Baffert has captured the last five runnings of the Futurity since it was moved from Hollywood Park to Los Alamitos in 2014.Improbable, by City Zip, won on debut at Santa Anita in September then romped home by 7 1/4 lengths next time out in the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs on November 2.
He was campaigned in his first two starts by WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and SF Racing but the latter sold their share to Starlight Racing following the colt’s win in Kentucky.“Bob has liked this horse all along,” said WinStar’s Elliott Walden.
“I loved his race today. The best thing about it was his last eighth of a mile and the way he galloped out.That gives you the hope for the future and that’s what we’re all looking for going towards the spring classics.”
Start as a 1-5 favorite in this two-turn bow, Improbable was patiently handled by Drayden Van Dyke from the rails draw, hugging the fence in the initial stages as Mucho Gusto hustled up to dictate terms.Both Baffert runners avoided trouble on the first bend with Improbable tracking two wide in a joint third under a tight hold from Van Dyke.
He was let loose on the backstretch as Mucho Gusto tried his best to stick with his stablemate but Improbable hit another gear in mid-stretch and powered clear of the pacesetter to win as he pleased by five lengths.“At the top of the stretch Improbable looked a little lost,” Baffert said.
“Once he straightened out, he got into that long, beautiful stride of his. The good horses always find a way to win.“Improbable has a long stride like Justify, he’s just a smaller version. I’m not saying he’s at Justify’s level yet but he’s a really good horse.”
Improbable is the 10th G1 winner by the late City Zip, who passed away in 2017 from chronic foot issues.