Royalty For Life cannot win this year's trotting Triple Crown, but trainer George Ducharme likes his 3-year-old's chances of becoming the 19th to win two of the jewels.
Royalty For Life won the second piece, the Hambletonian, after Dewycolorintheline won the first, the Yonkers Trot. Sunday's 121st Kentucky Futurity at The Red Mile represents the third leg.
Royalty For Life was among 14 trotters entered in the $527,000 Futurity, so the field was divided into two seven-horse eliminations. The top five finishers from each elimination advance to the same-day final. Unlike previous years when a horse had to win twice to be declared the champion, the winner of the final will receive the trophy regardless of his finish position in his elimination.
"To win the Futurity would be huge," Ducharme said. "When you're a kid getting into the sport, that's one of the races you dream about."
Eighteen horses have won two of the three legs of the trotting Triple Crown, most recently Muscle Hill in 2009. The most recent of the eight horses to sweep the series was Glidemaster in 2006.
Royalty For Life, who has won six of 11 races and $1.21 million this year, drew post four in the first Futurity elimination and will be driven by Brian Sears.
Royalty For Life heads to the Futurity off a win in the Canadian Trotting Classic on Sept. 14 at Mohawk.
Ducharme was not concerned about Royalty For Life racing twice Sunday because the Futurity format is the same as the Hambletonian.
"The colt acts good right now," said Ducharme.
Sunday's card also includes the Kentucky Filly Futurity for 3-year-old filly trotters and the finals of the Allerage Farms Stakes for older male and female trotters and pacers.
First post: 1 p.m.
First elimination Second elimination
1. Creatine 1. All Laid Out
2. Punxsutawney 2. Lauderdale
3. Deadliest Catch 3. Wheeling N Dealin
4. Royalty For Life 4. Lindy's Tru Grit
5. E L Rocket 5. Spider Blue Chip
6. Home Turf 6. Your So Vain
7. Master Of Law 7. High Bridge