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Pedigree Handicapping the Breeders' Futurity

Solitary Ranger 615 X 400
Photo: Four Footed Fotos
 
A field of 16 has been entered for the 1 1/16 mile Dixiana Breeders' Futurity 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.

CONTENDERS:
Intense Holiday (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 win payout.

Solitary Ranger(U 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 mix.

General Jack(Giant's 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.

Conquest Titan(Birdstone - 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.

Ready for Action(Ready's 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.

We 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.

PRETENDERS:
Kendall's Boy (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.

School 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.

Laddie Boy(War 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.

Rum Point (Malibu 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 pass.

Tiznowforamerica (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.

Smarty's Echo (15-1) Arctic Slope (15-1), Pontos (50-1), Medal Count (20-1) and Oogeley Eye (30-1) appear up against it.


SELECTIONS:
Track 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.

#1 Intense Holiday (8-1)
#7 General Jack (5-1)
#6 Solitary Ranger (6-1)
#11 Ready for Action (50-1) – long-shot pick
#12 We Miss Artie (8-1) – if any of the above are scratched.

 

What the Nation is saying about Pedigree Handicapping the Breeders' Futurity...

I have yelled sample error for years
and that's why we call it handicapping! Your post about population vs single entity, there's the whole problem with the Nicking tools. Nicks are only worth noting if the sire has runners from the mares of the broodmare sire. OR, if he is a new sire, his 1st tail sire from the broodmare sire. True Nicks uses "X" sire and his sons and grandsons and "Y" broodmare sire and his sons/grandsons" how vague can you get?? Yet they charge big bucks for this "pedigree tool." Travel_Vic...pass me the genetic dice, will ya?
a horse's PERFORMANCE versus antother PERFORMANCE is one of the only rational ways to ascribe dominance of one having a shot and another not having one.
correlaation was is and never will be causation...BIG difference in population versus single entity genetics....Projection is will nigh impossible when the number of NEGATIVE resutls froom the same breeding are actually factored into the mix
Thanks for the compliment CauseForConcern. Normally, I do consider a sire's previous history with a surface in makng an assessment. However in Student Counciil's case, he has only two winners in the last year over synthetics. 1 maiden winner in England over Poly and a mdn. winner over the Tapeta at GG. School has been cross-entered in the Bouron for Sunday, which may suit him better.
Thanks for the compliment CauseForConcern. Normally, I do consider a sire's previous history with a surface in makng an assessment. However in Student Counciil's case, he has only two winners in the last year over synthetics. 1 maiden winner in England over Poly and a mdn. winner over the Tapeta at GG. School has been cross-entered in the Bouron for Sunday, which may suit him better.
Nice article, Laurie. I have a question for you. I am not astute in the pedigree area, but you considered School on a Hill as having poor polypedigree. I knew that his sire, Student Council, possibly won at first asking on polytrack, when he shipped from Churchill to Del Mar, and won the Pacific Classic on synthetic @ 24-1. When you refer to polypedigree, would you not give credit to a sire, as in this case, of possibly having this ability, and possibly passing it on? Thanks, again, for a nice article.
General Jack looks promising, and Ready for Action is definitely a worthy longshot pick.
Solitary Ranger for me!

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