Keeneland's graded stakes races Saturday displayed a study of contrasts. About an hour after 9-year-old Bet On Sunshine closed from last place in the $166,470 Phoenix Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III) to earn his 21st victory from 41 starts, 2-year-old Siphonic led from start to finish in the $281,728 Lane's End Breeders' Futurity Stakes (gr. II).
In the six-furlong Phoenix, Bet On Sunshine dropped back over eight lengths behind the lead before rallying to win by 1 3/4 lengths over Robin de Nest, completing the distance in 1:09.65 on a fast track.
While the old gelding did his best running late, Siphonic dueled for the lead from the start in the 1 1/16-mile Breeders' Futurity before pulling away to a six-length win over 10 other juveniles. Siponic stopped the timer at 1:43.79.
Both Bet On Sunshine and Siphonic were the second betting choice in their respective races. Bet On Sunshine returned $4.60 and $2.60, while Siphonic paid $9.20, $5.40, and $4.60.
Erlton finished 4 1/2 lengths behind Robin de Nest in the Phoenix. Crucible came home fourth, ahead of only 6-5 favorite Snow Ridge.
"This old horse runs like a 3-year-old," said winning jockey Calvin Borel. "I thought he had all the chance to win today. I love this horse. He has a laid back style, which is my style. He gives you a 3-year-old burst of speed."
Florida-bred Bet On Sunshine (Bet Big--My Own Sunshine, by In Reality) earned $166,470 for the win to increase his career earnings just over $1.4 million. The win marks the third graded stakes win for Bet On Sunshine, who also won two renewals of the Aristides Handicap (gr. III). Bet On Sunshine won a running of the Phoenix while it was a listed stakes race, finished third twice (1996, '99) and finished third in last year's renewal prior to a third-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I). He also finished third in the 1997 BC Sprint, just after winning the Phoenix. He is trained by Paul McGee for owner David P. Holloway Racing. Janet Gomez bred Bet On Sunshine.
Siphonic's race history is much shorter than Bet On Sunshine's. Prior to the Breeders' Futurity, Siphonic raced one time, winning a Del Mar maiden race by 1 3/4 lengths. His win Saturday marks the first stakes win as a sire for Siphon. Siphonic earned $281,728 for Mr. and Mrs. John Amerman, who purchased the winner for $210,000 at the 2000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. He was bred in Kentucky by Hermitage Farm LLC and Walter Freeman.
Trainer David Hofmans said he will talk with the owner and then decide if Siphonic will tackle undefeated Officer in the $1-million Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Belmont Park on October 27. By winning the Breeders' Futurity, Siphonic became eligible to earn a $1.3-million bonus should he go on to win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and next year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I), a bonus Officer became eligible for by winning the Sept. 5 Del Mar Futurity.
Harlan's Holiday finished second in the Futurity, two lengths ahead of Metatron. Crimson Hero, Request for Parole, Gold Dollar, Kamsack, Burnt Ember, Sunkosi, Fine and Dandy, and Juggeraut completed the order of finish.
"He just galloped around there," said winning jockey Chris McCarron. "When that horse (Harlan's Holiday) came up along side of us down the backside, I let out a notch. He ran for about 50 yards and his ears came up. Whew. Did he sail out when I asked him to run. He's got great acceleration. He won very easily."
While the Phoenix exacta returned $12, the exacta in the Breeders' Futurity was worth a more generous $70.60.