Trainer Todd Pletcher seeks to continue his winning ways with 2-year-olds when he saddles Value Plus in Sunday's $200,000 Futurity (gr. I) at Belmont Park. The one-mile test will be Value Plus' first race since blowing away a field of maidens at Saratoga July 26. The son of Unbridled's Song won by nearly nine lengths that day. Pletcher has already taken five stakes for 2-year-olds this year.
"We weren't surprised by his effort," Pletcher said. "He had trained well, and even though we're taking a big jump into grade I company, I think he's an exceptional colt."
Value Plus will have to tangle with the talented Cuvee, the only stakes winner in the Futurity. The Carson City colt took the Saratoga Special (gr. II) over sloppy going Aug. 13. Irish invader Tumblebrutus, a half-brother to Giant's Causeway, will be making his North American debut in the Futurity. He will be trying dirt for the first time. All runners will carry 120 pounds.
The field for the Futurity, in post position order with trainers and jockeys:
1) Flushing Meadows, Eoin Harty (David Flores)
2) Tumblebrutus, Aidan O'Brien (Edgar Prado)
3) Distressed Debt, Richard Violette (Shaun Bridgmohan)
4) Cuvee, Steve Asmussen (Jerry Bailey)
5) El Prado Rob, Nick Zito (Javier Castellano)
6) Value Plus, Todd Pletcher (John Velazquez)
7) Tabacchi, Terry Pompay (Joe Bravo)