09/19/2009 1:55PM

Juvenile Midpoint

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Saturday's G2 Futurity and G2 Matron at Belmont are the fourth of seven pairs of graded stakes for 2-year-olds that comprise the NYRA stakes program for dirt juveniles:

 

The round-two winners are back as the favorites for round 4: Adirondack winner Worstcasescenario is the 2-1 ML favorite for the Matron and Saratoga Special winner D'Funnybone is 6-5 on the Futurity line. Each has one obvious principal rival today: Dashing Debby, who stopped as the 0.95-1 favorite in the Adirondack, will try to rebound in the Matron. Discreetly Mine, who took three tries to win a maiden race, looks second best on paper in the Futurity bu will have to overcome his third straight rail draw.

In Belmont's other graded stakes, the G3 Noble Damsel, Rutherienne appears to tower over six opponents while dropping sharply in class off four straight G1 or G2 efforts. She's only 1 for her last 10 but all of those were against stronger fields, including four seconds or thirds to reigning turf-female champion Forever Together. The Noble Damsel goes as the 4th while the Futurity and Matron are the middle legs of a $350k-guaranteed pick-4 on races 7-10.

The Belmont track looked pretty quick in today's first two races. Persian, an N2L $25k claimer, beat a 56-1 shot by half a length in 1:09.87 in the opener. In the second, Pltecher second-timer Condemned, a Speightstown 2-year-old beaten 16 lengths in his debut, went 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.49.