LEXINGTON, Ky. – Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable’s Forte edged favored Loggins by a neck and survived a claim of foul to win the 109th running of the $600,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) for 2-year-olds.
Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., Forte covered the mile and a sixteenth on a fast main track in 1:44.74. The victory is Pletcher’s third in the race, having previously won with We Miss Artie in 2013 and Carpe Diem in 2014.
The victory gave Forte a fees-paid berth into the $2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) to be run here Nov. 4.
Loggins, who earned favoritism off a dazzling debut victory at Churchill Downs three weeks ago, was prominent early and reached the front after a half-mile in :46.36 as Forte raced in midpack. Loggins had a clear advantage after 6 furlongs in 1:11.63 as early pursuers Bourbon Bash and Newgate gave way while Forte was launching his bid.
Forte engaged Loggins in the upper stretch with the two colts bumping before Forte took a short lead only to have Loggins battle back on even terms in the final sixteenth of a mile before Forte edged away near the finish.
A Keeneland sales graduate, Forte is a Kentucky-bred son of Violence out of the Blame mare Queen Caroline. The victory, the second Grade 1 for Forte, improved his record to 4-3-0-0 and increased his earnings to $555,150 with Saturday’s $330,150 check.
Forte returned $10.86, $4.56 and $3.76. Loggins, ridden by Florent Geroux, returned $3.34 and $3.08 and finished 6¾ lengths in front of Red Route One, who paid $15.94 to show under Ricardo Santana Jr.
It was another head back to Instant Coffee in fourth with Newgate, Lost Ark, Two Phil’s, Honed, Funtastic Again, Frosted Departure, Powerful, Bourbon Bash, Carmel Road and Good Heart following in order.
Quotes from the $600,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1)
Irad Ortiz Jr. (winning rider of Forte): “At the turn, he was still figuring it out. He’s a young horse, and I had to start working really hard on him. He started doing it little by little, but by the time I got there and hit the lead he started acting a little green and laying in a little bit. I had to take a big hold of him the whole stretch. He didn’t even let me ride him that well. The whole time I had to hold him and, that horse inside of me, take care of him at the same time as I win the race.”
Florent Geroux (rider of runner-up Loggins): “It was a good race. I got squeezed a little at the eighth pole. (Forte) came in a little bit on me and my horse was shifting, and I think it cost me the win.”
Brad Cox (trainer of Loggins): “He ran a good race. I am proud of him. He’s a good colt. He ran a winning race – just came up a little short. He battled back.”
On whether Loggins will continue to the Breeders’ Cup: “We will regroup after we see how he comes out of this race.”
Ricardo Santana Jr. (rider of third-place fiisher Red Route One): “My horse tried really hard; I’m really happy. This was his first time trying the dirt. He gave me a really good finish and Steve (Asmussen), the team and I are really happy with his performance today.
Luis Saez (rider of fourth-place finisher Instant Coffee): “He’s learning. When he received the dirt in the face, he kind of stayed away from it. He was a little shy. When he came to the last three-eighths, he made a huge move. It was a big field. He’s learning and he’s going to be all right next time.”
Keeneland Press Release
Photo by Coady Photography