Belmont Park: How to bet the Futurity

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

October 10th, 2020

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series concludes Sunday, with one final qualifier — the $100,000 Futurity (G3) at Belmont Park, which will award a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2).

A large field of 11 talented 2-year-olds will contest the 6-furlong grass dash, though two of them — #5 Kentucky Knight (30-1) and #6 Nutsie (12-1) — will only compete if rain forces the Futurity to the main track.

Assuming the Futurity remains on turf, trainer Wesley Ward will hold a strong hand. The winner of the 2019 Futurity and a master at conditioning juvenile turf sprinters, Ward has entered three horses in Sunday’s race.

#10 Trade Deal (4-1) and #2 After Five (3-1), who ran first and second in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden race at Kentucky Downs last month, and #11 Gypsy King (12-1), who will cut back in distance after he finished fifth in the 1-mile Juvenile S. at Kentucky Downs, are the Ward entrants. All three bring competitive Brisnet Speed ratings to the table, but none appear unbeatable.

I’m more interested in #4 Newbomb (8-1), who has never won a race.

A well-bred son of Speightstown, out of a Siberian Summer mare, Newbomb was favored to win his debut sprinting 6 furlongs on dirt at Saratoga. Forced to duel for the lead, through fast fractions of :21.86 and :44.81 over a muddy track, Newbomb led by 1 1/2 lengths at the eighth pole but weakened late to finish third, behind a pair of deep closers.

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It was a deceptively strong debut, and I’m intrigued by the fact that trainer Todd Pletcher is willing to toss Newbomb into graded stakes company without a maiden win.

The switch to turf is a question mark, but the progeny of Speightstown win at a respectable 14% rate over the lawn, and Siberian Summer was a three-time allowance winner on grass. If Newbomb handles the transition, they’ll have to catch him to beat him.

Newbomb should start at a fair price in the wagering, so let’s key him in the exacta and hope for a hefty return.

$2 exacta: 4 with 1,2,3,7,8,9,10,11 ($16)
$2 exacta: 1,2,3,7,8,9,10,11 with 4 ($16)
Total: $32

Good luck!