In it's 119th incarnation, the Kentucky Futurity will be raced on a fall Sunday afternoon (October 2) with a first post for the card at 1:00 PM. Though the weather is forecast to be cool with a high of only 60 degrees, the day is expected to be sunny and dry.
Menhammar Stuteri, AB & Hunterton Farms share sponsorship of this year's race, requiring a single division with 10 starters for a total purse of $490,000. Both the Futurity and Filly Futurity are raced in the traditional heat format, the only occasion where these horses will be asked to race more than once on the same day.
In the 2011 Kentucky Futurity, ten starters will compete for a purse of $196,000 in the first heat (race #8), then return for race eleven, this time starting from post positions earned by their order of finish in the first heat (though their program numbers will remain constant). If the result of heat #2 is a repeat winner, that horse is declared the race winner. If there is a different winner in each of the heats, those heat winners will meet in a two horse race off. The winner of the "match race" shall be recognized as the Futurity winner and will collect the beautiful LV Harkness trophy and the $98,000 check that goes with the title.
This particular group of sophomore trotting colts is still without a clearly defined leader and three of the main contenders for that position are present on Sunday. Last year's Dan Patch winner, Manofmanymissions, has had a roller coaster season for his trainer Erv Miller. Several eye-popping performances (he is the fastest of the ten with a 1:52.1 record) have been sandwiched around disappointing efforts in both of million dollar races for this division, the Hambletonian and Canadian Trotting Classic (CTC), where he has gone off stride as the betting favorite in each.
Hambletonian winner Broad Bahn endured what has been reported as an episode of atrial fibrillation in the CTC, but bounced back with a visually impressive 1:53.2 qualifier on a less than stellar Red Mile surface a week ago for his trainer Noel Daley.
The Purple Haze stable brought their star pupil Dejarmbro to Lexington and paid a $50,000 supplemental fee to enter the Futurity, while bypassing the $175,000 NYSS final where he would have been among the favorites. The connections have demonstrated extreme confidence in their colt considering that set of circumstances, and that must be respected.
The $291,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity, sponsored by Al Libfeld & Marvin Katz, drew twelve entrants and will follow the same formula to victory described above with one deviation. The twelve will be reduced to ten from heat one to heat two as the last two finishers shall be eliminated from further competition. They are carded as races 7 (first heat) and 10 (second heat).
Early season sensation Crys Dream is the odds maker's choice, despite starting from the extreme outside post (10). Her season compromised by well documented issues, Crys Dream is searching for the form she displayed in the Elegant Image and held her ground well in the Broad Bahn qualifier for trainer Jean Dubois. Lady Rainbow may very well be the "now" horse in this sect, having scored her first seasonal win in the Moni Maker just a few weeks ago for trainer/driver and part owner Rick Zeron.
The supporting card includes the Allerage Farms Open Series for older trotting and pacing mares and the Bluegrass Stakes for 3YO pacing colts.
Buck I St Pat is a slight favorite in the $83,700 Allerage Open Mare Trot. The competition includes the recent winner of the Miss Versatility final Autumn Escapade, Armbro Flight & Muscle Hill winner Action Broadway and the season's fastest performer Jersey AS.
The $85,200 Allerage Mare Pace boasts recent Milton Stakes winner Laughandbehappy, who eclipsed a half-million dollars in seasonal earnings with the win for owners Let It Ride, Mentally Stable, Cooper & Silva.
Little Brown Jug winner Big Bad John headlines the $202,000 Bluegrass 3YO Colt Pace, his connections still basking in the glow of winning the Holy Grail of Ohio harness racing just 10 days ago.
The festivities begin at 1:00 PM on Sunday and anything missed here may be accessed by visiting http://www.theredmile.com/.