Solomini colt Wynstock wins Los Al Derby

Saturday, June 29th, 2024

Wynstock fends off stablemate Cornell late to win the $100,000 Los Alamitos Derby Saturday at Los Alamitos Race Course. Benoit Photo.

Turns out Wynstock didn’t need the lead to win.

Southern California-based Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said that in the local press before Wynstock ran in Saturday’s $100,000 Los Alamitos Derby. Then the 3-year-old son of Solomini proved him wrong, yielding the early lead to runoff leader Tapalo before picking up the pieces in the stretch under Kyle Frey to win the 9-furlong feature at Los Alamitos Race Course.

Owned by Dr. Ed Allred and Jack Liebau, Wynstock ended a three-race losing streak and added the Los Alamitos Derby to his victory in last year’s Grade 2 Los Alamitos Futurity. The Futurity and a flashy maiden score at Santa Anita Park helped Wynstock earn consideration for New York-bred champion 2-year-old male honors in 2023.

Wynstock came into Saturday with three off-the-board efforts in stakes – the Grade 3 Southwest at Oaklawn Park in early February, Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby in early April and the Desert Code sprinting on the grass at Santa Anita in mid-May.

Back on the dirt and under Kyle Frey, Wynstock vied for the lead early before yielding to fellow New York-bred Tapalo past the finish the first time. Odds-on favorite Tapalo, a 7-length winner of the Lazaro Barrera going 7 furlongs last time out, zipped through strong early fractions of :23.42, :46.20 and 1:09.63 while building a sizable lead.

Tapalo still led as the field turned for home and in midstretch but the early splits took their toll. Cornell, Baffert’s other runner in the five-horse field and the 3-1 second choice, cut into Tapalo’s lead with every stride in the lane. Wynstock also made up ground through the lane while racing down inside. The 4-1 third choice looked clear until the final strides when Cornell re-rallied before coming up just short. Wynstock won by a nose in 1:50.51. Cornell finished 5 lengths clear of Curlin’s Kaos, who nosed out Tapalo for third.

“I just let him settle early,” Frey said. “I was hoping he would have something for the stretch because he ran so well here in December when he won the Futurity. I stayed inside because I didn’t want to break his momentum.”

Wynstock, who won over the fast track in 1:50.51, improved to 3-for-8 in his career and boosted his bankroll to $243,740. He also gave Baffert his ninth victory in 11 runnings of the Los Alamitos Derby.

Co-owner Dr. Ed Allred and winning trainer Bob Baffert talk with jockey Kyle Frey after they teamed to win the Los Alamitos Derby. Benoit Photo.

“I thought Wynstock’s only chance was to be on the lead, but he runs well here because he likes a firmer surface,” Baffert said. “He could not make the lead, so (Frey) just grabbed him and (Tapalo) was out there by himself and I knew Cornell was going to make a run. Down the stretch, I thought Cornell was going to cut the corner, but he stayed outside and (Tapalo) was drifting him out and then I saw a horse flying on the inside and I thought, ‘Son of a gun,’ and then I realized ‘Oh, that’s my horse, he came back.’

“We know Wynstock has a lot of talent. It’s mental with him. I’m just happy we won and ran 1-2. It’s nice to come here and win this race, especially for Doc. I’m a big fan of his. It’s nice to hang with him and reminisce and tell old stories.’’

Bred by Empire Equines LLC, Wynstock was a $50,000 Keeneland September yearling sale purchase by Gerardo Barragan from Hidden Brook in 2022. He returned to the ring at this year’s OBS April sale and brought $700,000 from bloodstock agent Donato Lanni, agent for Allred and Liebau, out of the Caliente Thoroughbreds consignment.

Wynstock became the first graded stakes winner for McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds’ Solomini when he won the Los Alamitos Futurity. He’s one of four stakes winners for Solomini, who is also the sire of recent Mike Lee winner Doc Sullivan, Soloshot, winner of the Cupecoy’s Joy division of the New York Stallion Series Stakes; and My Shea D Lady, winner of the $500,000 Fifth Avenue division of the NYSS last year. Solomini, a Grade 1-placed son of Curlin out of the Storm Cat mare Surf Song, stands for $7,500.

Foaled at McMahon of Saratoga in Saratoga Springs, Wynstock is the first foal out of the placed Flatter mare Timberlea, who was purchased by McMahon and Hill Bloodstock for $10,500 at the 2020 Keeneland January horses of all ages sale before joining the New York program. She is a half-sister to Grade 3 winner and multiple Grade 2-placed Untrapped and out of a granddaughter of successful broodmare Yarn.

Yarn’s foals included champion Minardi and Grade 2 winner and successful sire Tale of the Cat with her daughters producing European and U.S. champion Johannesburg and the dam of Grade 1 winner Joking.

Empire Equines also bred Timberlea’s most recent New York-bred foals – a yearling filly by Mo Town and a full sister to Wynstock born March 26.

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