Large field for new-look Futurity
Courtesy of David Grening of DRF.com
ELMONT, N.Y. – Through 126 runnings over 130 years, the Futurity on this circuit was a dirt race won by such luminaries as Man o’ War, Citation, Secretariat, and Affirmed. The recent history of the race, however, has not been quite as rich. Only twice in the 16 runnings of the Futurity held this century has the race gone to post with more than six runners.
In the now-turf-oriented world of Thoroughbred racing, Sunday’s 127th running of the Futurity at Belmont Park will be the first to be conducted at six furlongs on grass. With it being designated a Win and You’re In race for next month’s inaugural running of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs, the Futurity drew a field of 12, but not all will run.
Trainer Mike Stidham said Credit Swap would run in Sunday’s $200,000 Indian Summer Stakes at Keeneland. Trainer Wesley Ward entered both Dragic, a filly, and Fayette Warrior in the Futurity. He said Friday he planned to re-enter Dragic in Monday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Matron at six furlongs on turf and will analyze both races before deciding in which to run.
Fayette Warrior, a son of Exchange Rate, is coming off a maiden win at Kentucky Downs after finishing seventh in his debut at Saratoga.
“He was a little green. He didn’t have it all together,” Ward said of the Saratoga race won by subsequent stakes winner Fog of War. “He’s a big colt, and that race did him a lot of good. At Kentucky Downs, he was polished and won with authority.”
Ward said he likes that Fayette Warrior drew the outside post.
“A speed horse with an outside post, you control the race,” Ward said.
Uncle Benny, trained by Jason Servis, was a smart-looking debut winner on dirt Aug. 25 at Monmouth Park. Being by multiple European Group 1 winner Declaration of War, Uncle Benny certainly has license to handle turf. One of his two siblings to race, Cavity, was a four-time winner on turf.
“He was ready to run, so I ran him. He had trained good on the dirt,” Servis said. “He’s a big, good-looking horse who I think has some ability.”
Swamp Rat, trained by Phil Gleaves, won his debut here in June and finished second in the Skidmore at Saratoga. He is cutting back in distance from a fourth-place finish in the 1 1/16-mile, Grade 3 With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga.
Veterans Beach, a New York-bred son of Big Brown, won his debut at Saratoga and finished third in the Laurel Futurity on Sept. 22, when he may have been on the softer part of the course as he tried to rally along the rail.
“I think the biggest thing was the condition of the ground,” trainer David Donk said. “Trevor [McCarthy] said he had a lot of horse. When he asked him, he said he gave him a big response, but he got bogged down the last sixteenth. That horse that won was way on the outside fence. Hoping for a little better ground on Sunday.”
Neverland Rock, Joyful Heart, Real Money, Bizzee Channel, Stole E, and Backtohisroots complete the field.
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