December 10, 2016
Source: TDN

 Cheyenne Stable’s ‘TDN Rising Star’ Mastery (Candy Ride {Arg}) upped his record to three-for-three as he dueled and drew off to a dominant 7 1/4-length victory in Saturday’s GI Los Alamitos Futurity. Doug O’Neill pupils Irap (Tiznow) and Dangerfield (Into Mischief) were second and third, respectively.

An overwhelming 1-5 presence, the $425,000 KEESEP yearling broke alertly and showed good natural speed under Mike Smith to trade jabs with sharp debut winner Bobby Abu Dhabi (Macho Uno) through solid splits of :22.37 and :45.65. Irap was going well and caught the eye as they entered the long Los Al lane, and joined the top two while widest in upper stretch. Bobby Abu Dhabi soon retreated, and Irap’s hopes were quickly vanquished–Mastery had no trouble finding another gear, and poured it on with surprising ease considering his early exertions, stopping the timer in a sharp 1:41.56.

“You don’t know how they are going to do going two turns for the first time until they try it,” noted conditioner Bob Baffert, who was celebrating his third-straight win in this race and a record ninth overall. “Turning for home he hit a bit of a lull and l didn’t know if he was going to go on or flatten out. Mike said it was a good thing I put the blinkers back on him because he hit the brakes when he made the lead. The last part he threw it in another gear. I thought we would be up pretty close, but I knew [Bobby Abu Dhabi] was a fast horse and looked fast in the paddock. I was worried when I saw the fractions, but then he looked like he handled it pretty well. He withstood it and kicked on again at the end.”

Mastery’s reputation preceded him heading into his Oct. 22 unveiling at Santa Anita, and he glided home a convincing 4 1/4-length graduate at 3-10 that day, earning a 93 Beyer Speed Figure. He shed the blinkers for the seven-panel GIII Bob Hope S. at Del Mar Nov. 19 and got a rider switch from Rafael Bejarano to Mike Smith, but the result was the same–a facile victory at 30 cents on the dollar. Mastery had been backed as the second individual betting choice at 10-1 in the first 2017 Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool completed November 27, and was outfitted with blinkers again Saturday.

“He relaxed great today and I think the key was Bob putting the blinkers back on,” offered Smith. “He started looking around a little when he made the front in the stretch, but after I gave him a reminder he re-broke and was strong. His gallop out was also very good.”

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