By J. Keeler Johnson

A huge field has turned out to contest Saturday's $600,000 Breeders' Futurity (G1) at Keeneland, a "Win and You're In" qualifier to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) and a Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race worth 10-4-3-2-1 points to the top five finishers.

There are 14 horses in the main body of the field plus two others on the also-eligible list, so there's a good chance the Breeders' Futurity will wind up producing multiple Kentucky Derby starters, which has happened eight times since 2010.

Let's check out the entries:

Frosted Departure
Total 4 start(s)
Wins:
2
Place:
0
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(93) when winning an allowance optional claimer at Churchill Downs.
Total Earnings:
$116,299
Owner:
C&H Diamond Racing and Magdalena Racing
Breeder:
Alastar Thoroughbred Company
Trainer:
Kenny McPeek
Jockey:
Brian Hernandez
Sire:
Frosted
Dam:
Undeterred
Color:
Gray/roan

Frosted Departure hasn't been the most consistent runner so far. Two of his starts have yielded blowout victories; the other two produced defeats by double-digit margins. His lone stakes appearance to date was a miss, but Frosted Departure wired a seven-furlong allowance at Churchill Downs last month by 9 1/4 lengths, earning a respectable 93 Brisnet Speed rating. Jockey Brian Hernandez isn't afraid to ride the rail at Keeneland, so if Frosted Departure brings his A-game, he may work out a ground-saving trip from the rail post and nab a top-five finish.

Loggins
Total 1 start(s)
Wins:
1
Place:
0
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(99) when dominating his debut at Churchill Downs.
Total Earnings:
$69,000
Owner:
Spendthrift Farm, Steve Landers Racing, Martin S. Schwartz, Michael Dubb, Ten Strike Racing, Jim Bakke, Titletown Racing Stables, Kueber Racing, Big Easy Racing, and Winners Win
Breeder:
Popatop
Trainer:
Brad Cox
Jockey:
Florent Geroux
Sire:
Ghostzapper
Dam:
Beyond Blame
Color:
Bay

One of the most exciting horses in the Breeders' Futurity field is Loggins. The stoutly bred son of 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper was tons the best in his debut sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs at Churchill Downs last month, pouncing from just off the pace to dominate by 9 1/2 lengths with a flashy 99 Brisnet Speed rating. Two-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Brad Cox strikes at a lofty 30% rate with horses running long for the first time, so Loggins has to be viewed as a serious win threat in the Breeders' Futurity. 

Honed
Total 2 start(s)
Wins:
1
Place:
1
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(85) when finishing second in the Iroquois S. (G3) at Churchill Downs.
Total Earnings:
$95,500
Owner:
Three Chimneys Farm and Magdalena Racing
Breeder:
Mr. and Mrs. Duncan Lloyd
Trainer:
Kenny McPeek
Jockey:
Julien Leparoux
Sire:
Sharp Azteca
Dam:
All About Allison
Color:
Bay

Honed already has experience on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, rallying boldly to finish second as a 54-1 longshot in the Iroquois S. (G3) racing 1 1/16 miles at Churchill Downs. Honed was only beaten a length, but it's worth noting he benefited from a fast early/slow late pace that favored his stretch-running style. It's unclear whether Honed will receive a similarly favorable setup against tougher competition in the Breeders' Futurity.

Confidence Game
Total 3 start(s)
Wins:
1
Place:
0
Show:
1
Top Speed Rating:
(80) when breaking his maiden at Churchill Downs.
Total Earnings:
$90,190
Owner:
Don't Tell My Wife Stables
Breeder:
Summer Wind Equine
Trainer:
Keith Desormeaux
Jockey:
James Graham
Sire:
Candy Ride
Dam:
Eblouissante
Color:
Dark bay/brown

Eye-catching Churchill Downs maiden winner Confidence Game earned a Road to the Kentucky Derby qualification point when finishing fifth in the Iroquois S. (G3), but the son of Candy Ride came home nine lengths behind Honed and didn't have an obvious excuse. With a career-best 80 Brisnet Speed rating, Confidence Game needs a step forward to challenge against tougher competition in the Breeders' Futurity.

Instant Coffee
Total 1 start(s)
Wins:
1
Place:
0
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(90) when winning his debut at Saratoga.
Total Earnings:
$57,750
Owner:
Gold Square
Breeder:
Sagamore Farm
Trainer:
Brad Cox
Jockey:
Luis Saez
Sire:
Bolt d'Oro
Dam:
Follow No One
Color:
Dark bay/brown

A trio of seven-furlong maiden special weights for juveniles took place on Sept. 3 at Saratoga, and by far the fastest winner was Instant Coffee. The son of hot young sire Bolt d'Oro rallied gamely from off the pace to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:22.77. The 90 Brisnet Speed rating Instant Coffee posted is promising, and Cox's 30% win rate with horses running long for the first time suggests Instant Coffee can step forward and factor while stretching out over 1 1/16 miles in the Breeders' Futurity.

Bourbon Bash
Total 3 start(s)
Wins:
1
Place:
1
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(95) when breaking his maiden at Saratoga.
Total Earnings:
$90,750
Owner:
BC Stables
Breeder:
Machmer Hall
Trainer:
D. Wayne Lukas
Jockey:
Rafael Bejarano
Sire:
City of Light
Dam:
Buy Sell Hold
Color:
Bay

Bourbon Bash looked like a possible star in the making after wiring a six-furlong maiden special weight at Saratoga by eight lengths, earning a flashy 95 Brisnet Speed rating. But Bourbon Bash subsequently faltered to finish last by two-dozen lengths in the Hopeful S. (G1) over a sloppy track at Saratoga. Was the footing to blame, or did Bourbon Bash struggle against Grade 1 competition? That's a tough question, but Bourbon Bash may deserve another chance if he encounters a dry track at Keeneland.

Forte
Total 3 start(s)
Wins:
2
Place:
0
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(101) when winning the Hopeful S. (G1) at Saratoga.
Total Earnings:
$225,000
Owner:
Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable
Breeder:
South Gate Farm
Trainer:
Todd Pletcher
Jockey:
Irad Ortiz
Sire:
Violence
Dam:
Queen Caroline
Color:
Dark bay/brown

The only proven Grade 1 winner in the Breeders' Futurity field is Forte, who trounced a quality field in Saratoga's Hopeful S. (G1) by three lengths. That performance earned a lofty 101 Brisnet Speed rating (the highest figure in the Breeders' Futurity field), and the strength of Forte's effort was indicated when Hopeful third-place finisher Blazing Sevens returned to win the Champagne S. (G1). Forte is bred to stretch out in distance and trainer Todd Pletcher has won this race twice, so Forte is an obvious threat to pick up a second straight Grade 1 win.

Newgate
Total 2 start(s)
Wins:
1
Place:
0
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(90) when finishing fourth in the Del Mar Futurity (G1).
Total Earnings:
$66,000
Owner:
SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Robert E. Masterson, Jay A. Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital, Catherine M. Donovan, Golconda Stable, and Siena Farm
Breeder:
Town & Country Horse Farms
Trainer:
Bob Baffert
Jockey:
John Velazquez
Sire:
Into Mischief
Dam:
Majestic Presence
Color:
Bay

Shipping in from California is Newgate, a Bob Baffert trainee exiting a fourth-place finish in the Del Mar Futurity (G1). That effort might not seem remarkable at first glance, but Newgate had a tough time chasing a blazing hot pace. He's likely to encounter a more relaxed tempo in the Breeders' Futurity, stamping the son of three-time leading sire Into Mischief as a possibly underrated contender with Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez aboard.

Funtastic Again
Total 2 start(s)
Wins:
1
Place:
0
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(89) when breaking his maiden at Saratoga.
Total Earnings:
$58,290
Owner:
Three Chimneys Farm
Breeder:
BHMFR
Trainer:
Wesley Ward
Jockey:
Joel Rosario
Sire:
Funtastic
Dam:
Repeta
Color:
Chestnut

Funtastic Again never seriously challenged in his debut sprinting on turf at Belmont Park, but the chestnut colt enjoyed stretching out in distance over the Saratoga dirt, wiring a one-mile maiden special weight by 6 1/2 lengths. That was a flashy effort, but the waters get deeper in the Breeders' Futurity, and Funtastic Again figures to face a tougher trip up front after escaping with a slow pace in his maiden win.

Lost Ark
Total 2 start(s)
Wins:
2
Place:
0
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(91) when dominating the Sapling S. at Monmouth Park.
Total Earnings:
$169,500
Owner:
Harrell Ventures
Breeder:
Ashview Farm and Colts Neck Stables
Trainer:
Todd Pletcher
Jockey:
Flavien Prat
Sire:
Violence
Dam:
Marion Ravenwood
Color:
Bay

Lost Ark has yet to face the toughest competition, but the Todd Pletcher trainee is unbeaten and unchallenged in two starts. A 5 1/2-length debut winner sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs at Belmont Park, Lost Ark had no trouble stretching out over one mile for the Sapling S. at Monmouth Park, romping home on top by 7 1/2 lengths. As a half-brother to Alabama S. (G1) winner Nest and Santa Anita H. (G1) hero Idol, Lost Ark is bred to improve with maturity and thrive running long, stamping the son of Violence as one of the most exciting juveniles in training.

Red Route One
Total 2 start(s)
Wins:
1
Place:
0
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(74) when breaking his maiden at Kentucky Downs.
Total Earnings:
$94,200
Owner:
Winchell Thoroughbreds
Breeder:
Winchell Thoroughbreds
Trainer:
Steve Asmussen
Jockey:
Ricardo Santana
Sire:
Gun Runner
Dam:
Red House
Color:
Chestnut

Red Route One has never run on dirt, and his career-best 74 Brisnet Speed rating is on the low side. But the stoutly bred son of Gun Runner trounced a one-mile maiden special weight over the Kentucky Downs turf course by 3 3/4 lengths, and his pedigree suggests switching to dirt will be a big positive. Red Route One may have upside and longshot potential for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.

Good Heart
Total 1 start(s)
Wins:
1
Place:
0
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(76) when winning his debut at Kentucky Downs.
Total Earnings:
$90,000
Owner:
Rebecca Hillen and Stonecrest Farm
Breeder:
Scott Pierce and Debbie Pierce
Trainer:
Brendan Walsh
Jockey:
Tyler Gaffalione
Sire:
Good Samaritan
Dam:
Shoe Queen
Color:
Chestnut

Speaking of Kentucky Downs maiden winners, Good Heart impressed when trouncing a one-mile maiden special weight over the European-style turf course by 3 3/4 lengths. The 76 Brisnet Speed rating he posted isn't anything to write home about, but Good Heart is eligible to move forward while switching from turf to dirt, a winning move 24% of the time for trainer Brendan Walsh.

Two Phil's
Total 3 start(s)
Wins:
2
Place:
0
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(89) when breaking his maiden at Colonial Downs.
Total Earnings:
$69,600
Owner:
Patricia's Hope and Phillip Sagan
Breeder:
Phillip Sagan
Trainer:
Larry Rivelli
Jockey:
Jareth Loveberry
Sire:
Hard Spun
Dam:
Mia Torri
Color:
Chestnut

A sharp maiden winner sprinting at Colonial Downs, Two Phil's successfully handled a jump in class for the Shakopee Juvenile S. at Canterbury Park, tracking the early pace before pulling clear to dominate by 9 3/4 lengths. But Two Phil's has yet to run farther than six furlongs, and he's squaring off against tougher competition in the Breeders' Futurity. Those are a couple of meaningful obstacles to conquer.

Powerful
Total 2 start(s)
Wins:
1
Place:
1
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(88) when finishing second in his debut at Saratoga.
Total Earnings:
$78,750
Owner:
Courtlandt Farms
Breeder:
Parks Investment Group
Trainer:
Steve Asmussen
Jockey:
Jose Ortiz
Sire:
Nyquist
Dam:
Antiquity
Color:
Bay

A son of Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Nyquist, Powerful finished a close second in his debut at Saratoga before nabbing a seven-furlong maiden special weight over the same track by half a length. His Brisnet Speed ratings are a little light, and drawing post 14 sets the stage for a wide trip, but Powerful is bred to run long and may have upside for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Carmel Road
Total 2 start(s)
Wins:
1
Place:
0
Show:
1
Top Speed Rating:
(92) when breaking his maiden at Del Mar.
Total Earnings:
$57,600
Owner:
SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Robert E. Masterson, Stonestreet Stables, Jay A. Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital, and Catherine Donovan
Breeder:
Peter E. Blum Thoroughbreds
Trainer:
Bob Baffert
Jockey:
Luis Saez
Sire:
Quality Road
Dam:
Inspired
Color:
Bay

The first also-eligible entrant in the Breeders' Futurity field is Carmel Road, who will need a scratch in order to compete. Third in his debut sprinting at Del Mar, the Bob Baffert trainee thrived when stretching out for a one-mile maiden special weight over the same track, leading all the way to beat nine rivals (including next-out Capote S. winner Hard to Figure) by 8 3/4 lengths. With a 92 Brisnet Speed rating to his credit, Carmel Road would be worth considering if he's allowed to run, although starting from an outside post wouldn't be the easiest task for a pacesetter.

Jin Tong
Total 3 start(s)
Wins:
1
Place:
0
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(82) when finishing fifth in the Best Pal S. (G2) at Del Mar.
Total Earnings:
$36,625
Owner:
Calumet Farm
Breeder:
Copper Penny Stables
Trainer:
Doug O'Neill
Jockey:
Paco Lopez
Sire:
Goldencents
Dam:
Ever Adored
Color:
Bay

A debut winner sprinting at Los Alamitos, Jin Tong hasn't had the best luck in two graded stakes attempts, finishing fifth in the Best Pal S. (G3) and eighth in the Iroquois S. (G3). If he draws in off the also-eligible list, Jin Tong will need a step forward to challenge for a top-five finish against this tough Breeders' Futurity field. Wearing blinkers for the first time does offer one opportunity for possible improvement.