An automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile is on the line in Saturday’s Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland. It goes as the ninth race on the 11-race program, and it has attracted a field of 10 2-year-olds.
The likely favorite drew a terrible post. If his Hall of Fame rider can negotiate a trip, he’ll be tough, but that’s far from a certainty, which opens things up from a betting perspective. Let’s take a look!
The Bounce-Back Candidate
I really liked #2 BY YOUR SIDE in the Grade 1 Hopeful at Saratoga. His first two races, both wins, were impressive, and he showed some maturity in sitting off the pace. However, he regressed when fifth beaten nearly 10 lengths in the slop, and judging by the 6-1 morning line price, at least one person thinks the bloom is off the rose.
I’m going to give him another shot, though. Perhaps he bounced in his third start, or maybe he just didn’t like the slop. Regardless, he’s worked lights-out since coming to Keeneland, and his pedigree says the added distance won’t be a problem. 6-1 hits me as an overlay, and he’ll be a key horse for me.
The Underneath Horses
I’ll use two favorites and a bigger price underneath in the exotics. The aforementioned likely favorite is #10 GOUVERNEUR MORRIS, who cruised home on closing day at Saratoga and is bred to be a very good horse. The outside post is far from ideal, but further development off of his debut victory would make him a formidable foe.
Two Mark Casse trainees got luckier at the draw and could wind up with perfect trips. #1 TAP IT TO WIN is bred up and down for distance and gets it following a win going six furlongs in upstate New York. The rail isn’t perfect, but the race seems a bit light on tactical speed and he could very well inherit the lead going into the first turn.
The other Casse runner figures to be a much bigger price. #5 ENFORCEABLE, though, has something no other horse in this field has: A win going two turns. That race didn’t come back great from a figure standpoint, but he looks like a clunk-up horse who won’t get beat by the distance. That’s enough for a spot on my ticket, and if they go faster than expected, his chances could get considerably better.
How I’ll Play It
I’ll key By Your Side up and down in exactas with my three underneath runners, and I’ll also have a win bet on that runner as well (provided he goes off at odds of 4-1 or higher). I think there’s a lot to like here, and that there could be room for a nice score.
2 units: Exacta key box, 2 w/1,5,10
4 units: Win, 2 (if 2 is 4-1 or higher)