By Ken Weingartner, USTA Media
Marcus Melander will send out the morning-line favorites in both the $430,000 Kentucky Futurity for 3-year-old trotters and $276,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity for 3-year-old female trotters Sunday (Oct. 9) at Lexington’s Red Mile.
Periculum, who posted a 1:50.3 win in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes last week, is the 4-1 morning-line favorite ahead of stablemate Temporal Hanover, at 9-2, in the 130th Kentucky Futurity. Joviality S, who has won four consecutive starts since finishing second in the Hambletonian, is the 3-1 choice in the 57th edition of the filly companion event.
Both races have full fields of 12, with spots secured based on seasonal earnings. Two horses in each of the one-mile events will start from the second tier.
Periculum has won only twice this season but has been a steady earner, banking nearly $275,000 for owners Holly Lane Stud East, Brixton Medical Inc., and Howard Taylor. The son of Muscle Hill-Amour Heiress finished second to Temporal Hanover in the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial and third in the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship, where he started from post 10 at The Meadowlands and was beaten by three-quarters of a length.
In the two most lucrative races of the year so far for Periculum, the Hambletonian and Canadian Trotting Classic, he started from posts nine and 11. He was fifth in the Hambo, beaten only 1-3/4 lengths, and sixth in the CTC, where he was 11 lengths behind after three-quarters of a mile but made up 8-1/2 lengths coming for home.
Last week, Periculum and Brian Sears, driving the colt for the first time, defeated Golden Wall As by 2-1/4 lengths. Rebuff, the favorite, was third. Periculum’s time of 1:50.3 is tied for fourth best among 3-year-old male trotters this year.
He will start Sunday from post three with Sears in the sulky.
“He’s not a bad horse,” Melander said. “He’s had some bad luck, some bad posts, but he’s raced pretty good this year. Last week, Brian put him on the lead, and he was very sharp. He drew well. It’s very exciting.”
Temporal Hanover heads to the Futurity off a nose loss to Justice in 1:50.2 in a Bluegrass division. The colt has hit the board in all 10 starts this year, winning four and finishing second on five occasions. He has banked $657,000 for owners AMG Stable, Kenneth Kjellgren, Rick Wahlstedt, and Heights Stable.
In addition to winning the Zweig, he captured the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial. He will start Sunday from post five with Mattias Melander at the lines for his brother Marcus.
“He raced super last week too,” Marcus Melander said about the son of Walner-Think Twice. “He came off a three-week layoff and it was a fast half in the wind, and he just got beat at the wire. It’s hard to say anything bad about him. He always does his best. With the right trip, he’s always right there.
“(Temporal Hanover and Periculum) are two very good horses, and both of them have a chance to win.”
The Kentucky Futurity is the third jewel in the Trotting Triple Crown. Cool Papa Bell won the second, the Hambletonian, in August. The first jewel, the Yonkers Trot, went to Joviality S in July. She became the first filly since 1996 to win the race.
Joviality S, a homebred daughter of Chapter Seven-Pasithea Face S owned by Courant Inc., has won 10 of 12 starts this year and earned $922,477. Victories in addition to the Yonkers Trot include the Delmonica Hanover Stakes, New York Sire Stakes championship, and Empire Breeders Classic.
Last week, she won a filly division of the Bluegrass by 3-3/4 lengths over Delilah Hanover in 1:50.4. She starts the Kentucky Filly Futurity from the second tier’s post 12 with Sears in the sulky.
“She’s just unbelievable,” Melander said about Joviality S, who has hit the board in 23 of 24 starts, winning 19. “She performs week in and week out. She got a perfect trip (last week) and came out of the race good. She looks really sharp coming into this week too.”
Jiggy Jog S, also a Bluegrass division winner, is the 4-1 second choice in the Kentucky Filly Futurity with Elegantimage champion Raised By Lindy next at 5-1.
The Kentucky Filly Futurity is race 10 on Sunday’s 12-race card, which will be capped by the Kentucky Futurity. Racing begins at 1 p.m. (EDT) and the stakes-filled afternoon includes an appearance by Bulldog Hanover, history’s fastest Standardbred, in the Allerage Open Pace. That event is race 11