly that he lost the race, finished third, and was disqualified to fourth for interference. This time Mirahmadi didn’t show any of those previous antics, as he straightforwardly set fractions of :22.18 for a quarter-mile and :44.75 for a half-mile.

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Prince of Monaco and jockey Flavien Prat win the Grade I, $300,.000 Del Mar Futurity, Sunday, September 10, 2023 atDel Mar Thoroughbred Club, Del Mar CA.<br>
Photo: Benoit Photo

Prince of Monaco and jockey Flavien Prat win the Del Mar Futurity at Del Mar

“He broke well and I thought I was going to go to the lead,” Prat said. “But other horses went for it, so we waited.”

Prince of Monaco angled out at the quarter pole, gliding up alongside Mirahmadi to take the lead.

Initially, it looked like Prince of Monaco would pull away from his stablemate, but Mirahmadi didn’t give up and stuck close to him, just a half-length back. As the two Baffert runners approached the wire, Prince of Monaco edged away a little farther ahead for an official margin of three-quarters of a length. He stopped the clock in 1:22.65.

“His teammate was trying hard,” Prat said. “But I think my horse was just waiting for something to come up to him. That didn’t happen.”

The Baffert duo easily took the measure of the rest of the field. Next Level , who raced in fifth early, performed best of the others, finishing third, 3 3/4 lengths behind Mirahmadi and 1 3/4 lengths in front of fourth-place Raging Torrent. Mary’s Boy Bolt  and Rothschild  rounded out the field.

“It was the right kind of trip we were looking for,” said Jimmy Barnes, Baffert’s assistant. “We weren’t sure about Mirahmadi, where he was going to be placed in the race, but he left there running. Prat just got comfortable on the inside and when he needed to get to the outside he did and he accelerated.”

The Del Mar Futurity not only kept Prince of Monaco’s record perfect in three starts, but it is also part of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Dozen. That earned Prince of Monaco credits toward entry fees in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), with lesser amounts of credit also earned by Mirahmadi and Next Level for finishing second and third.

Prince of Monaco and Mirahmadi are owned by an almost identical large group of people. SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Dianne Bashor, Robert Masterson, Waves Edge Capital, Catherine Donovan, and Tom Ryan have interests in both colts, with Prince of Monaco’s owners also including breeder Stonestreet Stables.

Summerfield consigned Prince of Monaco to the 2022 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select sale for Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings. SF Racing, Starlight, and Madaket purchased Prince of Monaco for $950,000. That same purchasing group bought Mirahmadi at the 2022 Keeneland September yearling sale out of breeder Gainesway’s consignment for $1,050,000.

Stonestreet bred Prince of Monaco from its homebred unraced Medaglia d’Oro mare Rainier. The mare is a half sister to stakes winners Laurie’s Rocket  and Greeley’s Rocket . Rainier’s 2022 foal, a filly by Munnings  , has been cataloged in this year’s Keeneland September yearling sale as hip #1026 and has been consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency.

Prince of Monaco, Switzerland , Gold Sweep , Chiseler , Ultimate , Dean’s List , Otago , and San Huberto  are 2023 stakes winners sired by Speightstown. The champion sprinter of 2004, Speightstown stood for a 2023 stud fee of $80,000 at WinStar near Versailles, Ky.

Video: Runhappy Del Mar Futurity (G1)

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