Zito Pair, Tiger Hunt Aimed at Breeders' Futurity

A pair of Nick Zito-trained 2-year-olds and Team Valor's Tiger Hunt are the probable favorites from among those likely to go in Saturday's Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. II). According to Keeneland racing officials, the 1 1/16-miles, two-turn Breeders' Futurity will probably have a field of nine, perhaps 10.

The $400,000 Breeders' Futurity, won last year by Sky Mesa, hasn't produced a Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner since Favorite Trick in 1997, but it has proved to be a springboard for top runners later in their career. Recent winners include Cat Thief and Captain Steve in 1998 and 1999, respectively. Two years ago, Harlan's Holiday ran second to Siphonic.

Expected from Zito's barn are Buckram Oak Farm's Eurosilver and Robert Lapenta's The Cliff's Edge. Others figuring to start are Desert Patrol, Distressed Debt, Limehouse, Mass Media, Tiger Hunt, Victory Light, and War Image. Value Plus is listed as a possible starter by the track's racing office.

Eurosilver, a homebred son of Unbrilded's Song ran into a tough one in his Aug. 8 debut at Saratoga, finishing second to eventual Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) winner Silver Wagon. Returning at the Spa on the meet's closing day, Sept. 1, Eurosilver broke his maiden by 5 3/4 lengths going 6 1/2 furlongs. The Cliff's Edge also broke his maiden at Saratoga, then ran third in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III) at Turfway Park on Sept. 13. He was elevated to second via the disqualification of the winner, Pomeroy, who came out and bothered The Cliff's Edge slightly in upper stretch. The Cliff's Edge is a $200,000 Keeneland September sale graduate.

The morning-line favorite for the race will probably be Tiger Hunt, who came from 10 lengths off the pace to win the $200,000 Miller Genuine Draft Cradle Stakes at River Downs on Labor Day. The race was at the Breeders' Futurity distance, giving the son of Kris S. an experience edge. A maiden breaker first time out back on June 5, Tiger Hunt is is trained by Elliott Walden. Team Valor purchased him for $170,000 out of last August's Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale.

Walden also trains Victory Light, a bay colt from the first crop of Victory Gallop. In his last start, Sept. 14 at Woodbine, Victory Light was a closing second in the one-mile Summer Stakes on turf. He missed catching the winner, Bachelor Blues, by a neck.

Mass Media, by Touch Gold, ships to Keeneland from Louisiana Downs, where he won a six-furlong allowance race by a whopping 22 lengths last time out on Sept. 7. Cole Norman trains the colt for Gary and Mary West. Out of the Forty Niner mare Sultry Allure, Mass Media was a $65,000 Keeneland September sale yearling.