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2023 Futurity Stakes Preview & FREE Picks | Book’em Danno Tries Grass In Juvenile Turf Sprint Prep
Book’em Danno (Equi-Photo / Bill Denver)

2023 Futurity Stakes Preview & FREE Picks | Book’em Danno Tries Grass In Juvenile Turf Sprint Prep

Magic previews the 2023 Futurity Stakes (G3) from Belmont at the Big A, then gives his top picks & long shots from this “Win & You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.

Can Book’em Danno – already a stakes winner on turf – take to the grass when he tries his hand against this deep group of runners? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!

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The press release:

Atlantic Six Racing’s stakes winner Book’em Danno will make his turf debut in Sunday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Futurity, a six-furlong outer turf test for juveniles, at Belmont at the Big A.

The Futurity, slated as Race 5 on the nine-race card, offers an automatic berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint to be contested at five furlongs on November 3 at Santa Anita Park. The final “Win and You’re In” of the meet is part of a stacked Sunday lineup that includes the Grade 2, $250,000 Beldame, the Grade 3, $150,000 Matron and the rescheduled Grade 3, $150,000 Noble Damsel.

First post is 12:35 p.m. Eastern.


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The New Jersey-bred Book’em Danno, trained by Derek Ryan, has made a pair of starts over the main track at Monmouth Park, graduating by 9 1/2-lengths against fellow state-breds on debut on August 12 after overcoming a bump at the break that saw jockey Samuel Marin briefly lose his iron. The Bucchero gelding quickly recovered and swept to the front with a three-wide move at the top of the lane and was ridden through the wire in a final time of 1:04.77 for 5 1/2-furlongs.

“I didn’t expect him to win as easily as he did – I don’t crank them to win first time out – but good horses will win on their own anyway,” Ryan said.

He followed with a professional effort versus open company in the six-furlong Smoke Glacken, stalking the pace in a four-wide position before taking command at the top of the lane and drawing off to win by two lengths over Sea Streak, who exited that effort to win an open maiden special weight here last week. Book’em Danno garnered a field-best 88 Beyer Speed Figure for his impressive stakes debut.

“He won that stake pretty comfortable and he’s going to move up off of that,” Ryan said. “The more racing we get under him, the better he’s going to get.”

Book’em Danno has breezed back twice over the dirt training track at Belmont Park, including a half-mile in 49.63 seconds Sunday under Jose Ortiz, who picks up the mount from the outermost post 8.

“Jose was really happy with him,” Ryan said. “He’s a cool horse. I get him on him every day myself. He was at the gate to school this morning and trained good. He’s doing good.”

Although Book’em Danno, a half-sibling to multiple dirt stakes-winner Girl Trouble, has yet to breeze over the turf, Ryan said he is confident the dark bay will handle the surface as his sire, Bucchero, won back-to-back editions of the Grade 2 Woodford sprinting 5 1/2-furlongs over the Keeneland green in 2017-18. In addition, his unraced Ghostzapper dam, Adorabella, is a half-sister to two turf winners.

“He’s got a lot of turf pedigree by Bucchero and out of a Ghostzapper mare. There’s a lot of turf in his family,” Ryan said.

R. A. Hill Stable’s Please Advise [post 2, Junior Alvarado] will make his fourth consecutive stakes appearance for trainer George Weaver.

The Palace Malice bay graduated in his June 22 debut sprinting five furlongs over firm Belmont turf, scoring by 1 1/2-lengths in a key race that runner-up Noted – who later won the main track Sapling at Monmouth – and third-place Dark Vintage exited to win next out.

Please Advise finished a distant fourth to his victorious stablemate No Nay Mets in the Tyro in July at Monmouth and was fifth in the Soaring Free in August at Woodbine. He enters from a rallying third in the $500,000 Juvenile Sprint traveling 6 1/2-furlongs on September 13 at Kentucky Downs.

With Jose Lezcano up from the inside post, Please Advise was pushed towards the fence by returning rival Jimmythetooth at the break and raced from last-of-9 through the early going. He recovered nicely and rallied five-wide down the lane to finish 2 1/4-lengths back of the victorious Vote No.

“He ran a really good race last time,” Weaver said. “We got a bad start when the horse to the outside of us in that race wiped us out and put us in an unfavorable position. I think he would have had a good chance to win if the first 30 yards went a little bit differently.”

Please Advise is out of the graded stakes-placed War Chant mare Amansara, who is a half-sister to graded stakes-winners Christine’s Outlaw and Marastani as well as the graded stakes-placed Crimson Classic and stakes-winner Foret Noire.

Michael Dubb’s New York homebred Jimmythetooth [post 6, Manny Franco] graduated at third asking sprinting 5 1/2-furlongs in a state-bred sprint conducted over firm footing on July 27 at Saratoga Race Course.

With Tyler Gaffalione aboard for trainer Mike Maker, the World of Trouble colt showed the way through splits of 22.35 and 45.61, edging away to a 3 1/4-length score in a final time of 1:03.14. He followed with a rallying fourth in the aforementioned Juvenile Sprint, landing a neck back of Please Advise.

Jimmythetooth, a half-sibling to stakes-winner Apple Picker, is out of the Yes It’s True mare Silent Fright, who is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes-winner Grand Adventure – Canada’s Champion Grass Horse in 2010.

Works for Me [post 4, Flavien Prat], a New York-homebred for KatieRich Stables, Christopher Connors and Lawrence Appel, will make his turf debut from a distant fourth-place finish in the Spa’s state-bred Funny Cide presented by Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital on August 27.

The Daddy Long Legs colt debuted in the care of conditioner Daniel Leitch with a narrow three-quarter-length defeat when third in open company on May 18 at Churchill Downs, pressing the pace of gate-to-wire winner Wilson Q, who exited that effort to run second in the Bashford Manor. The runner-up of that event, Gold Sweep, returned to win the Tremont at Belmont and is entered in Saturday’s Grade 1 Champagne here; while sixth-place Rhyme Schemes graduated next out at Ellis Park en route to a win in the Grade 2 Herb Moelis Memorial Saratoga Special.

Works for Me was then transferred to his current conditioner, Joseph Lee, and sent to post as the odds-on favorite next out sprinting five furlongs against fellow state-breds over Big Sandy. There, he overcame a stumbled start to take command at the five-sixteenths and opened up 4 1/2-lengths at the stretch call. He edged clear while in hand to a 2 1/2-length win in a final time of 58.76.

The chestnut has breezed back three times since the Funny Cide, including a bullet half-mile in 48 flat on September 29 over Saratoga’s Oklahoma training turf.

Rounding out a competitive field are maiden winners Where’s Chris [post 1, Isaac Castillo] for trainer Rick Dutrow, Jr., the Christophe Clement-trained Apollo Ten [post 7, Joel Rosario] and Ruddy Buddy [post 5, Mario Fuentes], who adds blinkers for conditioner Robert Werneth; along with the maiden Lamorna [post 3, Katie Davis] for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.