Updated on 09/16/2011 9:15AM

Futurity field: Everybody wants in


AUBURN, Wash. - Will it be the Filly Futurity?

Sunday's $100,000 Gottstein Futurity at 1 1/16 miles was supposed to feature the sixth and final meeting of Knightsbridge Road and Bub, the preeminent juveniles on the grounds, but that showdown will have to wait.

Knightsbridge Road was declared out of the race at midweek when a fever he contracted Tuesday failed to subside, while Bub, who won his third stakes race of the season in the one-mile WTBA Lads on Aug. 24, will be entered but may not run.

"It's nip and tuck," said trainer Bud Klokstad. "He had a little problem after his last race and missed a lot of training. He's fine now, but he hasn't worked. It's not that he's not fit. He doesn't have an ounce of body fat on him. It's just that I'll have to gallop him into this race, and that's not the way I like to do it. I probably won't make a final decision about running him until race day."

The defection of Knightsbridge Road and the doubtful status of Bub have emboldened the connections of other promising 2-year-olds, who are expected to enter the Futurity in droves. The Futurity hopefuls include at least four fillies, topped by the second- and third-place finishers in the one-mile Barbara Shinpoch Stakes on Aug. 24. Steve Bullock saddledtrains Shinpoch runner-up Valour Road, whom he is looking forward to running again on Sunday.

Bullock noted that Valour Road, who is by Honour and Glory, had both been off for well over a month before the Shinpoch, and that she had prepped for the race by working seven furlongs in company with eventual Shinpoch winner Calldara in 1:31. Valour Road will be coming back in three weeks for the Futurity, and she drilled seven furlongs in 1:27 with Calldara last Sunday.

"Valour Road should be better prepared," he said. "She had only raced three times before the Shinpoch, and she had never been beyond 5 1/2 furlongs. I've always been high on her."

The third finisher in the Shinpoch was Bisbee's Prospect, who was favored at 7-10 off a sensational debut win over maiden special weight company.

Bisbee's Prospect, a half-sister to multiple stakes winner Taste the Passion by Smart Strike, flattened out after looming a bold threat at the quarter pole, but it turned out she had a convincing excuse.

"She flipped her palate and couldn't breathe," said trainer Bob McMeans. "I was really disappointed because I honestly thought she'd win for fun, but when I got to her she was gasping for breath and I understood why she didn't run better."

McMeans said Bisbee's Prospect may eventually benefit from surgery, but for now he is making do with less invasive measures to ensure the problem doesn't arise again in the Futurity.

"We'll make some adjustments to her tongue tie, and we'll also make sure the rider doesn't take such a big hold on her that he pulls her head down," said the trainer. "That was what we did when we worked her last Sunday, and everything went well. They caught her in 1:13.20 for six furlongs, but she actually worked seven furlongs and galloped out 1 1/16 miles very strongly. Hopefully, she is ready to show her stuff."

o Prospects for a 2003 racing season at Playfair have dimmed considerably since Las Vegas businessman Eric Nelson told the Washington Horse Racing Commission of his plans to resuscitate the Spokane track last May. Nelson has been unable to reach a contract agreement with the Organization for the Preservation of Horse Racing in the Northwest, which represents eastern Washington horsemen. The organization's members rejected Nelson's latest contract proposal last month, and negotiations appear stalled.

An agreement with the horsemen is the last missing ingredient in Nelson's application for a license to operate Playfair, which is scheduled to receive a hearing before the commission in Spokane during the week of Oct. 21. It is unclear whether a license can be granted without a contract agreement in place.

o Racing secretary Jerry Kohls has released a schedule of 27 stakes worth $339,715 for the 80-day Portland Meadows meeting that starts Oct. 19. Heading the schedule are the $25,015 Os West Oregon Futurity at a mile on Dec. 14, the $25,000 Oregon Derby at nine furlongs on April 13, and the $35,000 Portland Meadows Mile on closing day, April 27.

o Klokstad said Flying Notes, who nearly equaled the world record for

1 1/8 miles while winning the Sept. 2 Emerald Downs Derby, shipped out for Bay Meadows on Friday. Klokstad said Flying Notes's next race has not been determined.

o Top Bracket, an impressive winner of last Sunday's Belle Roberts Handicap, has been nominated for the $150,000 California Cup Matron at Oak Tree on Nov. 2, according to trainer Bill Tollett.

o Former Emerald Downs leading rider Frank Gonsalves is back home in Auburn after a successful campaign at Arapahoe Park in Denver, where he topped the standings with 44 wins at the meeting, which ended Sept. 2. Gonsalves said he will take a brief vacation before resuming riding at Turf Paradise, which begins Sept. 27.

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