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Check out our predictions and odds for the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland!
THE WINE STEWARD
B J Hernandez Jr
D W Lukas
Odds provided by author Brian Zipse.
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Fresh off a big maiden performance in New York, Locked looks to make the grade when he tops a field of nine 2-year-old males in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland on Saturday.
This will be his stakes debut after two maiden races at Saratoga. In his career debut, the son of Gun Runner got off to a poor start but rallied well to finish third.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, he lived up to his low odds next out when he romped home by more than seven lengths.
Chief among his rivals in the 8 1/2-furlong Breeders’ Futurity will be a pair of colts from the loaded barn of Brad Cox.
Awesome Road has only made one career start, but he impressed in his career debut. A son of Quality Road, he pressed a fast pace at Ellis Park before pulling away while going a swift six furlongs.
Timberlake, meanwhile, was a romping winner in his second career start. More recently, he was prominent throughout and finished a game second in the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga.
The only two-time stakes winner in the field, The Wine Steward comes into the $600,000 test with a perfect 3-for-3 record. Most recently, the son of Vino Rosso overcame a troubled start to win the Funny Cide Stakes at Saratoga.
This son of Gun Runner has only run in two maiden races at Saratoga but was impressive in both. After a tough start in his debut, he came from last in the big field to rally for third while going six furlongs.
Next out, he got a mile and was bet heavily at the windows. Trained by Todd Pletcher, he was close early and rolled down the lane to a very impressive win.
He looks like a stakes performer after those two efforts and must be respected in his stakes debut. As the favorite, though, I am willing to take a shot to beat him.
I thought this son of Quality Road was one of the more impressive maiden winners this summer at Ellis Park in his debut, and he should only be better in his second career start. Note that the horse he beat down the stretch that day was ten lengths clear of the third-place finisher.
It certainly is a tough spot for a second career start, but trainer Brad Cox looks to have him well-prepared with strong workouts all summer. Many of those came over the Keeneland track before his debut.
In a field full of potential graded stakes winners, I believe he may be the one with the most upside. He is the top pick.
The second for Brad Cox, this son of Into Mischief rebounded from a tough debut to win for fun in his second career start at Ellis Park.
The maiden romp over West Saratoga sent him on to Saratoga for the Grade 1 Hopeful, where he held well to finish a game second.
He is clearly talented, but once again, he has found a field with plenty of early pace. The well-backed colt is a threat on the stretch-out, but I like his stablemate better.
An unbeaten New York-bred, this son of Vino Rosso has done everything asked of him in three career starts, including a pair of stakes wins.
He has won at three different tracks for trainer Mike Maker and has overcome trouble as well. He has never been farther than six furlongs, but his pedigree suggests he will enjoy added distance.
He also can pass horses, which should come in handy with plenty of speed in here. There is a lot to like here, and I believe he has a big shot to make it four in a row.
The most experienced horse in the field, this son of Exaggerator showed some ability while sprinting early in his career, but has improved when stretched out to a mile in his last two.
I believe he beat a talented horse two starts back when he defeated Generous Tipper in a maiden race, and then he stepped up last time to win the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs.
It only gets tougher here, but he is not out of it given his improvement. Still, I like others better in this Grade 1 affair.
The first of two for trainer Kenny McPeek, this son of Street Sense has shown solid improvement in his last two on dirt after debuting on the grass.
A good second to West Saratoga at Ellis Park was followed by a big maiden win. He looks to have talent and surely wants to run a distance.
Of the longshots, I think he is perhaps the one with the most potential. This is a tough spot, but I will use him in the exotics for some value.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas will see if this son of Justify can stretch his speed out to two turns on Saturday after four sprints to begin his career.
In his stakes debut last out, he battled for much of the way in the Hopeful, before fading out late. He should once again be a part of the pace here, but there is other speed.
It’s worth noting that he did defeat Locked when he broke his maiden in his third career start, but of course, the morning line favorite in the Breeders’ Futurity had plenty of trouble that day. He’s not for me in this spot.
The second for McPeek, this one was well beaten by Timberlake, West Saratoga, and Generous Tipper in his first two career starts.
The son of Flameaway showed more speed last time and was able to take them gate to wire in a maiden race at Churchill Downs.
This will be much tougher, however. Given the speed in this race, I don’t suspect he will be able to forge to the front early. I like others better.
This gelded son of Street Sense has been a mixed bag in his five career starts. After showing little in his first two career starts, he rebounded with two straight wins.
The first came going a mile in Indiana, and then a stakes race at Ellis Park at seven furlongs. In his graded stakes debut, he was never a factor in the Hopeful.
The two wins do prove he has some talent, but I do think they came against less talented horses than he will find here. I am looking elsewhere.
Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
Email: [email protected]
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