December 1, 2022

Sky’s Not Falling heads juvenile turf sprinters in Futurity; Royal Approval the one to beat in Matron

Royal Approval breaking her maiden at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 9 (c) Coady Photo

Multiple stakes-placed Sky’s Not Falling will seek a guaranteed berth to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) in Sunday’s $100,000 Futurity (G3) at Belmont Park.

The final “Win & You’re In” Breeders’ Cup challenge series race of 2020, the Futurity has attracted 11 2-year-olds, including a pair of main-track only runners, for 6 furlongs on the turf.

Sunday’s 10-race program also features the $100,000 Matron (G3) for 2-year-old fillies sprinting on turf, and smashing maiden winner Royal Approval tops eight runners.

Sky’s Not Falling won his career debut on the main track and switched to turf two starts later with a third in the Skidmore S. at Saratoga. A Maryland-bred son of Seville, the Michael Trombetta-trained gelding exits a close second in the Sept.19 Ontario Racing S. on the Woodbine Mile undercard. Sky’s Not Falling will break from the rail with new jockey Luis Saez.

Wesley Ward has three entered. After Five will keep Irad Ortiz Jr. in the saddle following a rallying nose second to stablemate Trade Deal in his Sept. 10 debut at Kentucky Downs. Trade Deal will add Junior Alvarado after his game front-running maiden score in his second start. Gypsy King, a turf maiden winner at Ellis two back and fifth in the Sept. 7 More Than Ready Juvenile S. at Kentucky Downs, completes the Ward trio.

Country Final, a stakes winner and second in the Bashford Manor (G3) on dirt, merits respect for Steve Asmussen following a fourth in the Sept. 12 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf S. Jose Ortiz has the call. Momos goes turf-to-dirt for Christophe Clement after a non-threatening third in the Aug. 7 Saratoga Special (G2), and Newbomb will try the grass for Todd Pletcher after a third as the favorite in a muddy maiden special weight event at Saratoga. English maiden victor Bright Devil will make his first U.S. start for new trainer Mark Casse.

In the Matron, Royal Approval should be a solid favorite for Ward and Irad Ortiz after her superb 6 1/4-length maiden triumph at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 9. The Tiznow filly finished second to stablemate Campanelle in her first start at Gulfstream in late May, but was unplaced to the same rival in the Queen Mary (G2) at Royal Ascot four weeks later. Royal Approval will be forwardly placed on Sunday.

Niente will invade from Parx after leading wire-to-wire on July 29 in her lone start. She held on to defeat Vequist, who came to win the Spinaway (G1) by 9 1/2 lengths and is a top contender in Saturday’s Frizette (G1) at Belmont, and Niente is bred for the surface switch. By freshman sire Not This Time, a son of Giant’s Causeway, Niente is a half-sister to a pair of turf winners. Jose Lezcano picks up the mount for Juan Vasquez.

Fabricate and Union Gables will switch to turf following stakes-placings on dirt, and two-time English winner Magisterium will make her U.S. debut for new conditioner Clement.