On October 9, 1893, excitement was building among the crowd gathered at the Lexington’s Red Mile. The occasion was the inaugural of the Kentucky Futurity, which today is one of the oldest and one of the richest horse races in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and ranks as the oldest classic race in the world of harness racing. That day the crowd watched a shiny black colt named Oro Wilkes score a grueling five-heat victory for driver J.A. Goldsmith. Oro Wilkes fastest Futurity heat was 2:14 ½ and the purse for the inaugural was only $11,880.
Fast forward a few years and here’s how the 121st Kentucky Futurity played out:
The historic fortnight of Grand Circuit racing at The Red Mile came to an end on Sunday, with the track’s signature event, the Kentucky Futurity, highlighting the grey and rainy afternoon. The older horses were in the shadow of the spotlight, with the four divisions squaring off in the Allerage Opens.
A confident Royalty For Life, cruising around the muddy Lexington oval, won the first elimination for the $527,000 Kentucky Futurity in 1:53.3.
Floating towards the lead was Royalty For Life entering the first turn, while Creatine was tracking his helmet from second and Master Of Law tried to get into contention in third, but broke in his attempt. Royalty For Life led by the quarter in :28. He trotted with no adversaries alongside to the half in an easy :56.2 (:28.2).
E L Rocket spent the backstretch trying to flush out cover, proving to be an unsuccessful mission. Yannick Gingras gave him the cue to trot first over around the far turn and he would be on Royalty For Life’s wheel at the three-quarter pole, reached in 1:25.2 (:29).
Royalty For Life wasn’t asked for anything into the stretch. He was trotting easily on the lead, while Creatine was trying to shake lose from second and E L Rocket was not progressing in third. Royalty For Life went on to win the first elimination under a hand drive, in a 1:53.3 (:28.1) mile. Creatine was second, E L Rocket was third, Punxsutawney was fourth and Home Turf closed out the qualifying quintet.
Royalty For Life ($3.60) is a three-year-old colt by RC Royalty, out of the mare Bourbon ‘n Grits by Donerail. He is owned by Al Ross, Ray Campbell and Paul Fontaine, trained by George Ducharme and Brian Sears was in the bike behind the Hambletonian champion.
A change in tactics was a successful move for Your So Vain, leaving the gate on the sloppy going and being put on the lead at the half. He made his foes chase him around the final half of the race, as he took the second elimination in 1:54.4.
Lindy’s Tru Grit was the first to the pylons, securing command. Spider Blue Chip and Your So Vain left with him as the field entered the first turn. Spider Blue Chip ventured his way to the front just before the quarter, while Your So Vain tucked into third. Spider Blue Chip led by the quarter in :29.4.
High Bridge never saw the pylons and was first over in fifth entering the backstretch. He flushed out All Laid Out as cover at the three-eighths pole, which then forced Your So Vain out of third. Now first over, Your So Vain sprinted towards Spider Blue Chip and took command through a leisure half of :59 (:29.1).
All Laid Out was now left with the task to move first over entering the far turn. He came up to Your So Vain’s wheel at three-quarters, in 1:26.2 (:27.2). Spider Blue Chip was locked in the pocket down the stretch. Lindy’s Tru Grit had entered the flow around the turn and was fanning three wide with a bid. Spider Blue Chip managed to get some room to shake loose into the sixteenth pole, but Your So Vain had already secured the victory in 1:54.4 (:28.2). Spider Blue Chip finished second, All Laid Out was third, Lindy’s Tru Grit was fourth and Wheeling N Dealin finished fifth.
Your So Vain ($3.60) is a three-year-old colt by Donato Hanover, out of the mare Tennis Lover by Muscles Yankee. He is owned by P G Van Camp, trained by Bradley Maxwell and Tim Tetrick was in the sulky.
Listed below was the field for the second heat of the Kentucky Futurity.
1-Your So Vain-Tim Tetrick-Bradley Maxwell
2-Royalty For Life-Brian Sears-George Ducharme
3-Spider Blue Chip-Ron Pierce-Chuck Sylvester
4-Creatine-Mike Lachance-Bob Stewart
5-E L Rocket-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke
6-All Laid Out-David Miller-Noel Daley
7-Punxsutawney-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen
*8-Lindy’s Tru Grit-Scott Zeron-Frank Antonacci
*9-Wheeling N Dealin-Sylvain Filion-R. Dustin Jones
10-Home Turf-John Campbell-Noel Daley
* Dignifies scratched horses from the second heat of the Kentucky Futurity.
Within the blink of an eye, a late charging Creatine overtook race leader Royalty For Life to upset in the 121st running of the Kentucky Futurity, winning in 1:53.2.
Royalty For Life got the lead, with Spider Blue Chip trotting into the pocket and Your So Vain was racing in third. Royatly For Life led by the quarter in :27.4. All Laid Out made a move first over at the three-eighths pole and flushed Creatine as cover. Creatine then got cover from Your So Vain as Royalty For Life sprinted to the half in :55.4 (:28).
Your So Vain was slowly making his way to the leader into the far turn. Creatine was getting a second over trip, while Spider Blue Chip was gapping in the pocket third. Brian Sears pulled the plugs on Royalty For Life as Your So Vain wasn’t leaving without a fight through a 1:24 (:28.1) third panel.
Royalty For Life had a stampede charging him in the stretch. Spider Blue Chip managed to shake loose and split Your So Vain and Royalty For Life entering the eighth pole. Creatine fanned three wide, while third-over All Laid Out edged four wide. Creatine powered to the top within a matter of strides, soon to be under pressure from an upset-minded All Laid Out, but Creatine held off his challenge to light up the toteboard in 1:53.2 (:29.2). All Laid Out finished second, Spider Blue Chip was third and Your So Vain finished fourth.
Creatine ($33.80) is a three-year-old colt by Andover Hall, out of the mare Berry Nice Muscles by Muscles Yankee. He is owned by Diamond Creek Racing, trained by Bob Stewart and Mike Lachance was in the bike to win back to back Kentucky Futurities.