09/27/2012 1:43PM

Finger Lakes: In Harm’s Way looms a threat in Breeders’ Futurity

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Tom Cooley Photography
Tequila Hero’s victory in the Aspirant was the first win of his career.

The top five finishers from the $125,000 Aspirant three weeks ago, led by the 24-1 winner Tequila Hero, are back in quest of the richest purse of the season at Finger Lakes on Saturday. But it’s newcomer In Harm’s Way who looks like the most dangerous runner in a field of 11 New York-bred 2-year-olds for the $247,338 New York Breeders’ Futurity.

In Harm’s Way earned an 80 Beyer Speed Figure – by far the highest number in Saturday’s field – for his 4 3/4-length win over maidens at Belmont Park in mid-July. He got a respectable 74 Beyer when he jumped up to Grade 2 company and stretched out to 6 1/2 furlongs while finishing third in the Saratoga Special. Edgar Prado comes along from downstate to retain the mount.

In contrast, Tequila Hero, beaten 18 3/4 lengths in his first two starts, earned a modest 57 Beyer Figure for his off-the-pace three-quarter-length victory in the Aspirant. It was the first win of his career.

The horse who looks most likely to improve coming out of the Aspirant is Saint Arthur. He broke slowly as the 9-5 favorite, rushed up to grab the lead after a half-mile, and then weakened to finish third, beaten two lengths. A clean break may be all he needs to improve dramatically.

Saint Arthur’s trainer Carlos Martin will also saddle Comandante. Although he is still a maiden, Comandante posted Beyers of 62 and 65 in two starts at Saratoga, numbers that stamp him a contender in this group.

West Hills Giant went long on turf in both his starts, but merits respect while switching surfaces and cutting back to six furlongs. His trainer, John Terranova, shows a 4-for-12 record (33 percent) and a $3.52 return on investment with horses moving from routes to sprints and from turf to dirt.

◗ Madam I’m Adam, winner of a $50,700 maiden claiming event at Belmont two weeks ago, and Copywriter, who won his first start on dirt locally on Sept. 13, are the fastest pair in the $50,000 Curlin for New York-bred 2-year-old colts and geldings going six furlongs.

◗ Matchmadeinheaven, who got up by a neck at 17-1 in her career debut in the Lady Finger, figures to be a heavy favorite against 10 other New York-bred 2-year-old fillies in the $51,100, six-furlong Rachel Alexandra.