There were five 2-year-olds entered in the $196,000 Futurity Stakes (gr. II) (VIDEO) Sept. 29 at Belmont Park, but it turned out to be a two-horse race as fast-developing In Trouble topped favored Corfu for a comfortable 2 1/4-length victory.
With Joe Rocco Jr. aboard, In Trouble ran six furlongs in 1:09.64, nearly a second faster than 2-year-old fillies ran in the Matron Stakes (gr. II) a race earlier.
In Trouble, winner of a key maiden special weight heat Aug. 10 at Saratoga Race Course in his debut, is now 2-for-2 for trainer Tony Dutrow and owner Team D.
"Having done this a long time, I was looking forward to today," Dutrow said. "I was feeling that we have a talented horse and I'm not surprised at what I saw. I wasn't predicting this, but I'm not surprised. He's pretty good."
Leaving from the rail, In Trouble, the 5-2 second choice, had the lead out of the gate before overtaken by Corfu, the 9-5 pick with John Velazquez aboard. Corfu, who stumbled a bit out of the gate, clipped off quick quarter-mile splits of :22.09 and :44.75 while opening a 2 1/2-length advantage over In Trouble as the rest of field fell in behind.
In Trouble responded to urging from Rocco to challenge on the outside in the stretch and reached even terms with the Corfu past the furlong marker. He took over with a sixteenth of a mile to run and was kept to his task by Rocco while widening his lead to the wire.
Rocco said he was able to get In Trouble, a son of Tiz Wonderful, to rate kindly before launching the winning bid.
"He broke really sharp, and I'd rather be outside dictating when we can move than be inside and be under someone else who can force us," Rocco said. "It worked out when I saw I could get behind (Corfu) and get outside of him, that's when I went outside and did it."
Dutrow said In Trouble is to point for the Nashua Stakes (gr. II) Nov. 3 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
"This was the second race of his life and he was able to relax and give up the lead and finish up against quality horses," Dutrow said. "I think that's a big statement for him."
Bred in Kentucky by Joseph Duffel, In Trouble is the second foal–and first winner–from the winning Grand Slam mare Ballpark Butterfly. An RNA as a weanling at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale in November 2011, he sold for $15,000 to Grassroots Training & Sales at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October yearling sale in 2012 through consignor Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services.
Team D purchased the 2-year-old colt for $120,000 in March at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. 2-year-olds in training sale.
Corfu, the winner of the Saratoga Special (gr. II) who was coming off a ninth-place finish after setting the pace in the muddy Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) Sept. 2, could not match the winner but held second by one length over Big Sugar Soda. The latter closed willingly for Jose Lezcano while chasing the first two in third throughout. Financial Mogul and Sound of Freedom trailed.
"He got out fast," Velazquez said of Corfu, who is trained by Todd Pletcher. "The problem was the first eighth of a mile I had to use him to clear (In Trouble) and then I came up a little bit short down the lane. It was a very good effort, very good."
In Trouble carried 118 pounds, four fewer than Corfu, and paid $7, $3.50, and $2.20. Corfu returned $2.70 and $2.20 while capping a $22.40 exacta. Big Sugar Soda paid $2.40. Wired Bryan scratched.