The China Horse Club and WinStar Farm's Theory proved himself a deserved favorite in Saturday's G3 Futurity Stakes at Belmont Park, drawing away down the lane to win by four lengths. The juvenile son of Gemologist, ridden by Javier Castellano, covered six furlongs over the fast main track in 1:09.91 for trainer Todd Pletcher.
“Anytime you're a prohibitive favorite like that, you always want things to go well,” Pletcher said. “He broke alertly, put himself in a good spot and Javier gave him a little chance to get his feet underneath him and looked like when he called him, he finished up strongly.”
Theory drew attention in his maiden-breaking effort at Saratoga, winning by 5 1/2 lengths under a hand ride. He gave a similar effort in winning his first graded stakes race, breaking well to lay second behind Moves Like Ali in the early going. Moves Like Ali led by just over a length through a first quarter in :22.62, but Theory was edging up alongside him in the turn to cut the advantage to just a half length. Moves Like Ali made a bold move near the half-mile mark to jump out to a 1 1/2 length lead at the head of the lane.
Castellano just kept riding away on Theory, and the colt responded willingly enough to overtake Moves Like Ali in mid-stretch. His heart seemed to get big at that point, as he jumped into the bridle a bit more and pulled away all on his own to win by four lengths on the wire. Star Empire got up to be second, and Moves Like Ali had to settle for third. The Walk was fourth.
“I loved the way he did, he does everything with such class,” Castellano said. “He was composed in the post parade. I think you can stretch him out, he'll appreciate going long. I rode his father, [2012 Wood Memorial winner] Gemologist, so I enjoyed riding him.”
Bred in Kentucky by Fred W. Hertrich III and Ronald K. Kirk, Theory was originally purchased for $120,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling sale. Pinhooked through the OBS April 2-year-old in training sale, he commanded $335,000 from the China Horse Club. The colt has now won both of his career starts, recording earnings of just under $170,000.
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