Wednesday's grade I, $250,000 Del Mar Futurity will crown a leader of California's 2-year-old division and offer the winner a guaranteed berth into the November 5 Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs. Under the enhanced conditions of the Breeders' Cup Challenge, the Del Mar Futurity winner will have his $60,000 in entry fees into the Juvenile paid for and the winning connections will be awarded a $10,000 travel allowance, provided their horse is nominated to the Breeders' Cup program by October 24.
The seven-furlong Futurity brings together a mixed bag of eight runners, with stakes winners MAJESTIC CITY and CREATIVE CAUSE taking on impressive Del Mar maiden winners GUN BOAT, SHEER TALENT and DRILL.
Bloom Racing Stable's Majestic City is undefeated in three starts for trainer Peter Miller and will make his first start since winning the grade III Hollywood Juvenile Championship July 17 at Hollywood Park. The son of City Zip wired a maiden race at Hollywood in May and the minor Willard Proctor there in June before coming from slightly off the pace to win the Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes. Majestic City has gone from four and a half furlongs in his first start to six furlongs in the Juvenile Championship and while Miller doesn't think the progression Wednesday will be an issue he knows it will need to be proven on the track.
2011 Breeders' Cup betting from Churchill Downs at OffTrackBetting.com
"The way he won the Hollywood Futurity, really finished up strong the last sixteenth of a mile and galloped out and the way he's training, I think the seven-eighths is definitely within his scope," Miller said. "But as is the question with all these young horses, you never know until they actually do it."
Heinz Steinmann's Creative Cause is undefeated in two starts for trainer Mike Harrington and could go favored in the Futurity. The son of Giant's Causeway won his career debut at Hollywood Park July 16 and then ventured straight into stakes company to win Del Mar's grade II Best Pal August 7. Creative Cause showed his readiness for the Futurity by working six furlongs in company in 1:12.20 September 3 at Del Mar. George Bolton and Fog City Stable's Gun Boat impressed onlookers when he won his debut at Del Mar August 6 for trainer Bob Baffert. The son of Congrats dueled on the lead from the inside and refused to yield while winning by a head and has plenty of upside as he makes his second start.
Linds Halsey, K.B. Sareen and Priscilla Webb's Sheer Talent came from slightly off the pace to win his debut July 30 at Del Mar for trainer Dan Hendricks. The son of Wildcat Heir settled in fourth before drawing off late for the half-length win in what was considered one of Del Mar's deeper maiden fields of the meet.
Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman's Drill put it together in his second start for Baffert, when he survived a rough start to post a rail-skimming neck win August 13 at Del Mar. The son of Lawyer Ron added blinkers after running a disappointing eighth in his debut July 30 and should only get better as the furlongs stretch out. Drill is the only starter in the race not currently nominated to the Breeders' Cup.
Desert Sun Stable's CORSA DI CAVALLI, who won his debut in a maiden-claimer at the meet for trainer John Sadler; Zillah Reddam's BASMATI, who has finished in the money in all three career starts but yet to win for trainer Doug O'Neill and Aldrich, Hanna and Lebherz's MIGHTY MONSOON, a well-beaten third in the Best Pal for trainer Jeff Bonde round out the field for the Del Mar Futurity.
The Del Mar Futurity is the second of five automatic qualifiers in the Juvenile Division. On Monday, Currency Swap gained a "Win and You're In" by capturing the Three Chimneys Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga Race Track.