Breeder’s Futurity at Keeneland, betting picks and analysis

Sam G

The second Grade 1 race broadcast live on NBC today is a route for 2 years old horses, some of which will be on their way to the 2019 Kentucky Derby.

A route test for young horses is always a leap of faith because many are untested on long distances and the horses’ class is still in doubt.

With so much uncertainty, you can strike a nice payday of you are clever and lucky.

Adding to the betting interest is the fact that many watchers will be relative newcomers as well to the horse racing sport and we can therefore expect good value in the betting pools.

Analysis and picks for the Claiborne Breeder’s Futurity race at Keeneland on October 6 2018:

Number 1, SIGNALMAN first raced in May but failed to win and was stopped for a few months, probably to get some more schooling. He returned to the track last month and won a hard-fought race, demonstrating that he has some early speed and heart. Since, he shows some very good workouts and will actually get Lasix for the first time (which generally improves a horse). SIGNALMAN does not have the greatest pedigree and he did not impress immensely in his first two starts but the addition of Lasix can do miracles and he has some early speed to be well placed throughout.

Number 2 SOMBEYAY was on the inside throughout in his last race and the rail was probably the best place to be that day. The fact that SOMBEYAY was not able to gain ground on his opposition in the stretch is therefore of concern. In terms of pedigree, SOBEYAY does not have a ton of class on the dam side but his sire is well known for producing good young route runners. The workouts since the last race are tepid and I did not like that performance so I don’t think that SOMBEYAY is much of a contender today.

Number 3, FLUMINENSE works for a top trainer whose barn is in form and the past performances of that horse are interesting. He broke his maiden with some speed on the dirt and was moved to turf this summer where he disappointed, albeit on a slow track. Maybe FLUMINENSE does not like turf and coming back to the hard surface might do wonders for him? He has some very good workouts and a young horse can progress a ton in a few months so FLUMINENSE could surprise at interesting odds.

Number 4, UNIONIZER is only one of three horses in this field with a win over a mile and that bodes well for his chances today as his stamina is proven. The speed figure he attained in that win was pretty poor however and UNIONIZER might have trouble keeping up with the pace early which could hurt him. With a lesser pedigree than most and these question marks, I think that UNIONIZER is a pass today.

Number 5 DREAM MAKER was parked outside throughout his last race on a day when the inside was probably better so maybe there was some excuse there. Since that beat, he has been working out impressively so he could rebound.  The pace should favor horses coming from behind and that can help him today too. DREAM MAKER has an impressive pedigree with a great sire and a full sister (same dam) who reached 96 on the Beyer speed figure charts. If you are willing to pardon him for his poor race last out and trust that his great pedigree will kick in, DREAM MAKER is a good bet…

Number 6, EVERFAST tried on this distance 3 weeks ago and did not do well at all against lesser opposition so today might be tougher yet. In terms of pedigree, EVERFAST is a step behind against this field too so there is no real reason to believe that he can best them today.

Number 7, KNICKS GO got beat soundly in his last race by a couple of horses, including one that went on to win a stakes race of lesser class in a time that would not be enough for today’s class level. All these words to say that KNICKS GO should not be able to beat today’s opposition considering who he got beat by last month.

Number 8, TOBACCO ROAD raced very wide in his last race on day when almost all winners worked the rail so that performance was maybe better than it appears. TOBACCO ROAD is working for a barn with good recent success, but the workouts are a bit worrying. Still, there is no denying that TOBACCO ROAD has an impressive pedigree and if indeed he got a bit unlucky the last time, he could come in at interesting odds today.

Number 9, MOONSTER just broke his maiden on a mile and that’s a plus in his column considering that most horses in the field are unproven on longer distances. His speed figure in the race was not bad but he might have been helped by track bias. Add to that a pedigree that leaves to be desired and a tendency to speed to the front and you have a horse that should be beat today.

Number 10, MR. ANKENY broke his maiden on third try but with a nice-looking speed figure which is sure to attract a lot of betting money. He actually beat a horse who went on to win in a good time too so that speed figure was well deserved apparently. The workouts since that win are impressive so it looks like MR. ANKENY has something more to offer. The issue I see is that early speed from the outside post position on the Keeneland track should be pretty detrimental and therefore I think that MR. ANKENY will not be able to go the distance today.

Number 11, BORRACHO also broke his maiden on the third try but in a slower time than the neighbour and BORRACHO was well placed on the rail throughout so it does not look like he deserved a better speed figure for that performance. That win was on a route race, which is good, and BORRACHO has a pretty good sire though the class of the dam is not so great. A surprise is always possible but BORRACHO seems outmatched here.

Number 12, DERBY DATE had a rough start in his last race against many in the field and that might have killed his chanced as DERBY DATE seems to prefer going for the lead. He has some good workouts since and a decent pedigree but that early speed with an outside post position should not help him at all today and therefore I don’t think he has a shot.

Number 13, MIND CONTROL surprised going all the way against may horses in this field last month, but he might have been helped by a track bias in that race. MIND CONTROL does have some good workouts since so probably retained his form, but he starts from an outside post position this time and that early speed of his might therefore be more curse than blessing today. MIND CONTROL is the only Grade 1 winner in the field and many will bet on that basis, but I think that the conditions are against him today and he is a beatable favorite. UPDATE: MIND CONTROL HAS BEEN SCRATCHED

Number 14, STANDARD DEVIATION comes to Keeneland fresh of a maiden win almost 2 months ago but that’s a move that has worked for his star trainer in the past. The running style was perfect for today’s contest too so that’s certainly a plus. Based on the very short resume, good but not great pedigree and the poor post position, I think that STANDARD DEVIATION would be a surprise for the win, a place is not impossible though.


UPDATE 3:30pm : The favorite MIND CONTROL has been scratched and that removes an early speed element from the race. The pace will likely be a bit softer as a result and that should advantage DREAM MAKER further, as staying close to the lead should be helpful for the win. The overall conclusions of the analysis still hold but DREAM MAKER is now a stronger choice than the possible longshots.

It will be a stamina test for most of these young horses and with developing bodies, surprises are very likely. I think that the morning line odds favourite is in trouble and that the winner will come from behind in the stretch. It is of course a pretty open race, so the best bets are in the exotics in my view.

DREAM MAKER should be in a perfect position to strike and he has the bloodline to do it. The last race was probably unlucky, and he can come back with a win today.

Aside from him, I think that a few longshots have a good chance in this one.

TOBACCO ROAD also was unlucky in his last start and he trains with a top barn, so he could do well today at a nice price.

STANDARD DEVIATION is one of the very lightly raced horses but his trainer is killing it this year and recently, so we might see him become a proven winner today.

FLUMINENSE is also working for an in-form barn and he is coming back to dirt racing so disregarding his last poor performance might be wise and if he has progressed since his win on dirt, he can be a threat at long odds today.


Exacta box 5 – 8 – 14 – 3

Trifecta box 5 – 8 – 14 – 3

Superfecta box 5 – 8 – 14 – 3

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