By Alan Carasso
Made the 2-5 jolly to follow up on a giant, 'TDN Rising Star'-worthy debut, for which he earned a towering 101 Beyer Speed Figure, Watson, Weitman and Pegram's Cave Rock (Arrogate) made it a sweep of the weekend main-track juvenile Grade Is for his late sire and gave trainer Bob Baffert an unprecedented 16th victory in the GI Runhappy Del Mar Futurity.
Having graduated by a half-dozen lengths on his Aug. 13 debut, the $210,000 Keeneland November weanling and $550,000 Keeneland September yearling was squeezed back between fellow 'Rising Star' stablemate Newgate (Into Mischief) to his inside and the commonly owned GIII Best Pal S. hero Havnameltdown (Uncaptured) to his outside, but he easily made up the length or so he'd lost to shade Havnameltdown for the lead through a quarter that was posted in a strong :21.56. Dueling heads apart around the turn as the pace remained breakneck, Cave Rock and Havnameltdown pulled well clear of the remainder as they hit the stretch, but the former found extra–particularly when switching his leads at the eighth pole–and went on to score by an imposing margin before galloping out strongly. Skinner (Curlin) picked up the pieces for third. The final time of 1:20.99 for the seven furlongs breaks the previous stakes record of 1:21.29 set by future champion Declan's Moon (Malibu Moon) set in 2004.
“He's a good horse; very professional,” said jockey Juan Hernandez, winning his meet-leading 12th stakes event. “And he's fast. He broke a step slow, but then he got right in gear and made the running. I tried to slow him down some, but he wasn't having it. So I just let him go on and do his thing. When we hit the quarter pole, I asked him and he changed leads and took off. He just wanted to go. He's something.”
Cave Rock is the third graded winner–all Grade I winners–and the sixth black-type winner overall for the much-missed Arrogate. Like Saturday's GI TVG Del Mar Debutante heroine And Tell Me Nolies, Cave Rock was prepared for his first trip through the sales ring by Mulholland Springs, and like the Debutante victress, the colt also hails from a Danzig-line dam. Danzig also appears on the bottom side of the pedigree of Arrogate's other black-type placegetters Catiche and Caragate.
Cave Rock's yearling full-brother topped this year's Fasig-Tipton New York-Bred Sale on a bid of $700,000 from Tom McCrocklin, agent for Champion Equine, and 2011 GIII Schuylerville S. winner Georgie's Angel produced an Improbable filly this year before being bred back to Connect.
Sunday, Del Mar
RUNHAPPY DEL MAR FUTURITY-GI, $302,000, Del Mar, 9-11, 2yo, 7f, 1:20.99 (NSR), ft.
1–CAVE ROCK, 120, c, 2, by Arrogate
1st Dam: Georgie's Angel (GSW, $129,564), by Bellamy Road
2nd Dam: Lalka, by Dynaformer
3rd Dam: Celmis, by Bold Ruckus
'TDN Rising Star' 1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN, 1ST GRADE I WIN. ($210,000 Wlg '20 KEENOV; $550,000 Ylg '21 KEESEP). O-Michael E Pegram, Karl Watson & Paul Weitman; B-Anne & Ronnie Sheffer Racing LLC (KY); T-Bob Baffert; J-Juan J Hernandez. $180,000. Lifetime Record: 2-2-0-0, $228,000. Click for the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. Werk Nick Rating: First SW this cross. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Havnameltdown, 123, c, 2, Uncaptured–Ashley's Babe, by Put It Back. 1ST G1 BLACK-TYPE. ($16,000 Ylg '21 OBSOCT; $200,000 2yo '22 OBSAPR). O-Michael E Pegram, Karl Watson & Paul Weitman; B-Katherine S Devall (FL); T-Bob Baffert. $60,000.
3–Skinner, 118, c, 2, Curlin–Winding Way, by Malibu Moon. 1ST BLACK-TYPE, 1ST GRADED BLACK-TYPE, 1ST G1 BLACK-TYPE. ($40,000 Ylg '21 KEESEP; $510,000 2yo '22 OBSAPR). O-C R K Stable LLC; B-Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC (KY); T-John A Shirreffs. $36,000.
Margins: 5 1/4, 4 1/4, 1. Odds: 0.40, 6.50, 13.50.
Also Ran: Newgate, The Big Wam, Mixto, Classical Cat, Agency, Pop d'Oro. Click for the Equibase.com chart and the TJCIS.com PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.