12/13/2015 2:41PM

Road to the Derby analysis: Breeders' Futurity

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Keeneland/Coady Photography
Brody's Cause wins the Breeders' Futurity by a length Oct. 3 at Keeneland.

Grade 1, $500,000 Breeders’ Futurity, 1 1/16 miles, Keeneland, Oct. 3, 2015
(10 Derby qualifying points for a win, 4 for second, 2 for third, 1 for fourth)

Winner: Brody’s Cause (sire: Giant's Causeway)
Trainer: Dale Romans
Jockey: Corey Lanerie
Owner: Albaugh Family Stable
Beyer Speed Figure: 88

This was a key prep for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile four weeks later as it was run at the same distance and the same track as the championship event for the division. BRODY’S CAUSE stamped himself as a legitimate contender for the BC Juvenile by rallying from well back with a terrific stretch kick, the abrupt stretch run to the early finish line proving no bother.

Brody’s Cause had no early speed and was 10th in the 11-horse field around the first turn while saving ground. He inched closer down the backstretch while still at the back of the field, was angled to the four path on the far turn to commence his rally, and made an extended, three-furlong run to swoop past his rivals and reel in EXAGGERATOR in the final yards to win going away. He now is 2 for 2 on dirt.

Exaggerator, who finished second, was shuffled back just a bit heading into the first turn but wound up in a ground-saving position along the rail just behind the early leaders. He continued to save ground on the far turn and showed good acceleration when a seam developed near the quarter pole. He split SHEIKH OF SHEIKHS and RATED R SUPERSTAR in upper stretch and kicked away but could not hold off the late charge of Brody’s Cause in his first try around two turns and beyond 6 1/2 furlongs.

Rated R Superstar, who was third, used his rail draw to show speed and press the early pace of Sheikh of Sheikhs. He was out-footed initially on the far turn by Sheikh of Sheikhs and was taken off the rail to try to re-rally. He got even with Sheikh of Sheikhs just as Exaggerator knifed between them, could not keep up with Exaggerator in upper stretch, and was no match for Brody’s Cause late. He was rated in his prior start, his first around two turns, after showing good speed in sprints in his first two races, so it seems his connections still are trying to figure out what style works best for him. Regardless, he never has finished out of the money.

STICKSSTATELYDUDE, who was fourth, didn’t break alertly but got into gear, cut between horses on the first turn, and secured a good stalking position while three paths wide around the first turn and into the backstretch. He remained three paths wide on the far turn and went evenly the rest of the way in his first try around two turns. He’s kind of one-paced, but he acts like a colt who will not find longer distances a hindrance.

UNCLE VINNY, who was fifth, hopped leaving the gate and wound up three paths wide near the back of the pack around the first turn. He raced between horses for much of the backstretch, got to the rail on the far turn, was guided to the middle of the track after straightening away in the lane, and made up some ground but never was a threat.

Sheikh of Sheikhs, who faded to sixth, was fastest away from the gate and set a lively pace of 23.41 seconds for the quarter, 47.33 for a half-mile, and 1:11.66 for six furlongs. He found a second wind entering the far turn and suddenly opened daylight on his rivals but was out of gas soon after entering the lane and yielded. He has a sprint pedigree, and that likely will be his future, but he showed some flashes of quality here despite splitting the field.

THREEFIVEINDIA, who was seventh, broke very sharply and settled into a stalking position while outside runners about three or four paths off the rail around the first turn. He was yanked farther back, kept wide down the backstretch, forcing him to race about four paths wide on the far turn, and never mustered a rally.

UNCLE JERRY, who wound up eighth, broke sluggishly and was last heading into the first turn. He was kept wide while under a tight hold at the rear of the pack down the backstretch, showed little, but passed some tired rivals through the stretch.

GAMETOWN, who was ninth, was ideally placed in third in the clear behind the two leaders around the first turn and into the backstretch. He checked slightly nearing the far turn, was asked to keep up, but was done by the quarter pole and was not persevered with through the lane.

PINNACLE PEAK, who was 10th, was caught about four or five paths wide heading into the first turn, raced between horses while wide down the backstretch, was outrun beginning about three furlongs from the wire, and was taken hold of by the rider soon after entering the stretch.

WILD MAN, who was last of 11, didn’t leave alertly but was cleverly guided to the rail to save ground around the first turn. He inched closer and was about a length behind Exaggerator with about a half-mile to go but began a steady fade shortly thereafter.