10/05/2005 11:00PM

Post 12 puts Laity in tricky spot


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Three of the 21 winners of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile made their previous start in the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity. When the Grade 1, $500,000 is run Saturday at Keeneland, though, it is unlikely the winner will have enough to become the fourth horse to achieve the feat. After all, the Champagne Stakes at Belmont, also Saturday, drew an extraordinary amount of talent, and it clearly is the premier prep for the BC Juvenile.

Still, that doesn't necessarily mean the Breeders' Futurity is weak or unexciting. With a full field of 14 largely unknown but promising 2-year-olds, the race is a veritable handicapper's delight. Complicating an already complex picture is the No. 12 post position assigned to one of the logical favorites, Laity, a Claiborne Farm homebred who won the Cradle Stakes by nearly 12 lengths in his last start.

Trainer Frank Brothers said earlier this week that he believes Laity has the ability to crash the top echelon of his division, but that further improvement would have to come. Corey Lanerie, who rode Laity in the Cradle at River Downs, has the daunting assignment of getting his mount to overcome the tough post Saturday.

Besides Laity, other plausible contenders in the 1 1/16-mile race include Cool Creek, Greater Fool, Stream Cat, and High Cotton.

Cool Creek (post 3) has a certain "Wilko" look to him, having raced extensively in England before shipping across the Atlantic for a major stakes engagement. Cool Creek, trained by Richard Hannon, will get Lasix for the first time Saturday, when he makes his ninth career start. Last year, Wilko was an unheralded winner of the BC Juvenile in his 11th start.

Greater Fool (post 4), trained by Rick Violette, and High Cotton (post 7), trained by Todd Pletcher, both ship in from New York off powerful maiden victories.

Stream Cat (post 5), a winner of the With Anticipation on the Saratoga turf and the Kentucky Cup Juvenile over Turfway Park's Polytrack surface, is out to prove uncommon versatility Saturday. "We know he's a stakes horse on the turf and on Polytrack," said trainer Patrick Biancone. "Now we'll see how good he is on the dirt."

One would-be contender is Kid Lemonade (post 13), trained by Tim Ritchey of Afleet Alex fame. Kid Lemonade has been cross-entered in the Dover Stakes at his home base, Delaware Park, and in the Champagne at Belmont. Ritchey also cross-entered Menacing (post 8), a runaway winner of his lone career start, in the same three stakes.

The rest of the field is Special Interest, Sharp Attack, Catcominatcha, Charley Tango, Rungius, Dawn of War, and Reaffirmed.

The Breeders' Futurity, which was first run at Keeneland in 1938, has been won by a litany of top 2-year-olds, including those three BC Juvenile winners: Tasso (1985), Boston Harbor (1996), and Favorite Trick (1997).

Like all 1 1/16-mile dirt races at Keeneland, the Breeders' Futurity begins and ends at what otherwise is the sixteenth pole.

The field

Lane's End Breeders' Futurity
Purse: $500,000, 1 1/16 miles; Grade 1

1Special InterestM. Smith50-1
2Sharp AttackE. Prado10-1
3Cool CreekR. Hughes20-1
4Greater FoolS. Bridgmohan15-1
5Stream CatK. Fallon9-2
6CatcominatchaR. Bejarano10-1
7High CottonR. Albarado7-2
8MenacingJ. Rose30-1
9Charley TangoM. Guidry10-1
10RungiusJ. Castanon15-1
11Dawn of WarJ. Jacinto15-1
12LaityC. Lanerie4-1
13Kid LemonadeJ. McKee 12-1
14ReaffirmedA. Gryder30-1

* All starters carry 121 pounds
* Odds by Kristin Sadler
* Television: Saturday, 4:30-6 p.m. (Eastern), NBC