The winner of the Arlington-Washington Futurity hasn’t visited the Kentucky Derby winner’s circle since Spend A Buck in 1985, yet, to me, the race is always illustrative of the challenge that juveniles face as the distances get longer — and the competition tougher — on the Road to the Roses.
Take, for example, Soul of Discretion, who is 3-1 on the morning line in this year’s edition of the Futurity, which takes place on Saturday at Arlington Park in Chicago. In many ways, the skimpy odds make sense, as the son of Discreetly Mine:
- Won his last — and only — race by 13 lengths.
- Recorded a race-best 88 Brisnet Speed Figure (today’s par is 90) in his debut.
- Earned early and late energy figures that match or exceed today’s projected numbers.
On the other hand, trainer Dan McFarlane’s budding juvenile star, who is 225-1 in early Kentucky Derby wagering, will be travelling an additional quarter-mile in Saturday’s seven-furlong Arlington-Washington Futurity and he will be trying a different surface (Polytrack).
He’s definitely a contender… but I suspect he’s also going to be an underlay. I tab his fair odds at 7/2.
Two horses that I think can outrun their morning line digits are Captivating Moon and Take Charge Dude.
The former is trained by Chris Block, who also sends out a filly I think has a shot to upset in the Arlington-Washington Lassie — Bet She Wins. Like his female counterpart, Captivating Moon will have to transfer his turf form to the main track, but I love the late punch that the son of Malibu Moon exhibited in his debut, especially since two of Saturday’s top contenders — the aforementioned Soul of Discretion and Barry Lee (the 5-2 morning line favorite) — have yet to prove that they can win from off the pace.
Take Charge Dude was also impressive in his lifetime bow, recording strong early and late pace figures, albeit in a pretty slow maiden special weight affair, in which he beat another longshot to consider — P R Radio Star.
83rd Arlington-Washington Futurity
Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017
$75,000 purse (listed)
7 furlongs for 2-year-olds
Smallest winning margin: dead heat (1937 and 2006).
Largest winning margin: 9 lengths (Shecky Greene, 1972).
Smallest winning mutuel: $2.40 (1937, 2003 and 2006).
Largest winning mutuel: $68.00 (T. V. Lark, 1959).
Stakes record at this distance: Candy Spot 1:21 4/5 (1962).