There are two stops on the Road to the 2018 Kentucky Derby this weekend. The Champagne Stakes runs out of Belmont Park, while the 2017 Breeders’ Futurity Stakes will be the feature event at Keeneland.
Free Drop Billy leads the 2017 Breeders’ Futurity field after finishing second in both the Hopeful and Sanford, and hopes to build on the momentum that he’s created. As a son of Union Rags, there’s optimism that he will live up his pedigree, but failing to win a pair of low level stakes races should cast some doubt over the 2/1 favorite.
Givemeaminit is the second choice in this race after barely finishing third to Free Drop Billy in the Hopeful, but looked absolutely daring to challenge the talented two-year-old. Both lost in an upset to Sporting Chance and will try to prove to players around the country that they’re worth a look.
The curious pick for me is Ezmosh, a grandson of Tiznow, who is coming in with 6/1 odds after finally breaking his maiden after three tries. The colt has gone 1-1-1 in maiden special weights over the course of the season and ran a mile in 1:35.82. He feels like the kind of horse that simply gets better the longer a race goes on so the 1 1/16th miles of the 2017 Breeders’ Futurity might be perfect for him.
Bourbon Resolution (8/1) and Lionite (12/1) will also reignite their feud after clashing in a few allowances. The former has finished 1st and 3rd in their two meetings, while Lionite has gone 3rd and 2nd while competing against one another at Saratoga.
Trying to regain the faith of the betting public is Ten City, who finished third last time out in the Iroquois Stakes behind The Tabulator after also finishing third in the Ellis Park Juvenile. The highly regarded grandson of City Zip is simply not running at the highest level in this age grade, so it might be time to abandon ship on this colt but his connections are obviously invested in him. If anything, Ten City is a solid choice as a box stuffer in the 2017 Breeders’ Futurity Stakes.
The every improving Lone Sailor is probably the best longshot to take in the race at 12/1. The Thomas Amoss trainee bounced back from a disappointing 5th place to finish first over 7 furlongs in a decent time of 1:24.69. Lone Sailor is worth a standalone flier play considering his odds but the jury’s still out.
Longshots Bravazo, Lone Rock, Crea’s Brklyn Law, Captivating Moon, Ready Prospector and Enticed round out the field.
The best choice is the graceful Free Drop Billy, who really needs to prove that he can fire at two turns and break better than he has. But he’ll have company in the form of Lone Sailor, Ezmosh and Givemeaminit. I like Ezmosh to spoil the party, but these two-year-old races are a fun roll of the dice. Be cautiously optimistic about who you bet, especially with a field this large.
2017 Breeders’ Futurity Stakes – Saturday, October 7th at Keeneland
1 1/16th Miles – Three Year Olds – $500,000
|1||Lionite (KY)||Ricardo Santana, Jr.||121||Steven M. Asmussen||12/1|
|2||Ezmosh (OK)||Javier Castellano||121||Brad H. Cox||6/1|
|3||Lone Sailor (KY)||Florent Geroux||121||Thomas M. Amoss||12/1|
|4||Ten City (KY)||Corey J. Lanerie||121||Kenneth G. McPeek||10/1|
|5||Bravazo (KY)||Jon Kenton Court||121||D. Wayne Lukas||30/1|
|6||Lone Rock (KY)||Joe Bravo||121||William B. Van Meter||30/1|
|7||Givemeaminit (LA)||Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.||121||Dallas Stewart||7/2|
|8||Bourbon Resolution (KY)||Julien R. Leparoux||121||Ian R. Wilkes||8/1|
|9||Free Drop Billy (KY)||Robby Albarado||121||Dale L. Romans||2/1|
|10||Crea’s Bklyn Law (KY)||Joseph Rocco, Jr.||121||Michael Dilger||20/1|
|11||Captivating Moon (KY)||Jose Valdivia, Jr.||121||Chris M. Block||20/1|
|12||Ready Prospector (LA)||Miguel Mena||121||Oscar Modica||30/1|
|13||Enticed (KY)||Jose Lezcano||121||Kiaran P. McLaughlin||15/1|