Updated on 09/16/2011 8:15AM

Whywhywhy's Futurity is now

Email

ELMONT, N.Y. - New York's road to the Breeders' Cup for 2-year-olds begins in earnest on Sunday at Belmont Park with a pair of Grade 1 races, the $200,000 Futurity and $200,000 Matron.

The Futurity and Matron, along with the Grade 1 Champagne and Grade 1 Frizette on Oct. 5, are New York's most important preps for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies, which will be run at Arlington Park on Oct. 26.

The Futurity, a mile race for colts and geldings, and its filly counterpart, the Matron, were not run in 2001 when racing was canceled in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The Futurity has drawn a strong field of seven, including Flash and Sanford winner Whywhywhy and Sapling winner Valid Video.

Adding depth to the Futurity is Hopeful runner-up Pretty Wild and Silver Squire, who makes his stakes debut after two strong races.

Each of the Futurity runners is stretching out to a mile for the first time, so the race will provide some clues as to which horses will be best equipped to tackle the 1 1/8-mile Breeders' Cup Juvenile. A forecast for rain could aid off-track winners Silver Squire, Valid Video, and Atfirst Blush.

Whywhywhy, co-owned by Fabien Ouaki and trainer Patrick Biancone, is the likely Futurity favorite. Biancone also trains another top 2-year-old, Zavata, who is being pointed to the Champagne.

Biancone toyed with the idea of entering the speedy Le Notre as a rabbit for Whywhywhy, but decided against it when entries were drawn Friday morning.

Whywhywhy, who remained in Saratoga to train after the meet closed, last ran in the Grade 2 Sanford on July 25. Whywhywhy, who was pinched at the start and lost some early ground in the six-furlong Sanford, powered home a 2 3/4-length winner. Before the Sanford, Whywhywhy, a Mr. Greeley colt, was an easy winner of the Grade 3 Flash at Belmont on June 7 over a wet-fast track.

Biancone is confident heading into the Futurity.

"I don't think the mile is much of a problem," he said. "From what I've seen in his works and previous races, I think it will be even better for him. We are all in the same situation, anyway. Since his last race, he has grown and has more muscle. If we repeat the Sanford, we should be good."

Edgar Prado rides Whywhy-why, who drew post 4.

The main speed is Valid Video, a son of Valid Wager who is 2 for 2 after winning the Grade 3 Sapling by 2 1/4 lengths at Monmouth on Aug. 10. Valid Video, trained by Dennis Manning, blazed through an opening quarter in 21.39 seconds in the six-furlong Sapling after being bumped at the start.

Manning believes Valid Video can carry his speed.

"The pedigree says we can't get him around two turns," Manning said. "Personally, I think he will. The Futurity will tell us a lot even though it's a one-turn mile."

Jorge Chavez rides Valid Video, who drew post 3.

Silver Squire makes his stakes debut after finishing first in a maiden race and a first-level allowance race, both at Saratoga. Silver Squire, trained by John Kimmel, was disqualified in the allowance race for lugging in the stretch and was placed second.

"I have a lot of confidence in him because he runs like an old horse," said Silver Squire's rider, Richard Migliore. "He wants to please and do everything you want him to do. He's really intelligent."

Trainer Bob Baffert, armed with several high-powered juveniles, shipped Truckle Feature here from California. Bought earlier this year for $500,000 at auction, Truckle Feature won a seven-furlong maiden race by a head at Del Mar on Aug. 17.

The Futurity, race nine on a 10-race program, will be televised on CNBC at 4:30 p.m. Eastern. The Matron, race six, will be shown on ESPN at 3 p.m. Eastern.

for entries.

:: Subscribers: to purchase Belmont past performances.

:: Non-subscribers: to purchase Belmont past performances.