Friday, October 6, 2017

Handicapper' Corner: Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1)

Givemeaminit to Figure It Out

By: Laurie Ross, IMT Breds

The Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) has returned to its former glory as a key Breeders’ Cup Challenge race since the switch back to dirt in 2014. The winners of the last three editions of the Breeders’ Futurity carried their form into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. 2014 and 2015 Breeders’ Futurity victors Carpe Diem and Brody’s Cause placed second and third, respectively in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Last year Classic Empire swept both races to complete a Championship season. 

A dozen colts and a lone gelding will contest the 1 1/6 mile race. Ten City is the only contender with experience at the distance and with a race over the track.  Six of the thirteen entrants exit a stakes race. 

Post time favoritism may be split between Free Drop Billy and Givemeaminit. The pair finished a head and neck behind Sporting Chance in the Hopeful Stakes (G1).

Free Drop Billy was the more impressive of the duo, swinging five wide on the turn while Givemeaminit took the shorter route up the rail. Their Trakus final furlong bears this out.  Free Drop Billy’s final furlong of 12.64 was the fastest in the Hopeful.  Givemeaminit clocked a 13.11 while Hopeful hero Sporting Chance was slowing down and timed his final furlong in 13.33. 

Both colts have the pedigrees to handle two turns. #9 Free Drop Billy (Union Rags - Trensa, by Giant's Causeway) is by a Belmont Stakes winner. His distaff line is filled with long-winded turf routers. The Chestnut colt is a half-brother to Hawkbill, an international multiple Group 1 turf router who has been successful at 1 1/2 miles over the lawn. Their dam Trensa is graded stakes placed at 1 3/16 miles on turf. Free Drop Billy’s second dam Serape adds dirt sprinter speed to the pedigree; she captured the seven-furlong Ballerina Handicap (G1) in stakes record time. Train Dale Romans saddled Futurity winners Brody’s Cause (2015) and Dullahan (2011), and Robby Albarado last sat in the Futurity winner’s circle in 2007 on Wicked Style.

#7 Givemeaminit (Star Guitar - Powerful Nation, by Turkoman) is by a three-time Louisiana Horse of the Year. Star Guitar raced for six years and retired with a ten-race win streak. The son of Quiet American won from six to nine furlongs and racked up a 30-24-0-2 race record with earnings of $1,749,862. Givemeaminit is a half-brother to restricted stakes placed Real Dingo and Star Celebrity, both showed ability at middle distances. Star Celebrity bore a stakes placed sprinter, and she’s also the second dam of Seeking the Ante Stakes winner Cause we are Loyal.  Givemeaminit’s dam Powerful Nation is graded stakes placed at 1 1/8 miles.

#4 Ten City (Run Away and Hide - Maiden America, by Rock Hard Ten) has two advantages over his rivals in the Breeders’ Futurity; a victory over the Keeneland dirt and experience at 1 1/16 miles.  The Ken McPeek trainee dragged raced through 4 1/2 furlongs in :51.34 in his mid-April debut at Keeneland, winning by seven lengths. The dark bay colt tried two turns for the first time in the Iroquois Stakes (G3). Ten City raced three-wide near the back of the pack in the Iroquois. He swung six wide on the final turn and, while slightly green, made a powerful, sustained stretch drive, missing the victory by 3 3/4 lengths.  Ten City got his final quarter in 25.54, fastest in the race, and recorded a 1/16 split of 6.78, faster than the winner, Tabulator (7.07). Ten City will be piloted for the first time by Corey Lanerie, who won the Futurity in 2015.
Ten City has a speed over stamina pedigree. Physically, he resembles his damsire Rock Hard Ten.  Ten City is the second foal to race out of an unraced mare. His half-sister won one of two starts over the lawn. Their dam Maiden America is a half-sister to multiple Grade 1 Stakes winning turf router Wonder Again, and to Grass Wonder, a Group 1 winner in Japan.

Six Breeders’ Futurity contenders are last out maiden winners. The last two winners of the Breeders’ Futurity were last out maiden winners. Let’s take a closer look at which of this year’s maidens could pull off the upset.

#2 Ezmosh (Tizway - Eagle Island, by Fusaichi Pegasus) has improved his speed figures in each start while adding distance. He wired the field in his final start, getting a mile in a sharp 1:35.59. He traveled his last furlong in 12.62, easily the best in the field. Ezmosh has a miler’s pedigree, and the extra distance should be within his scope. He likes to run on or close to the lead and may have to fight for the lead.

#8 Bourbon Resolution (New Year's Day - Vindicated Ghost, by Vindication) has improved his speed figures in a trio of starts. After two runner-up finishes, the Ian Wilkes trainee won at seven furlongs by 2 1/2 lengths. He’s by a Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champ out of a half-sister to the speedy multiple graded stakes winners Salute the Sarge and Cherlokee.  Jockey Julien Leparoux won last year’s edition of the Breeders’ Futurity on Classic Empire. Leparoux won three races, including the Darley Alcibiades Stakes (G1) to kick off Keenland’s fall meet yesterday. 

#3 Lone Sailor (Majestic Warrior - Ambitious, by Mr. Greeley) improved tremendously in his second start, swimming off to an eleven-length victory over a sloppy Saratoga track. Lone Sailor’s distaff line is filled with blacktype and filled with Phipps Family bloodlines. His dam is a half-sister to multiple stakes winner Altesse, a winner from 1 1/16 miles to 1 1/8 miles; Mine That Bird Derby hero Where’s the Moon, and to stakes placed Alchemist, dam of Withers Stakes winner Far From Over, Stakes winning miler Analyze and multiple graded stakes placed And Why Not. This year’s Peter Pan winner Timeline is also a member of the family. Second dam Aldiza was a competitive sprinter, in the money 16 of 18 starts, mostly graded stakes. 

D. Wayne Lukas owns six Breeders’ Futurity trophies, the last was with Consolidator in 2004. Lukas may have lost a step in the stakes department, but every once in awhile the sneaky ahem, codger pulls off the upset. This year, Lukas and the underrated Jon Court team up with #5 Bravazo (Awesome Again - Tiz o' Gold, by Cee's Tizzy). The colt has the pedigree to improve with distance and maturity. He strolled away from a maiden field by 4 3/4 lengths in his last start. Yes, his time was slow 1:38.19, but he wasn’t under pressure and his post-race breeze times have picked up. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 

Race keys since the switch to dirt:  Colts exiting the Iroquois Stakes have hit the board in the last three editions of the Breeders’ Futurity. Last out maiden winners won the last two Futurities. Speed folds in the Futurity. In the last three editions, one pace setter held on for third place while the rest were out of the money. Although I didn’t pick him to hit the board, #7 Givemeaminit does have a good shot. We’re going for a price!

#4 TEN CITY (10-1)
#3 LONE SAILOR (12-1)

Anything can and does happen in a large field. So, depending upon your bankroll, you’ll either want to place a few $2 wagers across the board (win, place, show) on logical longshots, have fun with the $0.10 supers and hope you get lucky, or throw caution, and perhaps your money, to the wind and place multiple exotic bets.

So, here’s how I’ll spend ThoroFan’s (fictitious) $100:

$1 Trifecta Key: 4/3, 7, 8, 9/ 3, 7, 8, 9 = $12

$1 Trifecta Key: 9/3, 4, 7, 8/ 3, 4, 7, 8 = $12

$1 Trifecta Key: 7/3, 4, 8, 9/ 3, 4, 8, 9 = $12

$0.50 Super: 4,7,9,8/4,7,9,8,3/4,7,9,8,3 = $48

$6 WPS #5 (odds of 5-1 or higher) 

Total: $90

$10 to drown my sorrows.

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