Three of this year's top 3-year-old male trotters come together at The Red Mile on Saturday for the 118th running of the Kentucky Futurity.
Lucky Chucky (2-1), coming off a win in the $970,000 Canadian Trotting Classic on Sept. 18, enters as the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the field of 10. Muscle Massive (3-1) won the $1.5 million Hambletonian on Aug. 8. Break The Bank K (7-2) is coming off a victory last weekend in the $500,000 Breeders Crown at Pocono Downs.
The Kentucky Futurity is the third leg of the trotting Triple Crown, following the Hambletonian and the Yonkers Trot. On The Tab, who won the Yonkers Trot, is not in the Futurity.
Saturday's sixth race at The Red Mile represents the first heat of the Kentucky Futurity, which will feature all 10 horses. The same 10 will return for the ninth race.
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A horse must win two heats to win the Futurity. If different horses win the first two heats, those two will meet in a third heat race-off to decide the champion.
Lucky Chucky, who was second in the Hambletonian and third in the Breeders Crown, has won four of eight races this season and earned $1.31 million. He has banked $1.97 million in his career, with 13 victories in 20 races. He is 2-for-2 in his career at The Red Mile, having won divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes in 2009.
"He trained very good (Wednesday) morning, so I think he's OK," Lucky Chucky's trainer Chuck Sylvester said. "He had a little bit of a foot problem coming out of Canada and I didn't have the right shoes on him. We've changed shoes and I think he'll be OK. The track should be very easy on him."
Muscle Massive went off stride in the Breeders Crown and finished eighth in the nine-horse field. He has won five of 11 races this year and earned $1.14 million.
Break The Bank K, who is trained by Trond Smedshammer and driven by Brian Sears, has won three of his past four starts. He won the Breeders Crown by 13/4 lengths over Wishing Stone in a world-record 1:52.2.
He has four wins in 15 races this year and earnings of $662,073.
"It would be great if we could get (the Futurity). It's not impossible," Smedshammer said in a U.S. Trotting Association news release after the Breeders Crown. "He should have a lot of confidence right now. The competition is good also; it will be an interesting race."
Wishing Stone, who won the $150,000 American-National at Balmoral Park on Aug. 28, was second in the Breeders Crown and third in the Hambletonian. He has two wins in 10 races.