Leonard C. Green and Jonathan Green's Another Miracle headlines a talented field of six juveniles assembled for Sunday's Grade 3, $150,000 Futurity, a six furlong Widener turf sprint at Belmont Park.
Day two of the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Racing Festival will see three Breeders' Cup spots on the line with the Futurity offering an expenses-paid spot in the Juvenile Turf Sprint, while the Grade 1, $500,000 Flower Bowl and the Grade 1, $400,000 Frizette will award the winners an all-fees-paid berth into the Filly and Mare Turf and Juvenile Fillies divisions, respectively.
America's Day at the Races will broadcast live on Sunday from 2-5:30 p.m. on FS2 with regional coverage airing on MSG Networks from 4-6 p.m.
Trained by Gary Contessa, Another Miracle, with three starts, is the most experienced horse in the Futurity field, highlighted by a last-out score in the Skidmore on August 16 on the Saratoga turf.
The American Pharoah bay, out of the stakes-winning Medaglia d'Oro mare Retraceable, was purchased for $210,000 at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. He performed impressively in his July 4 debut at Belmont when second to Green Light Go, who exited that event to win the Grade 2 Saratoga Special.
“There's nothing to be said bad about him on the dirt. He ran into possibly the best 2-year-old in the country [in Green Light Go],” said Contessa. “But, I had the opportunity to try turf next out and we loved the way he had worked on it. Plus, all the American Pharoahs have been excelling on the turf.”
Despite turfy intentions, Another Miracle graduated at second asking in an off-the-turf maiden sprint, besting eventual Laurel Futurity winner Irish Mias with a front-running effort that garnered a field-best 83 Beyer Speed Figure.
“The race came off the turf, but he broke his maiden and it set us up to get back on the turf for the stakes race,” said Contessa.
Contessa said the impressive maiden win provided a choice between the Skidmore on turf or the Runhappy Hopeful at seven-furlongs on dirt.
“His works on the turf had been very impressive. Our choices were to run him in the Skidmore or the Hopeful. I wasn't sure he was ready for seven-eighths and to take on Green Light Go again. We made the right move,” said Contessa.
Although Green Light Go scratched from the Hopeful on the day of the race, Another Miracle was visually impressive in winning his turf and stakes debut. Tracking the speed from second position in the Skidmore, Another Miracle exploded down the lane to a 1 ¾-length victory under regular pilot Manny Franco. Contessa said he is hoping that Another Miracle can continue his turf prowess on Sunday and punch his ticket for the Breeders' Cup.
“You bet,” said Contessa. “It's a 'Win and You're In' race and there are so many of these races that there's only a few spots left once all the 'Win and You're In' spots are taken. So, we need a big race on Sunday.”
Contessa said the compact, but powerful, colt may be able to stretch out his speed a little further in future races.
“I think he can stretch out, but at some point he'll have a limitation because he's a small horse,” said Contessa. “He's a little fireball, but he's only 15 hands tall. I don't know if the wall will be seven-eighths or a mile or maybe he'll surprise us…but he's smaller in stature.”
Another Miracle will leave from post 5 under Franco.
To win the Futurity, Another Miracle will have to topple a field that includes Grade 3 Sanford runner-up Tomato Bill; impressive maiden winners Four Wheel Drive, Freewheeler and Jack and Noah; as well as restricted stakes winner Embolden.
George Bolton, Three Chimneys Farm, Barry Lipman, Lady Sheila Stable and David Lipman's Tomato Bill graduated in front-running fashion on the Delaware Park main track on May 22. The More Than Ready chestnut, a $500,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale, set the pace in the six-furlong Sanford before giving way late to By Your Side.
Kendrick Carmouche retains the mount from post 2.
Four Wheel Drive, trained by Wesley Ward for Breeze Easy, earned a 79 Beyer for his 3 ¼-length debut score on August 31 on the Colonial turf. The American Pharoah bay was hammered down for $525,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale. Irad Ortiz, Jr. will guide Four Wheel Drive from post 4.
Gary Barber's Jack and Noah, a grey son of Bated Breath, earned a 72 Beyer in his 1 ¼-length debut score on September 27 on the Belmont turf. Trained by Mark Casse, the French-bred colt will emerge from post 6 under Jose Lezcano.
NK Racing's Freewheeler, a City Zip chestnut, brought $430,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Florida 2-year-olds In Training sale. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Freewheeler raced from third position early in his August 30 debut at Saratoga before drawing clear to a 5 ¼-length victory over 5 ½-furlongs of firm turf. Hall of Famer John Velazquez has the call from the inside post.
Dare to Dream Stable's Embolden, a grey son of The Factor trained by Michael Stidham, graduated at second asking when making his turf debut sprinting five furlongs on August 8 at Colonial. The Virginia-bred colt returned one month later to win the Jamestown against fellow state-breds, by a driving 3 ¾-lengths over 5 ½-furlongs of firm Colonial turf. Joel Rosario will ride from post 3.
The Futurity is slated as Race 7 on Sunday's 10-race card. First post is 12:45 p.m. Eastern.
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