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LEXINGTON, KY – After a smashing debut win at Saratoga this summer, the Steve Asmussen-trained Calibrate is seeking his second straight score in Saturday’s Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland.
The winner of the Breeders’ Futurity will receive an automatic position in the $2 million TVG Juvenile Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (G1) this fall at Keeneland. Pre-entry and entry fees will be paid and a nominator award of $10,000 will be given to the nominating person. Also, all Breeders’ Cup starters based outside of the state of Kentucky will receive a travel allowance of $10,000 if based in North America and $40,000 if based Internationally.
The Futurity is a 1 1/16-mile dirt route restricted to 2-year-olds, with the 2020 edition attracting 9 young up-and-comers.
Let’s look at the full field:
#1 Super Stock – After winning the Texas Thoroughbred Futurity 2 starts back at Lone Star Park, he moved up in class and finished a solid third in the Iroquois Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs. The Dialed In colt has just 1 victory on his resume, but he has a major experience edge over the rest of the runners and has improved his Beyer Speed Figures with every start.
#2 Upstriker – This Upstart colt has just 1 start under his belt, a dominating 5-length maiden special weight score at Ellis Park. He’s put forth solid workouts at Churchill Downs since then, so it looks like his form is holding nicely coming into this next challenge. His high talent ceiling could overcome his lack of experience.
#3 Notary – The D. Wayne Lukas trainee broke his maiden in a 1-mile Ellis Park event 2 starts back, then most recently finished a well-beaten sixth in the Iroquois. Lukas is known for taking shots in big races with his 2-year-olds, something that’s paid off for him many times in the past. His 20 career Breeders’ Cup wins are most of any trainer.
#4 Essential Quality – Red-hot trainer Brad Cox saddled this colt to a dominating maiden special weight score on debut last time out at Churchill Downs. The Godolphin homebred produced a series of consistent works after that impressive effort, indicating that he’s coming into this event in fine form.
#5 Keepmeinmind – We’ll see if this maiden can pull off the upset after finishing second on debut last time out in a maiden special weight at Churchill Downs. Despite breaking awkwardly in that spot, he still made a nice rally down the lane. The extra distance here should only help his chances.
#6 Dixie’s Two Stents – This maiden ships in from California for trainer Doug O’Neill after nearly winning his debut at Del Mar, losing by a head in a hard-fought battle. His next start in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) saw him finish a well-beaten sixth behind some of the best juveniles on the west coast, but O’Neill reunites with Rafael Bejarano; the two hit at 18% together in 2019.
#7 Calibrate – When it comes to debut victories on the Saratoga dirt this past summer, Calibrate’s was one of the best. He broke sharply and took the lead right out of the gate, then cruised home to an impressive 4 1/2-length triumph. Hall of Famer Asmussen’s top rider, Ricardo Santana Jr., will have the mount once again.
#8 Founder – Trainer Chad Brown sends this Upstart colt to Keeneland after a nice debut maiden special weight win at Saratoga earlier this summer. Despite starting slow and dropping well behind early, Founder showed a solid late turn of foot to win by a neck. He’s best known for his work with turf horses, but Brown won the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile with Good Magic.
#9 King Fury – This son of elite sire Curlin will attempt to make it 2 straight after winning his debut at Churchill Downs. That victory came at this same distance and he has a tremendous two-turn pedigree, so if he can overcome this wide draw, then he should have a good chance to give trainer Kenny McPeek his third title in this event and first since 2009.
The Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity serves as race 9 and is one of 5 stakes on the Saturday card at Keeneland, including 3 additional Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” races. A total of 11 qualifying events will be held Friday through Sunday between Keeneland, Belmont Park, and Pimlico.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is presented by America’s Best Racing.
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