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ELMONT, NY – Team Valor International and Gary Barber’s Bright Devil makes his North American debut against 10 American-bred rivals in Sunday’s $100,000 Futurity Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park.
The winner of the Futurity will receive an automatic position in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) 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 6-furlong dash over the outer turf course restricted to 2-year-old horses. The 2020 edition attracted 11 colts and geldings.
Let’s look at the full field:
#1 Sky’s Not Falling – The Larry Johnson homebred broke his maiden at first asking for trainer Mike Trombetta in a 5-furlong dirt dash at Delaware Park, then finished third in both the Hansel Stakes (on the Colonial Downs dirt) and the Skidmore Stakes (at Saratoga on turf). He was most recently second, beaten 3/4 of a length, in the Ontario Racing Stakes (Woodbine turf) last time out.
#2 After Five – The Maryland-bred son of The Factor is still a maiden but only by a nose, which was his margin of defeat in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight at Kentucky Downs. While he must deal with facing that race’s winner again here, he stands as good a chance as anyone in the field if he makes any logical improvement in his second career start.
#3 Second of July – He broke his maiden on debut over this course and distance on September 20, stalking the early pace before fighting gamely in the stretch to win by 3/4 of a length and spring the massive 68/1 upset. The Bryan Hilliard homebred’s sire, Jack Milton, was a 3-time graded stakes winner, all when going 1 mile on turf.
#4 Newbomb – Despite this Speightstown colt’s maiden status, Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher sends him off to try his hand against graded stakes rivals and will have another Hall of Famer, John Velazquez, in the irons for the first time. He finished third as the 2/1 favorite in his lone prior start, a 6-furlong dash at Saratoga, so the surface change could lead to improvement.
#5 Kentucky Knight – The first of two Main Track Only entries is still a maiden after finishing off the board in his first 2 career starts. Trainer Amira Chichakly thought enough of his talent to debut him in the 5 1/2-furlong Skidmore Stakes at Saratoga in August, where he finished fifth, but he was last of eight in a maiden special weight over this course and distance last month.
#6 Nutsie – The second of two Main Track Only entries, his connections supplemented him into the field hoping that the week-long rain, forecast to begin late Sunday night, starts earlier than expected. His sire, Exaggerator, won 4 graded stakes (3 at the Grade 1 level) on wet dirt tracks, but Nutsie also showed that he could handle fast dirt when he won his debut.
#7 Bright Devil – Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse sends his recently-acquired Irish-bred colt here for his North American debut after winning 1 of 3 starts in England. He broke his maiden on debut in a 6-furlong turf sprint, then finished sixth in the Chesham Stakes at the prestigious Royal Ascot meet and ninth in the Bet365 Superlative Stakes (G2) at Newmarket.
#8 County Final – Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen has already saddled this Oxbow colt to victory twice in his young career, including an off-turf edition of the Tyro Stakes 2 starts back. He broke his maiden on debut while going 1 mile on the Churchill Downs lawn and was most recently fourth in the Bal a Bali Juvenile Turf Sprint Stakes over a very soft Kentucky Downs grass course.
#9 Momos – He broke his maiden on debut in a 5 1/2-furlong dirt dash at Saratoga and was a well-beaten third in the Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) last time out. The winner, Jackie’s Warrior, next won the Hopeful Stakes (G1) and is the 3/5 favorite in Saturday’s Champagne Stakes (G1), a “Win and You’re In” for the TVG Juvenile Presented by the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.
#10 Trade Deal – After finishing second on debut in a 5-furlong turf dash at Indiana Grand, he used that racing experience to hold off After Five’s strong rally and break his maiden in the aforementioned Kentucky Downs sprint. The Ken and Sarah Ramsey homebred is a son of Fed Biz, who raced in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) in 2012, 2013, and 2014.
#11 Gypsy King – His connections supplemented the first-time gelding despite finishing fifth in the 1-mile More Than Ready Juvenile Stakes at Kentucky Downs. The third Wesley Ward-trained entry (along with After Five and Trade Deal), he broke his maiden at third asking in a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint at Ellis Park in August and should appreciate cutting back in distance here.
The Futurity serves as race 7 and is one of 2 stakes on the Sunday card at Belmont Park, along with the Matron (G3). The Futurity is the final American-based Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” event of 2020. The World Championships will be held November 6 and 7 at Keeneland.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is presented by America’s Best Racing.
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