Plenty to think about for Belmont Futurity

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Alastair Bull

October 10th, 2017

Measuring up a number of different races will be the key to betting on the Belmont Futurity Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park Oct. 14.

Mojovation and Happy Like a Fool head a small but intriguing group of 2-year-old sprinters contesting the 6-furlong dash on dirt, but all six deserve some consideration.

Mojovation will appreciate the cut back in class after finishing seventh in the Hopeful Stakes (G1). That’s proved to be a good form race, with the second-place finisher Free Drop Billy and fourth-place finisher Firenze Fire both winning grade one races Oct. 7.

Backed into $3.30 second favoritism in the 7-furlong Hopeful after winning his debut over six furlongs, Mojovation missed the start and was never in the race. The drop back to six furlongs may help him, though he was well beaten by the time they reached that point in the Hopeful.

Happy Like a Fool won her debut at Keeneland by four lengths before being sent by trainer Wesley Ward to Britain. She performed well at Royal Ascot in the 6-furlong Coventry Stakes (G2), finishing second to Rajasinghe, but disappointed a little when finishing sixth behind Threading in the Lowther Stakes (G1).

She returns to the United States, and to dirt, on which she won her maiden. She should run well if the track suits her.

Barry Lee was made favorite for the 6 ½-furlong Saratoga Special (G2) after his maiden victory, but got caught in a speed duel and faded badly. Ridden with more restraint in the seven-furlong Arlington-Washington Futurity on the Arlington Park all-weather track.

Smooth B is the most experienced runner, having won two of five starts, including an allowance race at Laurel Park at his most recent run. He’s had one attempt at stakes company, finishing fifth in the Sapling Stakes at Monmouth Park.

The other runners are Red Peril, winner at Gulfstream Park of his only start, and Engage, who broke his maiden at Saratoga after finishing second on the same track at his debut.

Trying to see how these rate against each other isn’t easy. Mojovation created a great impression on debut, and will probably be better for his Hopeful Stakes experience. Happy Like a Fool should also be respected, but the professionalism that Barry Lee showed in the Arlington-Washington Futurity when bouncing back from his Saratoga Special defeat will help him. It’s an interesting race, in which there should be some good odds with multiples.