12/19/2009 4:44PM



Today's Hollywood Futurity (7:34 pm ET, TVG) is the last of 2009's 26 graded stakes for 2-year-old males and will, for the first time since 2004, decide the champion 2-year-old colt or gelding.


For the last four years -- and 20 of the 25 years since the Breeders' Cup began -- the BC Juvenile winner has been named the champion 2-year-old, but there's not much enthusiasm this year for awarding that title to BCJ winner Vale of York. Besides being widely perceived as a fortunate winner over tough-trip runner-up Lookin at Lucky, he won only two of his five other starts and lost all three of his Group-level stakes efforts.

Lookin at Lucky, the only dual G1 winner in the class, probably would have won the title without racing today. A Futurity victory today would lock up the title, but things could get interesting if Noble's Promise beats him. The Breeders' Futurity winner, third and just half a length behind LAL in the Juvenile, would then also have two Grade 1's. Lookin at Lucky is 4-5 with Noble's Promise 2-1 in an otherwise undistinguished field of seven.

In 2004, it came down to the Futurity to decide the 2-year-old title because of similar doubt surrounding an imported longshot winner of the BC Juvenile -- Wilko, who had been just 2 for 10 in England (and 0 for 4 in Group stakes) before upsetting Afleet Alex at Lone Star. Declan's Moon took the title by winning the Futurity to run his record to 4 for 4, beating Giacomo by a length with Wilko a nose back in third. (Wilko never won again, in three more years of racing, finally retiring in 2007 with a career record of 3 for 29 and $2.4 million in earnings.)

Here's the scoreboard for the 15 Grade 1 and 2 races for the crop this year:

It's been a pretty light year Beyer-wise for these top-level stakes. Only Buddy's Saint's Nashua is among the top 20 Beyers for 2-year-olds this year, and Buddy's Saint did not inspire much classic confidence backing down to an 82 when he stretched out to nine furlongs in the Remsen. The top two-turn juvenile Beyers this year have been Jackson Bend's 100 winning the ungraded Florida Stallion In Reality at Calder Oct. 17 and Rule's 97 winning the Jean Laffitte at Delta Nov. 5.

gofor_broke More than 1 year ago
So NYC OTB is broke. And NYRA might be broke before the summer meet. I remember when NYC tried to give OTB to NYRA, and they didn't want it. That brings back so many memories. I remember going to an OTB in Queens around 1983, because Saratoga was not available at Belmont or Aqueduct back then. The smoke was so bad, I had to leave as soon as I bet. Couldn't stay in there for an extra second.
monmouthisajoke More than 1 year ago
Steve, What the hack is going on with these Mid Atlantic Tracks(Monmouth, Delaware, etc.). First no signal from Churchill. Now we will get no feeds from fair Grounds, Gulfstream or Santa Anita. The tracks are dying and they wonder why. Who in their right mind will go to play the innner at Aqueduct and the rest of the bad tracks that run poor grade horses all winter(Beulah, Turfway, etc.) I live in Monmouth County and have to ride to Atlantic City every weekend to bet the major winter circuits. This is a crime. Once again, us, the player is the one that suffers. The tracks clearly don't care about the players. These tracks will draw flies this winter and handle no cash whatsoever, Only die hard addicts will bet these tracks. When will they wake up and make the deal. Any money bet on these tracks will clearly be better than nothing. Because nothing is what they will be getting from me...
Walter Laudien More than 1 year ago
Steve I have always respected your opinion,and i enjoy reading your articles very much. Buddy was not asked for run the entire race.He was a little green and tried to pull himself up at the eighth pole and Lezcano just showed him the whip and he changed leads and rebroke.He certainly showed me his class. To say he regressed is ludicrous in my opinion.Numbers only count in your paycheck.
Silver Charm More than 1 year ago
The Futurity figure will also come up slow. Lucky was only doing what he needed to do throughout the entire race and there was not much real competition. Nobles Promise tried but does not want much distance. What makes next years Derby Trail a little more interesting is the maiden and allowance races probably now carry more weight and bear more watching than ever before as a fast late developer could burst on the scene at any moment. And from the looks of things he could go straight to the top of the pack........... Happy Holidays Everyone!!
Jeff T. More than 1 year ago
Welcome to the end of the first full year of steroid free racing. The "Beyers" sure say so.
Allyn Beides More than 1 year ago
I totally disagree with your assesment of Buddys Saints race in the Remsen.His performance was visually very impressive as he did everything asked of him with very little urging by his rider Jose Lezcano.Watching a race is far more important to me then numbers.
ponyman More than 1 year ago
Steve Wishing you a healthy,happy,prosperous Holiday season. Merry Christmas to all.
Steeplestakes More than 1 year ago
Love the image of the steeplechaser that accompanies the post - the horse looks a little like '09 steeplechase champion Mixed Up!
motorboat_jones More than 1 year ago
Just curious -- where did the horsepin picture come from? [motorboat_jones: Here's the link... http://www.rubylane.com/shops/distinctivelycharmed/item/706 --SC]
hoofprintsandhorseplay More than 1 year ago
Lookin at Lucky was impressive winning the Cash Call. Since he is untested on dirt, he is no better than 3rd on my Derby list. Afleet Express is #1 - Buddy's Saint is #2 - No plans have been announced for RA - her timing suggests the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn.