Saturday's Grade 1, $400,000 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland came up very contentious. The 1 1/16-mile event on Polytrack, which is part of the new "Road to the Kentucky Derby" scoring system, has attracted an overflow of 16 two-year-olds, but only 14 will be allowed to start and favoritism could fall to Pataky Kid following his victory in the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity.
Other legitimate contenders include Grade 2 With Anticipation Stakes winner Balance the Books; Grade 2 Summer runner-up Are You Kidding Me; Sunday Silence Stakes victor Java's War; and Tizracer, a recent 10 1/2-length maiden scorer for Todd Pletcher.
Pataky Kid dropped his career debut on dirt, finishing third in a July 1 maiden special weight at Churchill Downs, but the Tom Proctor pupil broke his maiden when trying Polytrack in his second outing, rallying from far back to win by nearly a length at Arlington Park. He moved forward off that performance last time, splitting rivals to win the Arlington-Washington Futurity going away by three lengths, and the Rockport Harbor colt will make his two-turn debut Saturday with new rider Paco Lopez.
Balance the Books can challenge for trainer Chad Brown if he handles the transition from turf to Polytrack. Julien Leparoux retains the mount. Joha finished a neck second to Balance the Books in the With Anticipation and captured the Colin Stakes on Woodbine's Polytrack two starts back for Mike Maker. He receives a rider switch to Rajiv Maragh. Charming Kitten finished third as the With Anticipation favorite for Pletcher and the son of Kitten's Joy shouldn't be dismissed from consideration with Javier Castellano. Jose Lezcano will pick up the mount on uncoupled stablemate Tizracer, who will make his synthetic debut following his superb maiden tally on Belmont Park's dirt.
Are You Kidding Me, a maiden scorer on Woodbine's Polytrack, invades from North of the Border for Hall of Fame conditioner Roger Attfield. The bay colt recorded a fast-finishing second in the grassy Summer, beaten only a half-length, and will be re-united with jockey Alex Solis. Java's War, a Kenny McPeek-trained colt from the first crop of champion juvenile War Pass, broke his maiden on the turf at Ellis before stepping up to defeat stakes rivals in the September 8 Sunday Silence at Louisiana Downs. Richard Erama gets the return call.