MESSIER, named after one of the great NHL players, Mark Messier, has done his namesake proud already after only three career races. Foaled in Ontario at Sam-Son Farms and sold as a yearling by the famed Canadian farm for $470,000, Messier is the heavy favourite for the  Grade 2, $300,000 Los Alamitos Futurity on Saturday.

The contest at 1 1/16 miles for 2-year-olds is the ninth of 10 races on the next-to-last day of the Winter Thoroughbred meet at Los Alamitos. Post time Saturday is 12 Noon PST. Scheduled post time for the Futurity is 3:58 p.m. (6:58 p.m. EST).

Messier, a bay colt, is a son of Empire Maker and the Smart Strike mare Checkered Past has won two of three and earned $105,600. After finishing second as the odds-on favorite in his debut June 27 at Los Alamitos, the Canadian bred has gone back-to-back, prevailing by a combined 10 lengths. In his most recent appearance, Messier won the Grade 3 Bob Hope by three lengths on Nov. 14, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 86.

The colt is one of the leading contenders for the 163rd Queen’s Plate on Aug. 22, 2022.

The colt is owned by a partnership that includes Golconda Stable, Madaket Stables LLC, SF Racing LLC, Siena Farm LLC, Starlight Racing, Waves Edge Capital, Catherine Donovan, Robert Masterson and Jay Schoenfarber.

Flavian Prat will ride Messier who is trained by Bob Baffert. Baffert has won seven straight Los Alamitos Futurities.

CHECKERED PAST won two editions of the Trillium Stakes at Woodbine and earned over $334,000. She is a daughter of Champion 3-Year-Old Filly Catch the Ring and Messier is her third foal but first to race. The mare was sold this past January at Keeneland for $290,000 in foal to Candy Ride (Arg) to Silesia Farm.