Friday, December 16, 2011

CashCall Futurity Racing Roundup

The $750,000 CashCall Futurity (G1) is the last major race of the season for 2-year-old Thoroughbreds competing for graded stakes honors and a nice Christmas bonus in graded earnings for connections hoping to get their young horse into the 2012 Kentucky Derby starting gate.

Majestic City
heads the field of 13 juveniles as the 4-1 morning line favorite. He comes into the race with two bullet work outs and he has been getting a lot of hype but there are others in this race that I like better.

Hall of Fame Trainer Bob Baffert has won the CashCall Futurity a record five times and he’s hoping to add another victory to that tally when he sends Liaison, the 9-2 morning line second choice, Sky Kingdom (6-1) and Drill (8-1) to the starting gate.

Of those three, Sky Kingdom is the one that interests me the most. He caught my attention when he broke his maiden at Hollywood Park on Thanksgiving going 8½-furlongs in 1:43.98. The time was not that spectacular but his Brisnet Speed Figures have impoved with each race and another move forward will make him very competitive in the CashCall Futurity.

I also really like the pedigree of Sky Kingdom. His Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile, a measure I use to evaluate classic potential, is a whopping 107.5 which is the highest of all 2-year-olds I’ve seen this year.

Sky Kingdom almost has what I refer to as a perfect “V” pattern pedigree where the stallions of the sire line and tail-female line are Classic Champion Thoroughbreds.

Empire Maker
, the sire of Sky Kingdom, won the Belmont Stakes (G1) and grandsire Unbridled won the Kentucky Derby (G1). Kingmambo, the damsire of Sky Kingdom, won the Dubai Poule D'essai Des Poulains (Group 1). Seattle Slew and Secretariat, the sires of the second and third dam, were Triple Crown winners.

The tail-female line is also pretty outstanding. Weekend Surprise, the third dam of Sky Kingdom, is a Reine-de-Course mare and the dam of Belmont Stakes (G1) winner A. P. Indy and Preakness Stakes (G1) winner Summer Squall.

Lassie Dear
, the fourth dam of Sky Kingdom is also a Reine-de-Course mare and descendant of the Female Family 3-l (Mayonaise) which produced the Classic Champion Thoroughbred Silver Charm.

If Sky Kingdom lives up to his breeding, he will be a force on the Kentucky Derby Trail next year.

Brother Francis
is a young colt I’ve been following for some time and I’m very interested to see how he performs in this race. Brother Francis comes into the race with two second-place finishes in sprints but I’ve always thought that he would perform much better as the races get longer. Brother Francis has a good mix of speed and stamina in his pedigree that is so necessary to be a factor on the Derby trail.

Lion Heart
, the sire of Brother Francis, was a precocious 2-year-old who won the 2003 Hollywood Prevue Stakes (G3) and Hollywood Futurity Stakes (G2), which is now called the CashCall Futurity. As a 3-year-old, Lion Heart finished second in the San Rafael Stakes (G2), Blue Grass Stakes (G1) and Kentucky Derby (G1).

Brother Francis is a descendant of the Tale Of The Cat, Storm Cat sire line and another 2-year-old winner from that line is Overdriven who won the Sanford Stakes (G2) at Saratoga on July 24.

The distaff part of the pedigree also has a good mix of speed and stamina and the damsire line is impressive with Classic Champion Thoroughbreds in the first three generations.

, the damsire of Brother Francis, won the 8-furlong Irish 2,000 Guineas (Group 1) and finished second in the 10-furlong Prix du Prince d'Orange (Group 3). Rainbow Quest, the second damsire, won the 12-furlong Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Group 1). Blushing Groom, the third damsire, was a French Champion Two-Year-Old Colt, a European Champion Three-Year-Old Miler and winner of the Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2,000 Guineas).

Viapervita, the dam of Brother Francis, was a listed stakes winner in Germany. Way For Life, the second dam of Brother Francis, was listed stakes placed in Germany. Platini, the sire of Way For Life, was a Group One stakes winner in Germany. His sire, Surumu also sired Acatenango – the damsire of 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom.

If Brother Francis continues to improve, he has the potential to be a factor on the 2012 Derby trail.

Liaison and Blingo (8-1) also deserve mention and could be competitive in the CashCall Futurity.

Liaison has never been out of the money in three starts and comes into the race with a first-place finish in the Real Quiet Stakes at Hollywood Park on November 12. His speed figures have also improved with every race and Baffert knows how to get his young colts ready for big races.

A bullet work out on December 11 at Santa Anita Park and Liaison could be ready to run a good race.

Blingo comes into the race off of an impressive maiden debut win by 2¼-lengths at Hollywood Park on November 25. Blingo rallied from the back of the 11-horse field to get up for the win, covering the mile in 1:35.84.

That’s the kind of time I like to see in a young colt and if Blingo improves off of that effort, he should be competitive.


  1. Hard to believe it's time for another look at the 2-y.o. class to see who might be headed to the Triple Crown. I enjoy your blog. Keep up the good work. ;o)

  2. TBDancer,

    I think I'm catching Derby fever. Thank you for the kind words and for following the blog.