Breeders' Futurity 2021 Picks: Classic Causeway and King Curlin have our attention

The Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity brings together a full-field of routers who are looking to not only score Kentucky Derby Points but entry into the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Both Neil and J.N. offer their opinions on this key race.
The Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity brings together a full-field of routers who are looking to not only score Kentucky Derby Points but entry into the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Both Neil and J.N. offer their opinions on this key race.

The $500,000 Grade I Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland has attracted a large field of 13 as we look to start filling in the remaining gaps in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile field for Del Mar next month. Unlike some of the other early Kentucky Derby Prep Races, we don't have many short prices in what should be a wide open race. Both J.N. and Neil provide their thoughts heading into the race, which is carded as Race 9 on Keeneland's slate this Saturday...

J.N.'s Take (as originally published in his Keeneland All-Stakes Pick 5 Analysis column)...

We arrive at a race that is not for the faint of heart. With both a trip to the BC Juvenile (G1) and Kentucky Derby Points on the line, it is more than just a little meaningful. Talk about a pretty “even” sort of contest … you could make the case for pretty much anyone in this Grade 1. Wading into it, Steve Asmussen's Stellar Tap #3 is a logical one as he runs back. In the Iroquois (G3) during the shortened September Churchill Meet the Tapit colt did not live up to being the "favorite.” Towards the top of the lane, it was evident that Major General had it wrapped up. Ricardo Santana could only watch … Still, this runner is a play, if the price hovers around 3/1 or higher.

When it comes to others, I am always keen on the Ellis Park alums. They can rumble (and make headlines by running down the highway!), despite some bettors thinking they are not up for running elsewhere. Mr. Bouma #2 appears promising from the barn of old school conditioner, Dale Romans. This budding speedster by Candy Ride (ARG). This colt was pricey, as he went for $370k at the Keeneland September Sale last year. The Albaughs have Corey Lanerie in their corner for the 3rd time, and even though Romans does not have the numbers he once did, I like this particular spot for an upset at a boxcar price.

When it comes to local Bluegrass trainers, the Brisset Barn is always in the thick of it. Great Escape #9, by Midnight Storm, is a colt looking to put together a pair of victories. He was fab scoring a "W" at Churchill Downs in a MSW120k event. The speed fig that day was high, and if Tyler Gaffalione can have that kind of throttle at his disposal, it could be another victory. One other local trainer I must consider is Kenny McPeek’s entry. Rattle N Roll #6 also scored @CD in a MSW120k, winning by 3-lengths. Brian Hernandez has the ability to be a leading rider, and I would not count this mount out at all!

When you are previewing a race as challenging as this one is, it’s always smart to think differently. A couple of other entries that could be major prices include Chris Davis' American Sanctuary #7 and Brittany Vanden Berg's King Curlin #8. The former has experience at Arlington, Prairie Meadows, and Monmouth. Sophie Doyle, a rider who comes in and out of major meets, gets the call again. The latter entry, a colt by super-dad Curlin, comes down from the now-closed Arlington Park. Vanden Berg is a former jockey who turned to conditioning, and she is excellent across-the-board. She gives the nod to Chris Emigh @KEE, as his mount makes the intriguing switch from the Kentucky Downs turf (2nd-MSW135k) to the MT in Lexington.

That should cover us in the horizontals … I am going to go with the 30/1 on the M/L, King Curlin #8 because expanding one’s mind could payoff handsomely. What a tough race! That comment does not quite cover it …

Wagering Recommendation: Graduated Wager, Bankroll $100 ($10-W, $15-P, $75-S), #8

Neil's Take...

The 2021 edition of the Breeders’ Futurity is certainly not a straightforward one for handicappers as a deep field of 13 has plenty for everyone to assess.

I would like to start with Classic Causeway (#13) who comes into the race with the highest Beyer Speed Figure, clocking up a 90 when breaking his Maiden up at Saratoga early last month. What I like about this son of former European Horse of the Year and 3x North American Sire of the Year, Giant’s Causeway, is that distance really shouldn’t be an issue. Early races for two-year-olds often bring up questions about stamina and this horse is in the last crop for his sire. It would be a very good story if he could be competitive going into his three-year-old season but a lot to like already.

The Morning Line favorite is all the way on the rail as Todd Pletcher’s Double Thunder (#1) has been priced up at 4-1. Watching his races so far and you can see clearly that more distance is not a bad thing whatsoever. In every race this son of Super Saver looks to be traveling at the fastest pace when crossing the line. Three wins from four with the only defeat coming in the Saratoga Special where he was absolutely flying at the end. Extra distance should not be an issue but in a big field, he needs to be in a good position to make that late speed work for him.

Steve Asmussen sends out two horses with one of them - Stellar Tap (#3) - being the one that gave him the all-time record for Most Wins by a Trainer when he broke his Maiden at Saratoga. Fifth place in the Grade III Iroquois though last time out is a tad concerning but this Tapit colt has some potential.

If you want to look deeper though I quite like the look of the Tom Amoss trained Kevin’s Folly (#12). Third in the Grade I Hopeful last time out but he hit the board as a big 20-1 shot. Only Gunite and Wit beat him that day and he looked more than solid in his debut. His works have been impressive so if you are looking deep then he'll be my longshot play in this race but my top choice will be the horse breaking from the outside post - Classic Causeway.

Main: 1-12-13

Backup: 3-6

Order of Preference: 13-12-1-3

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