Updated on 09/17/2011 11:25AM

Cuvee scores his third stakes win

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Cuvee ($4.60) wins by 8 1/4 lengths in Sunday's Grade 1 $200,000 Futurity at Belmont Park.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Cuvee put in his third dominant performance in a graded stakes this year and established himself as a major contender for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile by rolling to an 8 1-4-length victory over Value Plus in Sunday's Grade 1, $200,000 at Belmont Park.

Cuvee, who is now 4 for 5 lifetime, added the Futurity to authoritative victories in the Grade 3 Kentucky Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs in May, and the Grade 2 Saratoga Special in August. Cuvee's only loss came in the Grade 2 Bashford Manor, when he endured a brutal trip while finishing third behind Limehouse.

"We're very pleased with his race today," said Steve Asmussen, who trains Cuvee for the partnership of Ron Winchell and Spendthrift Farm. "He won going a mile and he looked as brilliant today as he did at Saratoga on a different track, it matters."

In the Saratoga Special, Cuvee broke running and led every step of the way in winning by 7 1-2 lengths. On Sunday, Cuvee sat off the pace-setting Flushing Meadows for the first half-mile, took over approaching the three-furlong marker and widened his lead without feeling jockey Jerry Bailey's whip.

Cuvee, a son of Carson City, covered the mile in 1:35.75 over a track rated fast, but one that did absorb moisture from mid-day showers.

"When he did make the lead he threw his years up and waited on me to really ask him for all he had," Bailey said.

Asmussen said Cuvee would be pointed straight to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Oct. 25 at Santa Anita. Cuvee will remain in New York until October, when he will ship to Asmussen's Kentucky stable to have his final workouts before shipping to California the week of the Breeders' Cup.

Value Plus, an impressive maiden winner at Saratoga, broke last under John Velazquez, made a strong middle move to get within 1 1-4 lengths of Cuvee at the quarter pole, but flattened out in the stretch. He was second by 5 1-4 lengths over El Prado Rob.

"He gave a significant head start to a very nice seasoned horse," said Todd Pletcher, trainer of Value Plus. "He made up a lot of ground, made a big middle move and just flattened out, that's when inexperience can cost you. I thought all and all he ran a very credible race and should improve for the run."

Value Plus will be pointed to the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland on Oct. 4.