ELMONT, N.Y. – WinStar Farm and China Horse Club’s Theory proved he was back in full force Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park, posting a 3 ½-length victory in the 126th running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Futurity for 2-year-olds at six furlongs.
Settling in second early under Javier Castellano, Theory tracked an early pace set by Moves Like Ali, who led the field of five through an opening quarter-mile in 22.62 seconds and the half in 45.35. The Todd Pletcher-trained Theory drew alongside the leader in the middle of the turn and shook clear at the eighth pole to secure his first stakes victory.
“He’s a classy horse, you can put him wherever you want,” Castellano said. “He broke well out of the gate and just took it from there. I loved the way he did it, he does everything with such class. He was composed in the post parade. I think you can stretch him out, he’ll appreciate going long.”
A $335,000 2-year-old-in-training purchase from the freshman crop of Gemologist, the Kentucky-bred colt turned heads with his 5 ½-length maiden-breaking victory on July 30 at Saratoga Race Course. Theory was under strong consideration for the Grade 1 Hopeful on September 5 when a subpar breeze on August 20 prompted a turnout at WinStar Farm in Versailles, Ky., to recover from a foot bruise before returning to Pletcher’s Belmont base in mid-September.
Making his first start in 11 weeks, the overwhelming 1-5 favorite returned $2.70 for a $2 win wager. Theory completed six furlongs in 1:09.91 before galloping out well ahead of his rivals.
“Anytime you’re a prohibitive favorite like that you always want things to go well,” said Pletcher. “[He] broke alertly, put himself in a good spot and Javier gave him a little chance to get his feet underneath him and looked like when he called him he finished up strongly. He was pretty clear, flicked his ears and galloped out strongly.
“It was everything we hoped it could be,” he continued. “He’s a very good-minded horse. He’s got a great disposition and he’s not head strong in any way. I anticipated he would rate fine and I wasn’t surprised that he did. The way he ran today [and] the way he finished, I think, gives us a lot of options.”
Pletcher noted that one of the options for Theory could the Grade 1, $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on November 5 at Santa Anita Park.
“Today with the way he ran, the way he galloped out and came back, I think we at least have to sit down and have that discussion,” Pletcher said.
Star Empire closed late for second, a length ahead of Moves Like Ali. The Walk and Reckling completed the order of finish.
Futurity (G3) Quotes
Todd Pletcher, winning trainer of Theory (No. 2): “Anytime you’re a prohibitive favorite like that, you always want things to go well. He broke alertly, put himself in a good spot and Javier gave him a little chance to get his feet underneath him and looked like when he called him, he finished up strongly.”
“He was pretty clear, flicked his ears and galloped out strongly. We thought with the 1-horse [Moves Like Ali] having speed and drawing the one, that he would probably go. We didn’t want to get stuck in a three-horse speed duel. In those situations, you just talk about possible scenarios, and then Javier has just got play it off the break. It was everything we hoped it could be.”
“He’s a very good-minded horse. He’s got a great disposition and he’ not headstrong in any way. I anticipated he would rate fine and I wasn’t surprised that he did. The way he ran today, the way he finished, I think gives us a lot of options.”
On possibly going on the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile: “Today, with the way he ran, the way he galloped out and came back, I think we at least have to sit down and have that discussion.”
Javier Castellano, winning jockey aboard Theory (No. 2): “He’s a classy horse, you can put him wherever you want. He broke well out of the gate and just took it from there.”
“I loved the way he did, he does everything with such class. He was composed in the post parade. I think you can stretch him out, he’ll appreciate going long. I rode his father, [2012 Wood Memorial winner] Gemologist, so I enjoyed riding him.”
Double Pick 6 carryover of $28,724 for Sunday at Belmont Park
ELMONT, N.Y. – The Pick 6 eluded bettors for the second consecutive day on Saturday at Belmont Park, triggering a two-day carryover of $28,724 into Sunday’s card.
Saturday’s Pick 6 began with Peculiar Sensation’s ($11.60) win in Race 4, followed by Kenyan ($7.20) in Race 5 and Plainview ($14.20) reaching the wire first in Race 6. Favorite Stonecoldfox ($3.20) took Race 7 and upsetting Race 8 was Thundering Sky ($33.80) with Space Oddity ($7.30) closing out the sequence in the finale.
A consolation prize to bettors with five of six winners returned $683.
Sunday’s Pick 6 gets underway with the fourth race, the 110th running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Matron for juvenile fillies at six furlongs with an approximate post time of 2:34 p.m. and runs through Race 9. Live racing at Belmont will commence on Sunday with a first-race post time of 12:55 p.m. Get the picks!
Wagering on the Pick 6 is available through NYRA Bets as well as in simulcast facilities across the country.