July 22, 2024

Bright Future returns strong in Salvator Mile; Tuscan Sky impresses in Pegasus

Bright Future wins the Salvator Mile (G3) at Monmouth Park (Photo by Equiphoto/Credit Ryan Denver)

Monmouth Park featured four stakes on Saturday, and the Todd Pletcher-Javier Castellano combo won both events on the main track.

Last seen finishing sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) winner Bright Future launched a furious rally up the inside to score by nearly two lengths in the $155,000 Salvator Mile (G3). The five-year-old son of Curlin has now captured five of nine career starts, including three of his last four outings.

The chestnut horse started to come on last summer for Repole Stable and St. Elias Stables, and Bright Future will look to make a major impact in the older dirt male division over the second half of 2024.

Off as the 11-10 favorite, Bright Future left himself plenty of work to do from off the pace, entering the stretch fifth after getting caught up in traffic along the inside on the far turn, and finished boldly to stop the teletimer in 1:36.96 over the fast track.

Coastal Mission, who dueled for the early lead through splits in :24.05 and :48.16, held for second at 6-1, a neck better than 21-1 outsider Movisitor. It was more than two more lengths to Stage Raider, who was followed by Oscar Eclipse, Shirl’s Speight, 5-2 second choice Artorius, and Sherlock’s Jewel.

Bright Future was bred in Kentucky by Clearsky Farms and sold for $350,000 as a yearling. He’s out of the stakes-winning Bellamy Road mare Sophia’s Song.

Two for two at Saratoga, Bright Future will have the $1 million Whitney (G1) on Aug. 3 as an option, or he could wait for a title defense in the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup on Sept. 1.

Spendthrift Farm’s Tuscan Sky looked like as a rising presence on the three-year-old scene recording a dominant win in the $150,000 Pegasus S. a couple of races earlier, dueling on the front end with multiple rivals before drawing off to a 6 3/4-length decision. The gray colt established himself as a Kentucky Derby (G1) contender after winning his first two starts earlier this year, but the gray son of Vino Rosso received a freshening following a disappointing seventh in the Wood Memorial (G2).

Adding blinkers for his first start in 70 days, Tuscan Sky vied for the early lead from his rail post, as Willy D’, Hades, Domestic Product, and Sea Streak lined up to his immediate outside entering the first turn. The pace was solid (:23.35 and :46.94), and Tuscan Sky began to gain the upper hand nearing the completion of the far turn.

He surged into the stretch with a widening advantage, eventually completing 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.31, and Tuscan Sky left the starting gate as the 2.40-1 third choice.

Tampa Bay Derby (G3) Domestic Product, the 2.30-1 second choice, easily proved second best in his first appearance since a 13th in the Kentucky Derby, winding up 4 1/4 lengths clear of Hades. Next came Willy D’s, 9-5 favorite Sea Streak, and Otello.

Bred in Kentucky by Sierra Farms, Tuscan Sky brought $200,000 as a yearling at the 2022 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July sale. He’s from the first crop of 2019 champion older dirt male and Spendthrift stallion Vino Rosso, and Tuscan Sky counts last year’s Franklin-Simpson (G2) winner Private Creed as a half-brother. They’re both out of the stakes-winning South Andros, a daughter of Sky Mesa.

Tuscan Sky has put himself into the mix in a three-year-old male division that is up for grabs entering the second half of the season. The $1 million Haskell (G1) at Monmouth in five weeks, or the $500,000 Jim Dandy (G2) at Saratoga a week later, are options for the up-and-comer.