The Futurity Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park and the Summer Stakes (G3) at Woodbine Racetrack highlight today’s stakes racing action for 2-year-old thoroughbreds.
Since its inauragural running on Labor Day of 1888, the Futurity has produced several Classic Champion Thoroughbreds: Lemon Drop Kid (1998), Swale (1983), Riva Ridge (1971), High Echelon (1969), Bold Ruler (1956), Nashua (1954), Native Dancer (1952), Man o’ War (1919), Colin (1907) and the Triple Crown Classic Champion Thoroughbreds Affirmed (1977), Secretariat (1972) and Citation (1947).
A couple of talented, but prohibitive favorites, D’ Funnybone (6-5) and Discreetly Mine (9-5) head today’s edition of the $250,000 seven-furlong Futurity.
D’ Funnybone is trained by Dick Dutrow and he comes into the Futurity with a 10½-length romp in the Saratoga Special.
Discreetly Mine has yet to race in stakes competition but he comes into the race with an easy 6¼-length win in a maiden last out.
Barclay Tagg won the Futurity in 2007 with Tale of Ekati and he’s looking for another win with Insightful (15-1) who breaks from post five. The E Dubai colt already has a win at this distance but finished fourth to D’ Funnybone last out in the Saratoga Special.
Steve Asmussen has won the Futurity twice with Private Vow (2005) and Cuvee (2003) and he sends Thiskyhasnolimit (12-1) who was beaten 25¼ lengths by D’ Funnybone last out in the Saratoga Special.
A couple of interesting long shots who have both won last out at seven-furlongs is Grand Rapport (15-1) and Successful Score (10-1). Grand Rapport is trained by Gary Contessa and breaks from post four. Successful Score is trained by Dale Romans and starts from post eight.
Hear Ye Hear Ye (20-1) is another interesting long shot that fits a betting angle I like to play. He has a 100 Brisnet Speed Figure which is the highest of all entered in the Futurity and he is ranked third in the Brisnet Prime Power rating. In addition, his sire, Hear No Evil, is a descendent of the Mr. Prospector line which has won the Futurity nine times in the past 13 years. At 20-1 morning line odds, I may play a small win, place, bet on him and use him in the exotics with the two favorites D’ Funnybone and Discreetly Mine.
Discreetly Mine and D’ Funnybone look tough in this spot. Of those two, I like the pedigree of Discreetly Mine the most and look for him to get better with added distance.
At 5-2 morning line odds, Stormy Lord is the shortest price in the field of 10 entered in the $300,000 Summer Stakes at Woodbine. The Summer Stakes, run at a mile on the turf, is a Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In race and the winner will secure his start in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita.
Looking for his first win in the Summer Stakes, trainer Mark Casse sends out 4-1 second choice Ruhtro. In his last outing, Ruhtro finished second to Stormy Lord in a seven-furlong turf race at Woodbine – beaten by 2½ lengths.
Daniel Vella won the Summer Stakes with Blazing Hot in 1995 and he sends out the 6-1 third choice Korvette Kid and Benestar (12-1). Korvette Kid comes into the race with a 1¾ -length win in a six-furlong debut on the turf. Korvette Kid’s sire, Lemon Drop Kid, sired Bear’s Kid who won the 2005 Summer Stakes.
Benestar, bred by former Kentucky Governor Brereton C. Jones, has a second and third-place finish on the turf at Woodbine.
Todd Pletcher won the Summer Stakes with Dubleo (2004) and Lismore Knight (2002) and hopes to pick up his third win with Italian import Fantastico Roberto (8-1) who finished fourth in his U.S. debut – the Spectacular Bid Stakes on the polytrack at Arlington Park. Prior to that, Fantastico Roberto dominated his first two starts on the turf in Italy. So the switch back to turf should benefit him. In addition, Fantastico Roberto has a fantastic turf pedigree. His sire, Refuse To Bend, was a champion turf horse in Ireland and Great Britain. His damsire was the two-time Horse of The Word and 2001 Eclipse Champion Turf Male Fantastic Light.
British import Yesnabay (8-1) comes into the Summer Stakes with a seven-length win in a six- furlong turf sprint July 20. Yesnabay gets first time Lasix and his sire, Grand Slam, sired the 2008 Summer Stakes winner Grand Adventure.
Two intriguing long shots are Becky’s Kitten (10-1) and Bridgetown (10-1).
After three attempts on the dirt, Becky’s Kitten may have finally put it together breaking his maiden in a 1 1/16 mile turf race on firm ground at Saratoga August 27. Becky’s Kitten is trained by Wesley Ward and he gets the services of Julien Leparoux who guided him to his maiden win last out. The sire of Becky’s Kitten is the 2004 Eclipse Champion Turf Male Kitten’s Joy. His damsire is the 1985 Eclipse Champion Turf Horse Cozzene.
Bridgetown comes into the Summer Stakes with a 5¼-length win last out and his 90 Brisnet Speed Figure for that effort is the fastest turf speed figure of all today’s starters. Bridgetown no doubt gets his speed from his sire Speightstown who was the 2004 Eclipse Champion Sprinter. But he also gets plenty of stamina on the distaff part of his pedigree from his damsire, Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Tabasco Cat, and Alydar who finished second to Affirmed in all three legs of the 1978 Triple Crown.
Trainer Michael Keough knows how produce a champion thoroughbred and he is looking for his first Summer Stakes win with Mobil Unit who breaks from post four. After thee attempts on Woodbine’s polytrack, Mobil Unit finally broke his maiden when Keough switched him to a six-furlong sprint on the turf last out. Mobil Unit came home with a time of 1:09 3/5 which is faster than what Ruhtro posted later that day. Mobil Unit has a bullet work on firm turf September 6 and his 12-1 morning line odds look good.
There are several horses that I like in this field and how I play this will depend on their final odds at post time.
Bridgetown may have the speed to go gate to wire and Mobil Unit also has some good speed figures on the Polytrack and turf. His 91 speed figure on the Polytrack is the highest of all entered in the Summer Stakes.
Like Mobile Unit, Becky’s Kitten may have found his ideal racing surface and could be ready for a big effort.
If the odds on Bridgetown and Mobil Unit remain in the double digit territory I will play a small win, place, bet on those two and use them with Becky's Kitten and Fantastico Roberto in my exactor and triactor bets.