Ready Dancer returns in Futurity off two-week rest for Pletcher

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

October 14th, 2015

Everything went wrong for Ready Dancer two weeks ago in the Champagne (G1), perhaps one reason why trainer Todd Pletcher will make the unusual move (for him) of wheeling his juvenile colt back for Saturday's $200,000 Futurity (G2) at Belmont Park.

Entering the Champagne off a 2 1/2-length maiden win on Travers Day at Saratoga, the front-running Ready Dancer was taken out of contention at the start after being bumped. He proceeded to race wide at the rear of the field and wound up trailing the field of eight by more than 23 lengths. A sloppy track might have hindered the performance as well.

Ready Dancer will face five others in the six-furlong Futurity. One colt who could be sitting on a big race is the maiden King Kranz, who improved significantly in his second start on September 19, finishing third by three parts of a length while earning a competitive 93 BRIS Speed rating. However, the John Terranova barn has been a tad cold during the Belmont fall meet, having missed with its first 19 starters.

Full Salute is the most accomplished in the field having taken the $145,000 Hall of Fame at Parx Racing last month. The Speightstown colt preceded that win with seconds in the $60,000 Tyro and $116,000 Sapling, both at Monmouth.

Manhattan Dan, unplaced in his only previous start on dirt, broke his maiden on the turf at Saratoga and was most recently third in the one-mile Summer (G3) at Woodbine after setting the pace. Annual Report aired in his debut at Parx for Godolphin and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, but in slow time, while Legend Keeper ships north following a maiden score at Gulfstream in his third start.

The co-feature on Saturday is the $200,000 Athenia (G3) for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf. Grade 1 veteran Coffee Clique might be vulnerable again after going unplaced in the Ballston Spa (G2) and Noble Damsel (G3) in her last two, while Noble Damsel runner-up and Grade 2 heroine Lady Lara also has a hurdle to overcome having drawn post 13.

The Christophe Clement trainee Stellar Path should be fitter after a close third in the $104,000 Avowal at Woodbine in early September following a layoff. Others to beware of include the Group 3-placed French import Faufiler; Tango Time, a last-out allowance winner for Pletcher; and the Chad Brown-trained stakes winner Granny Mc's Kitten.