FARMINGTON, N.Y. – A field of seven 2-year-old New York-breds representing some of the top stables in the country are set to face off in the 61st running of the $161,547 New York Breeders’ Futurity on Monday at Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack (FLGR).
Trust Fund, from the barn of Todd Pletcher; Tall Paul, trained by Bob Baffert; Whatchatalkinabout, from the Wesley Ward stable; and Mischief Joke for trainer Mike Maker headline the six-furlong sprint. The Futurity is scheduled as the eighth race on the nine-race card, with first-race post time set for 1:15 p.m.
The talented assembly of 2-year-olds drew many of the country’s best jockeys to Finger Lakes to ride in the race. Irad Oritz Jr., Jose Ortiz, Joel Rosario, Manny Franco, Kendrick Carmouche and Katie Davis are making the trip to Farmington.
Throughout the years, some top New York-bred runners launched their stakes careers in the Futurity, including the legendary Say Florida Sandy in 1996 enroute to career earnings of $2,085,408, and the great filly Proud Puppy in 1988. She earned $407,543 during her career.
This year’s renewal of the Futurity brings together two of the top three finishers from the $99,388 Aspirant Stakes, an annual prep for the Breeders’ Futurity.
Trust Fund and Tall Paul were involved in the three-horse blanket finish in the Sept. 25 stake that was won by Canigetaloan. The rivals are two of the main contenders in the Monday feature.
Trust Fund hails from the Pletcher barn. The Hall of Fame trainer has won the Futurity three times, including twice with horses who prepped for the race by winning the Aspirant.
Beaten by just a head in the Aspirant despite racing widest around the turn, the son of Practical Joke will retain the services of jockey Jose Ortiz, who is currently fourth in the nation in purse earnings.
Trust Fund has made three lifetime starts, including his maiden victory at Saratoga in his career debut and a sixth-place finish in the $200,000 Funny Cide at Saratoga. He was a $150,000 yearling purchase at the Fasig-Tipton New York Bred yearling sale.
Tall Paul, favored at even money in the Aspirant, will be making his fourth start. The Baffert trainee finished a head behind Trust Fund in that race and had the worst of the trips, taking it right to early leader Antonio of Venice and then fighting gamely right down to the wire.
The Frosted colt was a $475,000 purchase at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s March sale by longtime Baffert clients Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, the latter for whom the colt is named.
Like Trust Fund, Tall Paul broke his maiden against state-breds on Aug. 12 at Saratoga.
Irad Ortiz Jr. is listed to ride. Ortiz is currently the nation’s leading jockey in wins with 307 and purse earnings with $29,872,239.
The 2-1 morning-line favorite is Whatchatalkinabout. Third in his most recent start, the Funny Cide for New York-breds, the son Dialed In will enter the starting gate as a first-time gelding.
The Ward trainee was an $82,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October Yearling sale.
Jockey Joel Rosario, 2021 Eclipse Award-winning rider and winner of more than 3,500 career races, will make his first-ever appearance at Finger Lakes. Rosario is currently ranked sixth in the nation in purse earnings.
The other rider from the current top 10 standings who will compete in the Futurity is Manny Franco, who knows a little about winning the race.
Franco, ninth in the standings, won the Futurity in 2021 with Senbei and in 2022 aboard Acoustic Ave. Both were trained by Christophe Clement. He rides Mischief Joke for Maker on Monday.
In addition to the Futurity, Racing Secretary Jerry Richards has also carded the annual renewal of the Leon Reed Memorial Stakes as the third race. The six-furlong sprint for older New York-breds has a purse of $50,000.
Flying Emperor is the 2-1 morning-line favorite for Reed Memorial, which is named in honor of the former FLGR employee who tragically passed away in a starting gate accident in 2005. The 2-1 program choice will be under the direction of Emanuel De Diego.
Emanuel De Diego will ride the 6-year-old gelding for trainer James Wright. Flying Emperor has defined consistency at his home track, finishing first or second in 21 of his 22 starts at FLGR.
Andre Worrie, the track’s leading rider in 2022, is set to return to competitive action on Monday. Worrie has missed the last nine weeks with an arm fracture. He is listed to ride Started With Stars in the first race.
Complimentary Finger Lakes programs for Monday and all Finger Lakes cards can be downloaded at https://www.equibase.com/content/CustomPPs/FingerLakes/FingerLakes0925.pdf.
There will also be a promotion on Monday with Daily Racing Form where the Finger Lakes on-line DRF past performances can be accessed at no charge.
About Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack: In operation since 1962, the facility added gaming to its offering in 2004 and expanded again in 2013 by adding 33,000 square feet with a $12 million expansion. FLGR is highlighted by over 1,100 gaming machines, the 448-seat Buffet, Remedy Bar & Lounge, as well as live and simulcast thoroughbred racing. Gaming doors open at 8 a.m. and racing doors open at 11:30 a.m. daily. For more information, visit www.fingerlakesgaming.com.