08/27/2009 11:00PM

Pair of maiden winners top Futurity

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COLUMBUS, Neb. - Maiden winners Brand Forty Four and Five Oclock Shadow face a field comprised mostly of first-time starters in the $15,000 Columbus Futurity on Sunday. The six-furlong futurity is for 2-year-old Nebraska-breds.

Brand Forty Four was a six-length winner of a maiden race on Aug. 9 over a muddy track and is the likely favorite in the field of 10 for trainer Erin McCord. Brand Forty Four was able to take advantage of the off conditions that day, which resulted in the remainder of the card being canceled due to the unsafe track conditions. He raced close to the pace, then drew off under hand urging. Apprentice Ashley Dill again has the mount.

Five Oclock Shadow won his maiden here Aug. 2 for trainer David Anderson. He returned in the Club House Special on Aug. 16, where he made a run at the leaders into the far turn but faded in the stretch to finish sixth as the 8-5 favorite. Damon Leeds has the mount.

Babyjake's On Time, trained by Kim Veerhusen, was third in the maiden race won by Brand Forty Four and may also bear watching. He made a move to contention through the far turn that day but then lugged in and out through the lane while finishing third. A straighter trip and Babyjake's On Time could loom a danger through the stretch this time around.

The field also includes the maiden Sweet Violet plus first-time starters Sam Diego, Go Getta, Mister Friendly, Indian Flame, Sign Me Up, and Shawklit Gater. Go Getta and Mister Friendly race as a coupled entry for trainer Kelli Martinez.