10/04/2014 5:04PM

Carpe Diem much the best in Breeders' Futurity

Coady Photography
Carpe Diem, ridden by John Velazquez, remains undefeated in two starts following his 6 1/4-length romp in the Breeders' Futurity.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Carpe Diem ran like he was indeed worth a million bucks in winning Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland on Saturday.

A $1.6 million purchase at the Ocala Breeders Sales Company sale in March, Carpe Diem pushed his record to 2 for 2 in winning the Breeder’s Futurity by 6 1/4 lengths, stamping himself as a one of the leading contenders for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Nov. 1 at Santa Anita.

Aside from being reluctant to load into the starting gate, Carpe Diem did most everything right Saturday. He settled in fourth after the opening quarter-mile, advanced into second to tackle pacesetter Conquest Tsunami down the backstretch, and then drew away in the lane under urging from John Velazquez. He raced 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.38, paying $6.80 as the favorite.

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Mr. Z, a 16-1 longshot, rallied to grab second, and although no threat to the winner, was well clear of the others, finishing 5 3/4 lengths ahead of third-place Bold Conquest.

Carpe Diem managed this tour-de-force despite having made just one prior start, a win going 5 1/2 furlongs at Saratoga on Sept. 1. But this inexperience didn’t show during the running, with Carpe Diem extending his advantage at every call from the top of the stretch to the wire.

Velazquez chose not to restrain his mount when Carpe Diem began to pick up his pace after exiting the first turn of the race.

“He got in the bridle and I didn’t want to fight him,” he said. “After that, it was all him.”

The winner, a 2-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway out of the stakes-winning mare Rebridled Dreams, took home a $300,000 payday in winning the Breeders’ Futurity. He is owned by WinStar Farm and Stonestreet Stables and trained by Todd Pletcher.

The Breeders’ Futurity, sponsored by Claiborne Farm, served as a Win and You’re In prep for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, leaving Carpe Diem with an entry- and expense-paid berth in the Juvenile.