09/30/2010 2:43PM

Hysterical Cat gets new rider in New York Breeders' Futurity


Will a jockey change to one of trainer Todd Pletcher’s go-to riders help Hysterical Cat turn the tables on Bug Juice?

That’s the question handicappers must answer when they try to predict the outcome of Saturday’s $282,925 New York Breeders’ Futurity at Finger Lakes.

On Labor Day, Hysterical Cat was bet down to 1-2 favoritism in the six-furlong Aspirant, the same distance as the Breeders’ Futurity, the richest race on the Finger Lakes stakes schedule. But Bug Juice, ridden by John Davila Jr., was quickest of all leaving the gate and romped by seven lengths at 3-1 odds. Hysterical Cat settled for third, beaten 8 1/4 lengths.

Pletcher, who won last year’s Futurity with Ibboyee and the 1997 edition with Mellow Roll, is replacing Daniel Centeno with David Cohen. Over the last year, Cohen is 36 for 113 (32 percent) riding for Pletcher, including 7 for 17 (41 percent) in ungraded stakes, according to DRF ’s Formulator.

The field of seven New York-bred 2-year-olds also includes Eminent Tale, who won his career debut at Saratoga, and Pin Number, runner-up to Bug Juice in the Aspirant.

Eminent Tale ships in for trainer Rick Dutrow, who won the 2007 Futurity with By the Light. The 81 Beyer Speed Figure that Eminent Tale earned isn’t too far from the 88 that Bug Juice was awarded for his Aspirant victory, especially considering that many young horses improve greatly from their first to their second start.

Pin Number did well to get second in the Aspirant after bobbling at the start and falling 7 1/2 lengths behind at the first call. A front-runner in his only other start, Pin Number displayed high speed when he earned a best-of-31 bullet for a half-mile breeze in 48 seconds on Sept. 24 at Belmont Park.