ELMONT, N.Y. – Repole Stable’s Midnight Worker will take his talents to the turf for the first time in Sunday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Futurity, a six-furlong inner turf sprint for juveniles at Belmont Park.
The Futurity offers a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint on November 5 at Del Mar.
Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, Midnight Worker posted a game debut win sprinting six furlongs on the main track on July 24 at Saratoga Race Course. He followed with a prominent third in the one-mile Sapling on September 5 on the Monmouth Park main track.
By the Pletcher-trained Outwork and out of the stakes-placed Speightstown mare Spice Lady [who was also conditioned by Pletcher], Midnight Worker was scratched from Sunday’s Grade 2 Pilgrim here, a 1 1/16-mile turf test won by stablemate Annapolis.
Midnight Worker has breezed twice over the Belmont inner turf, including a sharp half-mile in 48.44 seconds on September 26.
“I worked him a couple of times on the grass, and he seemed to breeze pretty well over it, so hopefully he can step up,” Pletcher said. “It seems like the Outworks are pretty versatile. He’s had some winners on both dirt and turf which gives you some options.”
Manny Franco has the call from post 2.
Jump Sucker Stable’s Slipstream, by More Than Ready, graduated at third asking by 5 1/2-lengths sprinting seven furlongs on the Belmont turf on September 18.
Trained by Christophe Clement, Slipstream, out of the Stormy Atlantic mare Cake Baby, was purchased for $170,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
Slipstream will exit post 4 under Joel Rosario.
Trainer Wesley Ward entered a pair of fillies in Castleton Lyons’ Chi Town Lady and Arnmore Thoroughbreds’ Poppy Flower, who are both cross-entered here in Saturday’s Grade 3 Matron where they drew posts 8 and 1, respectively, in a field of 12 juvenile fillies.
Chi Town Lady, by Verrazano, graduated at first asking sprinting 4 1/2-furlongs in April on the main track at Keeneland and followed last out with an impressive 1 3/4-length score over Poppy Flower in the 5 1/2-furlong Bolton Landing, overcoming a stumbled start and yielding turf on August 18 at the Spa.
Poppy Flower, a Lea chestnut, graduated at third asking sprinting six furlongs on the Belmont turf in June ahead of her pacesetting effort in the Bolton Landing. She enters from a prominent third in the 6 1/2-furlong Ainsworth on September 12 at Kentucky Downs.
Ward won the 2019 Futurity with Four Wheel Drive, who went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Santa Anita.
Hall of Famer John Velazquez is named on Chi Town Lady from post 5, while Jose Ortiz has the call aboard Poppy Flower from post 8.
Rounding out the field are Rick Violette-stakes winner Run Curtis Run [post 1, Eric Cancel]; Live Oak Plantation homebred maiden winner Biz Biz Buzz [post 3, Javier Castellano]; and a pair for trainer Jim Chapman in Ready to March [post 7, Charles Roberts] and Kavod [post 6, Paco Lopez].
The Futurity is slated as Race 5 on Sunday’s 9-race which also features the Grade 2, $250,000 Beldame at nine furlongs for fillies and mares: and the Grade 3, $150,000 Knickerbocker, a nine-furlong turf test for 3-year-olds and up.
America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the fall meet at Belmont Park on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/belmont/racing/tv-schedule.
NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Belmont Park, and the best way to bet every race of the fall meet. Available to horseplayers nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.
For info on the Best Breeders’ Cup Seminar click HERE
Keith McCalmont/NYRA Press Office
Photo: Midnight Worker breaking his maiden at first asking by a nose at Saratoga under Luis Saez July 24. The 2-year-ol colt would finish a respectable third in the Sapling Stakes at Monmouth under Mychel Sanchez September 5. (NYRA/Coglianese)