09/29/2011 12:04PM

Finger Lakes: Pletcher and Levine send out good ones in N.Y. Breeders' Futurity


High-percentage trainers Todd Pletcher and Bruce Levine have taken turns winning the past two runnings of the New York Breeders’ Futurity, and they send out prominent contenders again in Saturday’s $260,876 running of the Futurity, the richest race of the season at Finger Lakes.

Pletcher, who won the 2009 Futurity with Ibboyee, looks imposing in Saturday’s six-furlong sprint for New York-breds with his unbeaten colt Zow.

A full brother to 2010 Futurity runner-up Hysterical Cat, Zow has delivered as the odds-on favorite in his first two starts. He won his career debut at Belmont Park on July 1 by two lengths, then returned two months later to capture the $75,000 Gold and Roses Stakes at Saratoga by three-quarters of a length.

Overall, Pletcher has a five-year record of 4 for 8 shipping to Finger Lakes for stakes.

Zow, who drew the rail, will be ridden for the first time by Elvis Trujillo.

Levine will counter with the promising maiden Jaw Crusher. He missed by a neck in his career debut at Saratoga, then endured a troubled trip to finish fourth, though beaten just 1 1/4 lengths by Zow, in the Gold and Roses.

Levine, whose horse Bug Juice romped by 10 lengths in last year’s Futurity, will add blinkers to Jaw Crusher’s equipment and bring along Kent Desormeaux to ride the colt for the first time. Levine is 4 for 9 in stakes at Finger Lakes over the past five seasons.

The viable alternative to the two logical favorites is Bay Park Boy, who has captured both of his starts, both over wet surfaces. Formerly trained by Pletcher, Bay Park Boy will be making his first start for Eddie Kenneally.

While with Pletcher, Bay Park Boy cruised to a 4 3/4-length win over maidens at Saratoga, earning an 88 Beyer Speed Figure that is nine points higher than the next-best figure in Saturday’s field, and then followed up by coming from off the pace to take the Aspirant at Finger Lakes by two lengths, albeit with a modest 64 Beyer.

The field also includes the filly Shot Gun Pennie, winner of the Lady Finger on Labor Day with a Beyer only four points below the number earned by Bay Park Boy, and Smokem’s Charm, who though a maiden after three starts was second to Bay Park Boy, beaten two lengths, in the Aspirant.