Not all awesome two-year old horses end up at the Breeders' Cup, but that doesn't mean the ones who don't go end up being useless in terms of the Triple Crown. The Futurity Stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday is an undercard race for two-year olds, but this is the first shot for a lot of ponies to make a great first impression for their three-year old seasons.
1: King Kranz 4/1
2: Annual Report 6/1
3: Legend Keeper 12/1
4: Ready Dancer 2/1
5: Manhattan Dan 5/1
6: Full Salute 5/2
With only six in this field, you'd like to think that there would be a colt who would stand out from the rest. In this case though, with so many horses who haven't raced a ton, it's tough to make predictions. Ready Dancer is the favorite of the bunch at 2 to 1, but Full Salute isn't far behind him at 5 to 2. The only colt who the oddsmakers don't think has much of a shot is Legend Keeper, who is the longshot at 12 to 1.
FAVORITE TO FOLLOW
Full Salute is certainly an interesting second choice. He hasn't run in a graded stakes race in his career, and he hasn't run at a big track like Belmont Park. That said, he has one very important number on his side: 99. That was Full Salute's Beyer Speed Rating in his last run at the Hall Of Fame Stakes last month at Parx Casino.
Full Salute is going to be a frontrunner for sure in this race, and the fact that he has gotten used to running at slightly longer distances plays into his hands here at six furlongs. There isn't much competition in this field in terms of getting out to the head of the pack in a hurry, and though Full Salute is on the outside, the small field should suit him well.
UNDERDOG TO WATCH
Godolphin Racing owns a ton of top-flight ponies. Annual Report isn't looked upon as a top-of-the-line racer at this point but he hasn't shown us any massive flaws at this point. He was heavily bet on in his debut maiden race at Parx Casino, and he went off the board as a 3 to 2 favorite.
Ultimately, Annual Report won by 5 1/4 lengths, albeit against a weak field. This is a major step up in class for sure, but Joe Bravo runs him as well as he did a few weeks back in his maiden offering, this could end up being a great price on a colt who might be a lot better than anyone knows at the moment.
ANALYSIS AND PREDICTION
These short races at Belmont Park always end up favoring the horses on the rail, and that's why it has to be tempting to take King Kranz and Annual Report almost relatively blindly.
Annual Report has the better speed of the colts anywhere near him, and he should certainly get the prime position early on before hitting the first turn. Though we're certainly worried that he isn't the only pony who can run this six furlongs in a blur, we think there's less going against Annual Report than anyone else in the field.
Back him up with Ready Dancer and Full Salute, and you've got yourself a potential really nice payday on a trifecta.
Play Annual Report to win the Futurity Stakes
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