by Brett Sturman
Today’s Red Mile card is headlined by the Kentucky Futurity, and the question isn’t so much if Greenshoe will win, but more so, how fast of a time will he win it in if the weather is better than predicted?
While it’s far more likely than not that Greenshoe will be the winner of the 127th edition of the race, here are some reaches as reasons to bet against, if so inclined to do so, as well as other picks throughout the final day of Grand Circuit racing at the Red Mile.
Carded as the final of eight races on the day with 12 horses entered, this year’s Kentucky Futurity will be a single dash for the $450,000 purse. There’s no debate that Greenshoe is the fastest horse, but in a full 12-horse field it’s tougher to say how the race will take shape. In his two losses this year, Greenshoe was caught out of position in stale cover flows and it cost him in the Beal where he was clearly best and in the Hambletonian where he flattened out just a touch late. He’ll start in the Futurity from a cozy enough post 4 and you’d think all Sears needs to do is at least have him somewhat forwardly placed to avoid any road issues. Greenshoe went from third to first by the half last week in the blink of an eye before opening to win in 1:49:4, but the competition this time around is more tough to be able to launch that move at will.
In addition to the field size and traffic issues, there’s still many horses in here that could pose a threat if Greenshoe is anything less than best. Going from the inside out of possible upset threats, Chin Chin Hall cut the first part of that Bluegrass mile last week that was won by Greenshoe, and did well for himself to hang in there after being passed by that rival to just be nailed for the second spot. Marseille bested Greenshoe earlier this year, albeit under favorable circumstances, and notably gets Lasix for the first time. He’s the most likely horse to be on the front end and he might be able to last all the way with the newly added medication. Don’t Let’em is one with a ton of raw ability but remains unpredictable. He does get an equipment change going first time with trotting hopples and it could make a difference; all-or-nothing type could be worth a swing at a price. Gimpanzee had no shot last week in the Bluegrass when Greenshoe was already far gone by the time he was put into play, but he did close willingly in the Hambletonian from far off the pace and though overshadowed by his barn mate. He shouldn’t be overlooked. The other familiar name in here from Melander is Green Manalishi and the Canadian Trotting Classic winner is aiming for four straight.
As a last resort to go against Greenshoe, the weather forecast is calling for potential thunderstorms throughout the day Sunday. Throughout the earlier part of his career, Greenshoe was seen to be less than a smooth ride and it’s possible that off-track conditions could pose an issue. With all of that said, will Greenshoe fail to win? It’s possible, but not likely.
Picks: Greenshoe, Marseille, Gimpanzee.
In the Allerage Farms F&M Open Trot, Manchego looked as good as ever last week when she crushed at Dayton, over formidable rivals too, by close to 10 lengths in 1:50.1. She’s gotten along perfectly with Dexter Dunn this year and I’d be hard pressed to see her being beat in current form. Underneath, Darling Mearas fires in every start over the past few months excluding the races when she’s broke. She put in game tries against both Manchego and Hannelore Hanover in races at the Meadowlands over the summer and she has the speed to overcome the outside post; I think Andy will take an early shot.
On the pacing side of the Allerage Farms F&M Open, Shartin makes her first start since Sept. 1. She was scratched sick out of the Milton a couple weeks ago, and is the scratch and time off reason enough to play against? Caviart Ally has been chasing Shartin much of the year and is bound to be the second choice in the wagering. To her credit, Kissin In The Sand has been finding her better form lately and now lands the rail. Seaswift Joy N was solid last out in the Milton and she picks up Sears who drove her a few times earlier in the season. Upset pick.
Southwind Ozzi heads the first of two divisions of the Tattersalls Pace and will loom a price at somewhere around 2-5. The Little Brown Jug hero has emerged as the best 3-year-old pacer and if anything, this field is softer overall as to what he’s been facing for much of the year. As a possible longshot, De Los Cielos Deo does his best works on big tracks such as this one and he gets Gingras back; he’s better than what those last couple races show.
When Dovescry is squarely the one to beat in the Fillies Kentucky Futurity. Following her loss in the Elegantimage where she unusually did not show speed, she rebounded last week here at the Red Mile to a new 1:50.1 lifetime best mile coming with the addition of Lasix for the first time. One would have to imagine that if she’s on her game then she’ll win, but could be tough to accept at an anticipated short price of about 4-5. Millies Possession is the obvious chief rival but she hasn’t been able to figure that filly yet, with both her losses this year coming to With Dovescry. Beautful Sin and Golden Tricks would normally be other possible alternatives, but their prospects don’t seem likely coming from starting slots of 9 and 10, respectively. Second-tier starter Asiago is pretty sharp but remains to be seen if she can challenge the top choice.
In the second division of the Tattersalls, my hunch is with Captain Crunch. He was game last week to be second in that monster mile put forth from Workin Ona Mystery. That was his best mile in a few races and he’ll win if he continues to move forward from that. Bettor’s Wish has been thriving at the Red Mile in recent races and I’m anxious to see another race between him and Crunch; will try to turn the tables from defeat to that rival in the Cane. American Mercury upset Bettor’s Wish in the Messenger at Yonkers, but would be surprised if he does it again now on the big track. Air Force Hanover was better than expected last week for Allard and could be dangerous from the rail; could certainly be in the exotics at a price.