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Blog - GAMBLING

Solitary Ranger last won the Arlington-Washington Futurity, breaking his maiden with the win (Photo courtesy of Four Footed Photos).

The 100th running of the Grade 1, $400,000 Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity lands smack in the middle of the stakes-filled opening weekend at Keeneland, dubbed “Fall Stars Weekend.”  The Futurity certainly has potential to be a star-making race as the winner earns an automatic entry in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (in four weeks).

As with most stakes for two-year-olds, massive improvement can come from one race to the next, but there are a few already proven in stakes competition who may deserve top billing. Solitary Ranger won the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity last month by five widening lengths and could be a formidable foe once again, while Conquest Titan won the Swynford Stakes by a similar margin at the end of August, both victories coming over a similar all-weather surface as the one at Keeneland. General Jack won the Shakopee Juvenile Stakes in August in only the second start of his career, perhaps gaining valuable experience in a two-turn race like the Futurity. Ready for Action finished second in the Fitz Dixon, Jr. Memorial Juvenile Stakes just nine days ago so is another proven in stakes competition. The other runners have just one win each to their credit, but that may not be a barrier to a stakes winning effort considering the kind of improvement these lightly raced horses can put forth. Smarty's Echo, Intense Holiday, Kendall's Boy, Pontos, Arctic Slope, Tiznowforamerica and Medal Count all won their most recent races and hope to meet the challenge of stakes competition. We Miss Artie, School On a Hill, Rum Point and Laddie Boy all won nicely two races back then ran poorly in stakes competition and seek rebounds to top form. Oogeley Eye rallied from far back to finish second in his debut and rounds out the field.  He, along with Medal Count, are also-eligibles who can run only if one of the 14 in the main body of the race withdraws.

Smarty's Echo may only be a maiden winner but his victory in career start number two was fairly impressive as he won on the all-weather surface at Arlington similar to the one at Keeneland and did so with a field high 92  Equibase Speed Figure. That figure was higher than the winning figures of 88 earned by both Solitary Ranger and Conquest Titan in stakes races recently. The win last month came at the distance of a mile so the additional 110 yards should be no problem. Additionally, his recent half-mile workout (45.8) before leaving Arlington was the best of 35 at the distance on the day, sending all the right signals Smarty's Echo should put forth an even better effort in this year's Futurity.

Solitary Ranger won the Arlington-Washington Futurity rather impressively in a field of 7, stalking in second for the opening half-mile then taking over to draw away by five and one-half lengths. In his first two races, Solitary Ranger finished second at Keeneland in April so he is familiar with the surface and like Smarty's Echo since his last win came at a mile the distance of the Futurity should pose no issue as he improves off his fine 88 Figure effort.

General Jack finished second in his debut in July then improved markedly to win the Shakopee Juvenile Stake in his second career start, earning an 82 that, with logical improvement in only his third start, should be improved upon nicely. His last win came in a two-turn race, although on turf, which usually translates nicely to the all-weather surface, so another top effort is likely to be forthcoming, making him a strong contender in this event.

The rest of the field, with their best representative Equibase Speed Figures, are Artic Slope (87), Conquest Titan (88), Intense Holiday (80), Kendall's Boy (79), Laddie Boy (79), Medal Count (77), Oogeley Eye (67), Pontos (74), Ready for Action (90), Rum Point (86), School on a Hill (78), Tiznowforamerica (91) and We Miss Artie (80).

My Selections:

Smarty's Echo

Solitary Ranger

General Jack

 

$400,000 Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity

Keeneland, Saturday, Race 8, 4:49 PM E.T.

2-year-olds, One and One Sixteenth Miles (Dirt)

PP

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1

Intense Holiday (KY)

Christopher DeCarlo

Todd Pletcher

2

Kendall's Boy (KY)

Garrett Gomez

Thomas Amoss

3

School On a Hill (KY)

Norberto Arroyo Jr.

Wayne Catalano

4

Laddie Boy (KY)

Jesus Castanon

Chuck Peery

5

Rum Point (KY)

Mario Gutierrez

Doug O'Neill

6

Solitary Ranger (KY)

Florent Geroux

Wayne Catalano

7

General Jack (KY)

Alan Garcia

Mike Maker

8

Pontos (KY)

Viktor Schulepov

Gennadi Dorochenko

9

Conquest Titan (KY)

Eurico Rosa DaSilva

Mark Casse

10

Arctic Slope (KY)

J. Rocco Jr.

K G McPeek

11

Ready for Action (MD)

J.A. Garcia

D Capuano

12

We Miss Artie (ON)

J.R. Velazquez

T A Pletcher

13

Smarty's Echo (KY)

E.T. Baird

A P Smith

14

Tiznowforamerica (KY)

J.R. Leparoux

T Albertrani

Also-Eligibles (will run if someone scratches):

15

Medal Count (KY)

R. Albarado

D L Romans

16

Oogley Eye (PA)

C.J. Lanerie

D L Romans

All carry 121 pounds.

 

Image Description

Ellis Starr

National Racing Analyst for Equibase, Fan Education Specialist, Bettor, Magister of Equine Prognostication (Handicapper).

Image Description

Ellis Starr

National Racing Analyst for Equibase, Fan Education Specialist, Bettor, Magister of Equine Prognostication (Handicapper).

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