Breeders' Futurity 2021 Entries: Wide-Open, Evenly-Matched ...

Keeneland's Opening Weekend is upon us ... J.N. Campbell brings you a preview of the well-known Breeders' Futurity!
Keeneland's Opening Weekend is upon us ... J.N. Campbell brings you a preview of the well-known Breeders' Futurity!

The Breeders' Futurity is a Grade 1 staple on Opening Weekend at Keeneland. The race is a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" contest that leads directly to the Juvenile. It also has Kentucky Derby implications in that the top 4 finishers receive 10, 4, 2 or 1 pt(s), respectively. To say that it is a tell-tale event, does not quite cover it.

As Keeneland prepares for its Fall Stars experience, J.N. Campbell has an overview of the field…

Keeneland Race 9 17:15 ET

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Over the course of this coming weekend, there are going to be many races that offer some excellent betting opportunities ... this one, the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland, is one of them. In Race 9 on Saturday, looking over this large field of young 2-yr-old colts, it is evident just how wide-open this 1 1/16th contest is going to be. Funny, it was just last year when Brad Cox's Essential Quality took this crown, and began what has turned into a celebrated route to the Breeders' Cup Classic. Is there anything better, when it comes to a "goal?" 

This year's edition is going to be a tough one, since we have a number of horses that have similar experiences at lower class levels. It will be particularly interesting to see just how Steve Asmussen's Stellar Tap #3 runs back, after a disappointing attempt in the Iroquois (G3) during the shortened September Churchill Meet. Clearly, the colt by Tapit did not live up to "favorite" status. Towards the top of the lane it was evident that Major General had the momentum, and Ricardo Santana, who was at the controls, did not. He might be a play in this spot, if the price is right.

When it comes to others in here that might spark some interest, I am always tuned in to the Ellis Park crowd. Those alums can make some noise when it comes down to it, and some bettors look down their nose at the place ... they shouldn't. Right now, Mr. Bouma #2 appears promising from the barn of the venerable Dale Romans. He has a budding speedster that is by Candy Ride (ARG). This colt was not inexpensive, as he went for $370k at the Keeneland September Sale last year. The Albaughs are hoping for a victory, as Corey Lanerie climbs aboard for the 3rd time. Romans does not have the numbers he once did, but that does not mean that he can not spring an upset in a pinch.

Speaking of local trainers who know a thing or two about running in the Commonwealth, how about the Brisset Barn's Great Escape #9? The Midnight Storm colt is looking to string together a pair of victories, after he powered through for a "W" at Churchill Downs in a MSW120k event. The speed fig that day was sharp, and if Tyler Gaffalione can get that kind of production, he could be in the Keeneland winner's circle again. The same could be said for Kenny McPeek's Rattle N Roll #6. Here is a runner who also scored @CD in a MSW120k, winning by 3-lengths. Brian Hernandez could be looking at a monster KEE Meet, as his riding continues to impress. Maybe he could rival Gaffalione for the riding title?

When you are previewing a race as difficult as this one, it is always important to leave no stone undisturbed. A couple of entries spark an interest in a category such as this one ... namely, Chris Davis' American Sanctuary #7 and Brittany Vanden Berg's King Curlin #8. The former already has some deep experience around live racing at places like Arlington, Prairie Meadows, and most recently, Monmouth. Sophie Doyle, a rider who gained some valuable experience this past year, rides again. As for the latter entry, this colt by super sire Curlin, comes from an accomplished outfit that used to ply their trade at the now defunct, Arlington Park. Vanden Berg is a former jockey who turned to conditioning, and she is excellent. It will be interesting to see where she sends her runners now that the home base is closed. She brings along Chris Emigh to ride @KEE, as his mount makes the switch from the Kentucky Downs turf (2nd-MSW135k) to the MT in Lexington.

Rounding out the field are members of the draw that come from some important establishments. Todd Pletcher's Double Thunder #1, Mike Maker's Seal Beach #4, Tony Dutrow's Don't Wait Up #5, Romans' other half of his uncoupled entry Mac's Time #10, Asmussen's 2nd play Costa Terra #11, Tom Amoss' Kevin's Folly #12, and finally, Brian Lynch's Classic Causeway #13. Anyone of these could jump up and win this Grade 1 ... in other words, they are to be respected and considered. What we do know, is that points are up for grabs, in an all-important race which could be producing the next champion!

I am slated to cover the action from Keeneland this Saturday, so check back late on Friday for all of my selections for this race...


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