September 26, 2022

Breeders’ Futurity, Thoroughbred Club of America among four BC qualifiers at Keeneland

Bell's The One wins the Raven Run Stakes 2019
Bell's the One Coady Photo/Keeneland

Breeders’ Futurity (G1) — Race 9 (5:15 p.m. ET)

If the 2021 Breeders’ Futurity (G1) yields as good a winner on Saturday as any of the last three, connections will be thrilled to say the least.

While a showdown among those last three Futurity winners — Knicks Go, Maxfield, and Essential Quality — looms in next month’s Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), one of the 13 colts lining up in Saturday’s renewal over 1 1/16 miles will earn an automatic bid for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). Road to the Kentucky Derby points of 10-4-2-1 for the top four finishers are also up for grabs.

Classic Causeway was one of the more impressive debut winners at the Saratoga meet, scoring by more than six lengths going seven furlongs on Sept. 4, but enthusiasm could be tempered slightly as the son of Giant’s Causeway drew post 13 in the Futurity.

Also entered off decisive maiden scores are fellow Saratoga grad Don’t Wait Up and Churchill scorers Great Escape and Rattle N Roll. Trainer Dale Romans, who’s won the Futurity four times, saddles last-out Ellis Park grad Mac’s Time.

Stellar Tap, who gave Steve Asmussen his record-breaking 9,446th win as a trainer in his debut in mid-August, will look to rebound off a disappointing fifth-place run in the Iroquois (G3). He’s joined by stablemate Costa Terra, a closing third in the Ellis Park Juvenile last time.

Others of note include Double Thunder, the Bashford Manor (G3) and Sapling S. winner who was a well-beaten fourth against tougher in the Saratoga Special (G2), and recent Hopeful (G1) third Kevin’s Folly.

Thoroughbred Club of America S. (G2) — Race 7 (4:12 p.m. ET)

Bell’s the One heads a small but select group of six fillies and mares in the $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America S. (G2), a six-furlong Breeders’ Cup Challenge prep for next month’s Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) at Del Mar.

Victorious two seasons ago in the Raven Run (G2) over the Keeneland strip, Bell’s the One has fallen a tad short in subsequent outings over the surface, finishing third in the Madison (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint last season, and then dead-heating for second with Estilo Talentoso in the Madison this past April.

After back-to-back wins in the Roxelana S. and Honorable Miss H. (G2) over the summer, Bell’s the One enters off a runner-up finish to Sconsin in the Open Mind S. at Churchill Downs.

The aforementioned Estilo Talentoso has more minor awards than wins this season, but her recent fifth in the Ballerina (G1) at Saratoga was still a solid piece of work, given she was outfinished by champion Gamine and recent Breeders’ Cup qualifier Ce Ce.

Inthemidstofbiz, who won the TCA last fall in an upset, has started only twice since, the latest being a fourth in the Aug. 30 Satin N Lace S. at Presque Isle Downs following a three-month layoff. Frank’s Rockette, one of the top female sprinters in 2020 not named Gamine, appears to have taken a step back this year with only two minor stakes wins from five starts this term.

The stakes-winning Club Car appears a cut below, but has never finished worse than third in five prior runs at Keeneland, while Miss Mosaic appears the primary outsider in the field.