Kentucky Futurity Races For Courageous Bettors At The Red Mile
Colts and fillies to charge in one-dash miles Welcome back to the 2019 Breeders Crown Countdown (BCC), the exclusive blog that coordinates with our weekly preview harness blog at TwinSpires.com and the Hambletonian Society to find great wagering opportunities for "Crown"-eligible horses and their foes. All 12 divisions will rotate and share space in the BCC as they race to the finals, this year at Woodbine/Mohawk (WoMo) on Oct. 25 and Oct. 26. Eligible horses are followed by (e) with their names at first mention. This week’s focus is on two historic trotting stakes that take place in a classic trotting setting on a historic track for trotters. On Oct. 6 at The Red Mile, sophomore colts and fillies line the fields of the Kentucky Futurity and the Kentucky Filly Futurity. The first is an open event, while the second is solely for the females. The stakes began at the Lexington, Kentucky track in 1893 and only the most devoted of standardbred historians alive can name but a trio of the winners from the inaugural race until the spectacular Super Bowl in 1972. Our reporting history of the event began in 1989, for a trade magazine, when the marvelous filly, Peace Corps, beat the colts in the open event. The list of its winners is strewn with trotters that won the Hambletonian; some of them also went on to win their division in the Breeders Crown when that series came to fruition. The same list does not include many popular, productive three-year-olds that failed. Nine horses have won the Hambletonian, Yonkers Trot and Kentucky Futurity, the jewels of the Trotting Triple Crown, which for many years was a highly regarded accomplishment. Unlike the thoroughbred Triple Crown, harness horses, due to elimination races and same-day heats, participated in as many as seven races to earn the title. The edition of the Open event will be a single-mile dash worth $450,000. The edition of the filly futurity will also be one race, this one worth $267,000. THE OPEN Without elimination heats, bettors are in a predicament primarily because the 12 colts in the main event include nine that have been beaten this season by one, two or all three of Marcus Melander’s commanding stable mates—Greenshoe, Gimpanzee and Green Manalishi S. To make it more quirky, two of the Melander trio have not been able to beat one of them. Greenshoe is the focus of this stakes, as he has been all season in the division’s biggest events. He has lost twice, once by Marseille and once by Forbidden Trade. The latter, the Hambletonian winner, is not in the “Futurity” field; Marseille has drawn in. The race is easy to imagine, all things being equal. Greenshoe, the dead-on favorite, sits mid-pack until near the half, brushes to the lead and never being asked, he soars away to a win. The simple scenario, be it obvious, predictable and boring, will not be a bettor’s score, not even in the exotic wagering mode, not even if the longest shots share the exotic positions with Greenshoe. This is a pass or play-to-beat Greenshoe event. Period. If, of course, all things do not turn out to be equal—as has happened in the history of this race and others of its stature—a fair win price could result. Use the 2019 Hambletonian as a template for an alternative mile where things are not entirely equal. Forbidden Trade slimly beat Greenshoe, with no authority, at around 15-1, when he passed tired horses off speedy fractions set in a duel between Green Manalishi S and Pilot Discretion. Forbidden Trade held off Greenshoe, closing wide on the outside, and a soaring Gimpanzee on the inside. The bettors’ scenario imagines a somewhat similar scenario, even though there are not two heats, which favors Greenshoe. The best condition, then, would be for a duel or perhaps two based on some shuffling; enough to tire those involved and allow a clean, late rush by – who? Even at his best, Greenshoe could lose as he did twice before. This time, however, trainer Melander may still wind up in the winner’s circle, this time with Gimpanzee. Sure, he lost last week to Greenshoe, but even then, Gimpanzee was 5-1 as the second choice. As well, he was the strongest closer, having left from post 9, making two moves. With Green Manalishi S in the field and a lot of bettors swining for the fence against Greenshoe and the obvious scenario, Gimpanzee’s price will be very worth the chances involved. Amending our first scenario, Gimpanzee beats Greenshoe. Period. In fact, this scenario may be a better bet than if there were heats. THE FILLIES Eleven filly trotters take on their Futurity. The two in the spotlight are Millies Possession and When Dovescry. Certainly the third choice is Asiago and certainly there could be an upset brewing. One of two fillies conditioned by Ake Svanstedt, Golden Tricks deserves a better shot to win than his odds will display. She hit the board eight times in 11 races, four of them winning miles. We backed her in the Hudson Filly Trot at Yonkers for a 7-1 win and she came right back and finished second to When Dovescry at 11-1 in last week’s Bluegrass. The fact that she drew post 11 will further pump her odds without reducing her chances. Check out the “The Fives,” lists of the top five horses in each BC division as of this date by going to the Hambletonian Society’s web site: *************************************** Follow major 2019 BC hopefuls on their journey to the Breeders Crown at Woodbine/Mohawk at this Breeders Crown Countdown blog and the TwinSpires harness blog weekly, along with further information on the Hambletonian Society web site and @Hambletonian_ and @BreedersCrown .