DEL MAR — When the 43-day meeting here comes to a close early this evening, odds are Swiss Yodeler will still be unbeaten and Alex Solis will have his first Del Mar riding title.
Perfect in five starts for owner Heinz Steinmann and trainer Mike Harrington, Swiss Yodeler will be favored over six other 2-year-olds in the $250,000 Del Mar Futurity.
Solis, who will ride the son of Eastern Echo in the seven-furlong race, is tied with Pat Valenzuela atop the jockey standings. Each has 42 victories, two more than Corey Nakatani and four more than defending champion Chris McCarron.
Solis has mounts in all 10 of today's races, four more than Valenzuela and Nakatani and five more than McCarron. Seven of the 10 are less than 6-1 on the morning line.
With Tru Story and Deeds Not Words, both of whom had considerable trouble behind Swiss Yodeler in last month's Best Pal Stakes, missing from the Futurity, trainers Bob Baffert and Wayne Lukas look to have the best chance of beating the favorite today.
Because of similar ownership, Baffert's Silver Charm and Lukas' Gold Tribute will be coupled in the betting. They finished 1-2, respectively, in a maiden race on Aug. 24.
A son of Silver Buck, Silver Charm drew the outside post and will be looking to give Baffert his first win in the Grade II and become the sixth straight 2-year-old to go directly from a maiden victory to Futurity success.
Purchased for $725,000 as a yearling, Gold Tribute will be making his second start for Lukas, who is looking for his fourth victory in this race. Gary Stevens will ride the son of Mr. Prospector.
Still, Swiss Yodeler is the only youngster in the Futurity who has yet to lose. After breaking his maiden by three lengths on May 13, he won the Westchester, Haggin and Hollywood Juvenile Championship in succession at Hollywood Park, then came here and won the Best Pal--which was formerly called the Balboa Stakes--by 1 1/2 lengths over 48-1 shot Golden Bronze.
Baffert will also be represented by Zippersup, who nearly fell shortly after the start of his last race when bothered by Steel Ruhlr, and the field also includes Golden Bronze, Red, who was fourth in the Best Pal after winning the Graduation on July 31, and General Royal, who earned his maiden victory Aug. 18 in his second start.
Horse Racing Notes
There are two other stakes on the final card of the season. Smooth Runner will be heavily favored in the $75,000 Live The Dream at one mile on the turf, and Great Treasure is the likely choice in the $75,000 El Cajon Stakes at 1 1/16 miles. . . . Corey Nakatani received a one-day stay of his five-day suspension so he could ride the final program. He doesn't have a mount in the Futurity.