It’s fitting that the richest quarter race of the year is as wide open as the two-year old division itself. It’s the same handicapping conundrum we face every year in the 2 Million Futurity: the accomplished horses that have campaigned through the sport’s toughest futurities versus the lightly raced horse with the flashy qualifying efforts.
If anything epitomizes the breadth of this year’s field it’s the fact that the fastest qualifier More Than You Know is the 4th choice on the morning line at 9/2. And he should be, having to take on the likes of Golden State Million winner One Sweet Jess and the speedy filly Flying Fig who is the only horse to qualify to all 3 million dollar futurities at Los Alamitos this year.
There are also 2 maidens in this year’s field: Oatman was 2nd to One Sweet Jess in his trial and Adashin First Dash was the 2nd fastest qualifier overall. They’re both lightly raced and that’s been the recipe for success in the race more often than not.
Champion of Champions One loss in 19 months and yet there are still doubts about the reigning World Champion. Surely those casting doubts take no issue with Freaky’s form after he obliterated the field in the Boniface, but the competition he faces in this year’s Champion of Champions is beyond anything he has seen in his career. Regardless of who wins Saturday night there will be a vulgar display of unadulterated speed the likes of which we may have never seen in this sport.
Take for example the case of Spit Curl Diva. She leads the nation in Stakes wins (6), graded stakes wins (5), stakes wins at different race tracks (5) and is tied for the national lead in track records (4) and overall wins (8). You know what that résumé is good for in the 2010 Champion of Champions? 15-1 morning line.
Re-read the previous paragraph, think about what it says and ask yourself how that is possible?
In most years it wouldn’t be. But in most years you wouldn’t have 4 horses that either hold or have held track records and that’s after we lost the multiple world-record-holder Double Down Special from this year’s field to an untimely infection.
Apollitical Jess has the distinction of being the colt who broke the world champ’s 400 yard track record when he flew home in 19.13 seconds in the Los Alamitos Super Derby. His trainer Juan Aleman has the distinction of making the only eyebrow-raising decision during the post-position draw when he selected the rail despite having 2nd choice. His reasoning being that his colt had run exceptionally well from post 1 in his trial for the Super Derby.
A Tempting Dash is the horse who served Freaky that lone loss in the past 19 months when he out-finished the white-faced horse in the Go Man Go. He followed that up with a ridiculous 17.18 second 350 yard tightener as he further displayed how much he has come along in the care of Jose Flores these past several months.
Pepper in the 2008 Champion of Champions winner, 440-yard track-record-holder and millionaire Jess You And I, the winner of the 2009 Two Million Futurity Good Reason SA and a couple more Grade 1 winners and you’ve got a field that is likely to take down the track record.
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