By Ken Weingartner — Greenshoe, Gimpanzee, and Green Manalishi S see plenty of each other on a regular basis but have not seen much of each other on the racetrack.
The three horses, all from the stable of trainer Marcus Melander, will compete in the same race for only the second time this year when they meet in Sunday’s (Oct. 6) $450,000 Kentucky Futurity for 3-year-old trotters at Lexington’s Red Mile.
The Kentucky Futurity is the third jewel in the Trotting Triple Crown. The only previous meeting between Melander’s trio came in the first jewel, the Hambletonian, on Aug. 3. Greenshoe finished second to Forbidden Trade in the Hambletonian, with Gimpanzee third and Green Manalishi S fifth.
Four weeks later, Gimpanzee was Melander’s only entry in the Trotting Triple Crown’s second event, the Yonkers Trot, where Gimpanzee claimed the trophy by defeating Forbidden Trade.
Greenshoe, who has won nine of 11 races and $939,550 in purses this season, is the sport’s richest trotter. Among 3-year-olds, Gimpanzee is third and Green Manalishi S is fourth.
“They’ve been racing good all year,” Melander said. “We couldn’t be more happy with how they’ve been performing. They’ve had a long season, but they’re still going strong and look good.
“We made a lot of money with those three horses. We were lucky because they were in different sire stakes (programs) and we could separate them a little bit.
I think we were smart to separate them like that and I think it was good for the horses, as well. It’s good for their head to not race against each other. I think we did the right thing with all of them. They’ve all won big races.”
Greenshoe is the 4-5 morning-line favorite in the Kentucky Futurity, which attracted 12 horses and will be contested as a single dash with two horses starting from the second tier. Greenshoe’s victories this season include the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial, New Jersey Sire Stakes championship, Kentucky Sire Stakes championship, and a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial.
The colt enters the Kentucky Futurity off a 1:49.4 triumph in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes last week at Red Mile. The time is the fastest of the season for a 3-year-old trotter and the fourth sub-1:50 winning mile by a sophomore in harness racing history. Six Pack trotted the fastest mile ever by a 3-year-old, 1:49.1, in last year’s Futurity.
“It was nice, of course,” Melander said about Greenshoe’s mile. “We knew he could do that, so it was nice to get that record for him. Especially if it’s going to be bad weather on Sunday, he’s probably not going to have that chance.
“He came out of (the Bluegrass) great. It will be exciting to see him.”
Greenshoe, whose full brother Maverick sold for a record $1.1 million Tuesday at the Lexington Selected Sale, will start the Futurity from post four with regular driver Brian Sears. He is owned by Courant Inc., Hans Backe, Lars Granqvist, and Morten Langli.
Gimpanzee, a Dan Patch Award winner last year at age 2, has won six of nine races this year and earned $691,163. His victories this season in addition to the Yonkers Trot include the New York Sire Stakes championship and Empire Breeders Classic. He finished second to Greenshoe last week. The colt is owned by Courant Inc. and S R F Stable.
Green Manalishi S has won six of 10 races this season, including the Canadian Trotting Classic and Simcoe Stakes, and earned $638,838 for owner Courant Inc.
Gimpanzee and driver David Miller start the Futurity from post six and Green Manalishi S and driver Tim Tetrick leave from post eight. The horses are both 6-1 second choices on the morning line.
“I’m happy with how my horses are going into the race,” Melander said. “I’m confident going into the race, but it’s horse racing and there are some nice horses in there. A lot can happen.”
Five horses sit at 15-1 behind Melander’s trio on Sunday. One, Marseille, is the only horse other than Forbidden Trade to beat Greenshoe this season, winning the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial by a head. Svanstedt, who won last year’s Futurity with Six Pack, trains and drives Marseille.
Hambletonian winner Forbidden Trade was not eligible to the Futurity.
This is the second time in four years the Futurity will be a single 12-horse dash. Marion Marauder completed a sweep of the Trotting Triple Crown by winning from the second tier’s post 11 in 2016.
In addition to the Kentucky Futurity, the card includes the $267,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity for 3-year-old female trotters. Eleven horses entered the race. Hambletonian Oaks winner When Dovescry is the 9-5 favorite followed by Millies Possesion at 2-1.
For more on the Futurity Day card, including two Tattersalls Pace divisions for 3-year-old male pacers and Allerage events for trotting and pacing mares, click here. For complete entries, click here. Racing begins at 1 p.m. (EDT).
Following is the field for the 127th Kentucky Futurity.
1-Chin Chin Hall-Peter Wrenn-R. Nifty Norman-15/1
2-Marseille-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Stanstedt-15/1
3-Super Schissel-Scott Zeron-Per Engblom-20/1
4-Greenshoe-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-4/5
5-Don’t Let’em-Yannick Gingras-Nancy Johansson-15/1
6-Gimpanzee-David Miller-Marcus Melander-6/1
7-Mass Fortune K-Tyler Buter-Norm Parker-30/1
8-Green Manalishi S-Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander-6/1
9-Pilot Discretion-Andy McCarthy-Tony Alagna-15/1
10-Soul Strong-Dexter Dunn-Ake Svanstedt-15/1
11-Goes Down Smooth-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-20/1
12-Union Forces-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-20/1