Photo: Four Footed Fotos
field of 16 has been entered for the 1 1/16 mile Dixiana
over the Keeneland Polytrack. Now, before you start whining about
the poly, remember that it's been around long enough for you to have
meaningful stats and you should be used to it by now. If the horses
gotta deal with it, so do you. Let's take a look at some of those
stats to figure out which colts have the best chance. Maybe we'll
find a logical long-shot or two along the way.
(Harlan's Holiday - Intensify, by Unbridled's Song) (8-1) was
cross-entered in the Champagne. He draws the rail at Keeneland and
the far outside at Belmont. The Harlan's Holiday colt hasn't raced
over poly, but he does have a good pedigree for the surface. Plus
his sire was second in this race in 2001. Add his front running
style and the golden rail and we have a recipe for a winner. Last
year Joha wired the field from the #1 post to the tune of a $19.40
S Ranger - Galileo's Star, by Lil E. Tee) (6-1) is proven on
Polytrack and showed class in the Arlington Washington Futurity with
a 5 ½ length win. But – there's always a but – the last horse to
win both the AW Futurity and the Dixiana Breeders' Futurity was
Wicked Style in 2007. Remember him? No, I don't either. We have to
go back to 1993 to find the previous colt to pull off the double.
Catalano wins with 16% shippers and this colt has been firing bullets
like a machine gun. I'll be a sucker and add Solitary Ranger to the
Causeway - J'ray, by Distant View) (5-1) won the Shakopee Juvenile
Stakes at Colonial as his initial victory. Not a bad start. This
Spring, any horse by Giant's Causeway or trained by Mike Maker was an
automatic bet. This colt has a wonderful mix of stamina and miler
speed in his pedigree. He has a lot of European influences throughout
his distaff line, and 1993 BC Mile winner Kotashaan is a distant
relative. Plus General Jack's dam was a multiple graded stakes
winner up to 1 1/8 miles over the lawn. The $400,000 question is “can
he run on the poly?” I'm willing to bet he can.
- Miner's Secret, by Mineshaft) (6-1) was an easy winner of the
Swynford at Woodbine in his last start. He's another one with a
stamina pedigree perfect for dirt and the Classics. He showed
improvement from his first to second start and trainer Mark Casse
hits with 75% of his two year olds at Keeneland. The drawback? The
last horse to hit the board in the Swynford and Futurity was Graeme
Hall in 1999.
Image - April Gator, by Green Alligator) (50-1) has hit the board in
all except one start in his five race career. He's by a superior
polysire and is a a ¾ brother to the stakes winning veteran mare
Fascinatin' Rhythm. His speed figures have improved in every start.
So why is he 50-1? Presque Isle Downs is a “B” rated track and
he hasn't faced classier, yada yada. He finished second in the Fitz
Dixon, Jr. Memorial, beaten 1 ¼ lengths. The last horse to win that
race and the Futurity? Noble's Promise in 2009, so it can be done.
He's returning after only 9 days rest, but at 50-1, I'm willing to
toss a few dollars on Ready for Action.
Miss Artie (Artie
Schiller - Athena's Gift, by Fusaichi Pegasus) (8-1) ran out of steam
in the With Anticipation Stakes after traveling three wide on the
turns. This will be his first try over polytrack and it could be a
winning move. He has a solid polypedigree and a half sibling has
shown proficiency over the surface. Plus, it's Pletcher and Johnny V.
Oh, and the Ramsey's own this one.
(Sky Mesa - Golden Damsel, by Gold Token) (4-1) has an average
polypedigree. Sky Mesa may get poly runners at other tracks, but not
here. This spring his runners were 1-7, but to be fair 2 others were
in the money. Kendall's Boy's breezes at Keeneland aren't as good
as those at Churchill. He may not be that fast, either. He won his
6F maiden in an average 1:12, and in his debut, Kendall's Boy was
bested by over 2 lengths by Champagne entrant Havana. Trainer Tom
Amoss has an 11% win rate at Keeneland, but switches from usual rider
Rosie Napravnick to Garret Gomez. Will this give Kendall's Boy an
advantage and can he emulate his sire's 2002 victory in the race? Eh.
On A Hill(Student
Council - My Meggie Meg, by French Deputy) (20-1) has a poor
polypedigree. Yes, he worked a 5F bullet over the main track at
Arlington, but 1:00 flat is pretty average. After winning his maiden
at a mile on the turf in a yawn-inducing 1:40 4/5, he was simply
outrun in the Summer Stakes at Woodbine. One half sibling won over
the poly, a few struggled over the turf, and the rest preferred dirt.
I'm willing to bet he does too. Pass.
Pass - Lil's Lassie, by Lil's Lad) (30-1) his Brisnet speed figures
are improving and if this race was over the dirt, I'd be excited
about his chances. The pretty gray colt set steady fractions in the
first half of the Iroquois Stakes, made a game effort, but was
clearly bullied by the third place finisher and finished fifth. The
distance might be at the top of his limitations, plus, War Pass is an
average/poor polysire, although he did get a winner at the Spring
Keeneland meet. Laddie Boy's works here in the spring weren't too
bad and the trainer/jock duo of Peery and Castanon score at 20%.
Intriguing, but I'll regretfully pass.
Moon - Quiet Weekend, by Quiet American) (8-1) has the kind of
bloodlines to get pedigree geeks excited about the Triple Crown. He's
one of the rare Malibu Moon babies that won his maiden at Del Mar.
Unfortunately, he embarrassed himself in the Del Mar Futurity,
finishing third last. Not sure why O'Neil is shipping him to
Keeneland instead of running in the Frontrunner lat week. Malibu
Moon, like his sire A.P. Indy, isn't that great a polysire.
Additionally, Rum Point's speed figures have declined in every race.
He adds blinkers, but he'll need more help than that. I'll keep him
on the list of possibles for next year's races, but for now I'll
(Tiznow - Papa to Kinzie, by Boston Harbor) (8-1) has a great name.
Great two-turn pedigree too. Not so great polytrack breeding. This
Spring, Tiznow offspring went 0-7 over the surface. Also, shippers
from Saratoga are 0-6 this year. Pass.
bias: The Dixiana Breeders' Futurity has been contested over
Polytrack since 2006. In that time, four pacesetters or pressers have
won. Two mid-pack runners have been successful and only one deep
closer has scored.
Intense Holiday (8-1)
General Jack (5-1)
Solitary Ranger (6-1)
Ready for Action (50-1) – long-shot pick
We Miss Artie (8-1) – if any of the above are scratched.