At Del Mar and Saratoga, two relative unknowns pulled upsets in the Grade I races at the two racetracks.
Trainer Bob Baffert’s horse won the Grade I Del Mar Futurity Monday, but not the one everyone expected. Game Winner, hardly a longshot at 8-5, made a move down the homestretch, passing the 3-5 favorite, Roadster, and beating Rowayton by 1 1/2 lengths.
It was Baffert’s 14th win in the Del Mar Futurity.
Rowayton built up a six-length lead in the opening half mile, but Roadster and Game Winner chipped away at the lead heading for the far turn, running neck and neck. Game Winner finally pulled away from Roadster in the homestretch, then caught a tiring Rowayton in the final sixteenth to win. Roadster, the other Baffert-trained horse, finished third.
At Saratoga, the winner was even more unknown. Mind Control beat well-known favorites Nitrous and Mucho to win the Grade I Hopeful Stakes by 3/4 of a length.
Mind Control fought with Nitrous for the first half-mile, with Mucho stalking the leaders from a length behind. Heading into the homestretch, Mind Control took a one-length lead over Nitrous as Mucho made his move, but could not catch the front-runner. Nitrous finished third; stakes winner Sombeyay finished a disappointing fourth.
The victory was trainer Greg Sacco’s first Grade I win. Hall of Famer John Velazquez was the jockey.