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FrontRunner Stakes

FrontRunner Stakes

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The 2017 FrontRunner Stakes was won by Bolt d'Oro who would fend off the talented Solomini and Take the One O One. The morning line favorite at 2-1, Bolt d'Oro would exit the gate at 4-5 odds. The effort at Santa Anita added 10 points towards the Road to the Kentucky Derby 2017-18 season.

FrontRunner Stakes Race History

The Frontrunner Stakes is run at Santa Anita Park during its fall meet. The Grade I race is run near the end of September and is open to 2-year-old horses run at 1 1/16 miles on the dirt. The Frontrunner is part of the ‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’, and awards the top-4 finishers (10-4-2-1) points towards qualifying for the Kentucky Derby.

 In addition to the Derby, the Frontrunner is part of the ‘Win and You’re In’ Breeders’ Cup Challenge series where the winner earns a start in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

The Frontrunner Stakes was first run in 1970, and was formerly known as the Norfolk Stakes until 2012. The stakes record for 1 1/16 miles was set in 2003 when Ruler’s Court won race in a final time of 1:41.27. 

The Frontrunner currently offers a purse of $300,000, and two recent winners of the race went on to garner Champion 2-year-old honors and then go on to win the Kentucky Derby. Nyquist (2015) went on to win 8 of his 11 career starts before retiring with more than $5.1 million in earnings. But the biggest FrontRunnerwinner was American Pharoah (2014), who became a Triple Crown winner and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner on his way to Horse-of-the- Year honors before retiring as one of the legends of the sport winning 9-of-11 starts and more than $8.6 million in career earnings. 

Some other Frontrunner/Norfolk winners who went on to strong careers include: Freehouse (1996), who finished in the money in all 3 Triple Crown races in 1997, and Lookin at Lucky (2009), who was an Eclipse Award winner as Champion 2 and 3-year-old colt and won the 2010 Preakness Stakes.

Other top-class horses to have won the Frontrunner include: Best Pal (1990), Bertrando (1991), Dixie Union (1999), Chief's Crown (1984), Capote (1986), who also won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Jockey Alex Solis has won the Frontrunner a record 7 times and last in 2008. Trainer Bob Baffert has also won the race a record 7 times with his most recent as the conditioner of American Pharoah.

FrontRunner Stakes Past Winners

9/30/2017Bolt d'Oro
9/27/2014American Pharoah
9/28/2013Bond Holder
9/29/2012Power Broker
10/1/2011Creative Cause
10/4/2009Lookin At Lucky
9/28/2008Street Hero
9/30/2007Dixie Chatter
10/2/2005Brother Derek
10/3/2004Roman Ruler
10/5/2003Ruler's Court
9/29/2001Essence of Dubai
10/7/2000Flame Thrower
10/10/1999Dixie Union
10/11/1998Buck Trout
10/19/1997Souvenir Copy
10/6/1996Free House
10/8/1995Future Quest
10/10/1993Shepherd's Field
10/11/1992River Special
10/7/1990Best Pal
10/15/1989Grand Canyon
10/31/1987Saratoga Passage
10/13/1985Snow Chief
10/27/1984Chief's Crown
11/5/1983Fali Time
10/30/1982Roving Boy
11/15/1980Sir Dancer
11/15/1980High Counsel
10/28/1979The Carpenter
10/29/1978Flying Paster
11/7/1976Habitony (IRE)