Black Rock Thoroughbreds LLP's Violence moved his career line to a perfect three-for-three on Saturday when posting a 1 1/4-length victory in the Grade 1, $750,000 CashCall Futurity over Fury Kapcori. The Todd Pletcher-trained son of Medaglia d'Oro was sent off the 6-5 favorite against 10 rivals and paid $4.40, $4.20 and $3.40 to his many backers.
Jockey Javier Castellano was aboard for Violence's last win in the Grade 2 Nashua at Aqueduct on November 4, and followed the dark bay colt to California for the CashCall Futurity. The pair settled in midpack as a Fury Kapcori, Really Mr Greely, Title Contender and Oxbow all gunned it to the front when the gates opened.
Really Mr Greely got the opening quarter in :22 4/5 before Fury Kapcori took over through splits of :46 and 1:10 4/5. Title Contender was right there with the duo, but began backing up and was last by the time the field reached the turn.
Castellano and Violence gradually made their way to the front and took after Fury Kapcori rounding the turn. That runner was still motoring along in the lane, but Violence asserted his class and easily passed his rival to stop the teletimer in 1:43 2/5 for 1 1/16 miles on the Cushion Track.
"I positioned myself in a very good spot around the first turn and I believe that was the key to winning this race," Castellano said. "You don't want to be too far back, particularly in a race for two-year-olds.
"I had a lot of confidence in this colt. He is so calm and handles himself very professionally. I think he is a special horse and I am really looking forward to big times."
Fury Kapcori was 2 1/2 lengths up on Den's Legacy, who came from the rear of the field to take third. It was another 5 1/4 lengths back to Oxbow, He's Had Enough and Carving, who were separated by just a nose and a head on the wire.
"I broke out in front and three or four were pressing me the entire way. They went pretty quickly out there and I thought he ran a hell of a race," said Joe Talamo, who was aboard Fury Kapcori.
Talamo ended up finishing second in both graded events at Hollywood on Saturday after Interaction filled the runner-up spot in the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup a couple races earlier.
"I got held up going into the far turn for a minute," said Den's Legacy's rider, Garrett Gomez. "I wish I could have stayed down on the inside a little bit longer, but he made a huge run and even turning for home I thought I had a good chance to run them down and then he leveled off a little bit."
Dirty Swagg, Little Jerry, Really Mr Greely, Simon Eyes and Title Contender completed the order of finish.
"You always hope for a 1-2-3-4, but I was most disappointed with Title Contender," said trainer Bob Baffert, who saddled Den's Legacy, Carving, Really Mr Greely and Title Contender in the CashCall Futurity.
"Really Mr Greely just can't go this far. Title Contender, we were trying to get him back today, but he just used himself up. Den's Legacy is getting better, I liked his race today. He's solid and tough."
Violence opened his career with a nice neck score sprinting seven furlongs at Saratoga on August 18. He wasn't seen in competition again for close to two months, but returned to capture the Nashua by two lengths at the Big A in early November. However, that race wasn't as clear cut as the margin may suggest.
Violence had to survive an inquiry into the stretch run of the Nashua after veering over into Really Sharp and cutting off Vegas No Show. Though straightened by Castellano, he came over again, forcing Really Sharp into Darwin, who had to take up on the rail, before once more being straightened out by Castellano. Despite all the drama, the juvenile was allowed to keep the win by the stewards.
With the CashCall Futurity now on his resume, he has banked $543,000 in his short career.
"He's a colt that we've thought a lot of all along," Pletcher said. "He's a big, leggy colt that we felt like was going to continue to improve and mature. We felt like this summer he was the kind that we would start off at least six furlongs and we ended up starting him at seven furlongs. I thought he ran a very courageous race for a first-time starter.
"We talked about a couple of strategies. One was to try to make the Breeders' Cup (Juvenile). The other was a more patient strategy. We decided to wait on the Nashua and when he ran so well in the Nashua we started looking whether we wanted to run him back in 20 days in the (Grade 2) Remsen, put him away for the winter or something else. We decided that if we were going to run him once more this year, this race made the most sense.
"Another factor in deciding to ship out here is that he's the kind of horse that has such a great disposition and good mind that shipping wouldn't bother him at all. He'll probably start again at the end of February or the beginning of March."
Bred in Kentucky by Dell Ridge Farm, Violence cost $600,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. Being a son of the winning Gone West mare Violent Beauty, the colt deserved that price.
Violence's fifth dam is champion sprinter Gold Beauty, who would foal English Horse of the Year and top sire Dayjur as well as dual Grade 1-winning producer Maplejinsky. That mare's descendents include champion older mare Sky Beauty, who is Violence's third dam; multiple Grade 1-scoring sire Tale of Ekati; Breeders' Cup Distaff queen Pleasant Home; three-time Grade 1 hero Point of Entry, who was second in this year's Breeders' Cup Turf; and Point of Entry's ill-fated Grade 1-winning half-sister Pine Island, who broke down during the running of the 2006 Breeders' Cup Distaff.