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ELMONT, NY – Bryan Hilliard homebred Second of July sprung his second big upset from as many career starts in Sunday’s $100,000 Futurity Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park.
The Futurity is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Second of July receiving an automatic berth in the Juvenile Turf Sprint at Keeneland this November.
Second of July broke a step slow from post 3 under Dylan Davis and lingered at the rear, ahead of just Bright Devil.
Tipped out to run four-wide at the top of the stretch, Second of July fought gamely to get past his rivals in mid-stretch and take the lead.
Digging deep late to fend off After Five, the Phil Gleaves-trained Second of July crossed a 1/2-length the best while completing the 6-furlong firm outer turf sprint in 1:09.33.
“I knew he was very fit and sharp and doing good, so I knew he would run his race, but I just wasn’t sure if it was going to be good enough, but it turned out to be,” Gleaves said. “I was happy to see he had so much horse coming around the turn, and at that point, I knew we were going to run well. He just wore them down. Dylan does such a great job.”
After Five, the 2/1 favorite in the field of seven 2-year-olds, was unable to close on the winner and settled for second by a 1/2 over the early pacesetter Momos.
County Final, Gypsy King, Trade Deal, and Bright Devil completed the order of finish.
Sky’s Not Falling and Newbomb were scratched. Kentucky Knight and Nutsie were Main Track Only entries.
Second of July’s win backed up his maiden-breaking debut at 68/1 odds over this course and distance on September 20. The Jack Milton gelding has now earned $89,650.
“The first time out, he was pretty green about everything,” Davis said. “Today, he was very professional and I hope he will be third time out. He was a lot better with the gate and the pony and the whole race scenario. He was a lot better for me. First time out, there were some heavy hitters and that’s why he was a longshot. He ran great that day and he ran well again today. He was moving up in class and we were asking a lot of him. Phil did a great job getting him here.”
Second of July returned $33 to win, $10.80 to place, and $6 to show. After Five brought back $3.90 to place and $2.90 to show, while Momos paid $3.70 to show.
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