Sharp Maiden WInners Step Up For Futurity, Matron
By New York Racing Association
ELMONT, N.Y. – New York will present its first 2011 graded stakes for juveniles this Sunday, with six colts and geldings lined up for the Grade 2, $150,000 Futurity and seven fillies set to head postward in the Grade 2, $150,000 Matron at Belmont Park.
The Futurity and Matron, former fixtures on the Belmont Park fall meet stakes schedule, return for the first time since being placed on hiatus in 2010. The distances for both races have been reduced from seven to six furlongs.
Trainer Dale Romans has elected to send Tarpy’s Goal from Churchill Downs to Belmont for the Futurity, carded as Sunday’s fourth race. In his lone start, Tarpy’s Goal stalked the pace in fourth, made a three-wide move on the turn, and drove clear to a 2 ¾-length victory in a Churchill maiden event on May 19.
“He ran a big race, and I thought he’d be a talented colt,” said Romans, who trains the High Cotton colt for Mike Tarp. “You don’t know what you’ll catch in these races, but I thought he could win first time out. He certainly seemed like the type that could.”
Tarpy’s Goal, scheduled to leave Churchill Downs Thursday evening, was made the 2-1 morning-line favorite for the Futurity. Javier Castellano will ride from post 5.
Kirk P. Sheehan’s Getupwiththesun boasts the highest lifetime Beyer speed figure among the Futurity entrants, an 86 for his 8 ¼-length maiden victory at Pimlico on May 12. Previously, he had finished second by 6 ¼ lengths in the slop at Pimlico on April 16.
“I was surprised he didn’t win [his debut race],” said trainer Robert Leaf. “I was pretty disappointed. It was a sloppy racetrack, and he started playing around. The second time, on a dry track, he was all business.”
Getupwiththesun’s dominant score in his second start came as no surprise to Leaf.
“I broke the horse myself, and I knew 2-3 weeks into breaking him that he was a nice horse,” said Leaf. “I didn’t know he was fast, but I knew he was a nice horse. I never asked him to run until I put a jockey on him [for workouts], which is when he started showing his turn of foot.”
Getupwiththesun, the 3-1 morning-line second choice, will leave from post 6 with Rajiv Maragh in the irons.
Tarpy’s Goal and Getupwiththesun will be joined by Large Kaufy and Team Six, who enter Sunday’s race off easy debut victories outside New York; Threeanddonedan, fourth in the Victoria at Woodbine on June 18 after breaking his maiden at Pimlico; and Jack’s in the Deck, second at Delaware in his lone previous effort.
The Matron, carded as the eighth race, features Long Lake Stables’ Born Bullish, who will be making her second start in nine days, having come from just off the pace to debut a nine-length winner at Belmont on June 24.
“Her debut was perfect, and she’s obviously doing very well for us to enter her,” said trainer John Terranova. “She’s dictating this, not us. Everything has been perfect since that race, and we think she is a nice filly.”
Born Bullish, who became the most expensive juvenile by Flashy Bull to sell at public auction when she was acquired for $185,000 at the OBS March Selected Sale, drew post 2 as the 3-1 morning-line second selection. Eddie Castro will ride.
Roland Reeley’s Defy Gravity enters the Matron off two starts at Pimlico, having finished third by two lengths after setting the pace on April 15 and shadowing the early leader in second and kicking away in the stretch to prevail by six lengths on May 8.
Trainer Valora Testerman accepted responsibility for Defy Gravity’s debut loss, saying she told jockey Wesley Ho to send the filly to the lead, even though she suspected the daughter of Bandini would be more comfortable racing off the pace.
“Her form seems to suggest she likes to come from off the pace,” said Testerman. “In workouts, she had liked to sit beside horses for a while. She’s a small filly, but she makes up for it with her presence.”
Defy Gravity, the 2-1 top choice on the morning line, drew post 6 and will once again have the services of Ho.
The Matron field also includes debut winners Millionreasonswhy and Hook It Up, Say a Novena, who broke her maiden by three lengths at Monmouth Park on June 12 in her second start, and Good Looking Girl and Dancing Anna, an uncoupled entry from the barn of John Robb.