The son of Violence’s saddling-ring antics were of no concern to Todd Pletcher’s assistant Amelia Green.
“Todd warned me this morning that in Saratoga he was exactly like that,” Green said, referring to his behavior before winning the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes Sept. 5. “He didn’t do anything bad you could just see he was on edge and ready to go.”
Once the starting gates opened, however, the prancing colt turned his mind to business. Angled in toward the inside under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., Forte raced comfortably in seventh position behind a tightly bunched first flight of rivals led by Loggins.
Loggins, a $460,000 yearling purchase from the barn of trainer Brad Cox, was, like Forte, also making his two-turn debut in the Breeders’ Futurity. The son of Ghostzapper turned in a dazzling performance at first asking three weeks before in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight at Churchill Downs.
The fractions were fast and furious early as the 14 juveniles wove and weaved their way around the Keeneland oval through a :22.94 opening quarter-mile and :46.36 half-mile. Loggins continued to pick up the tempo into the final turn, opening up a one-length advantage as the charge hit the top of the lane with the six-furlongs raced in 1:11.63.
Forte meanwhile was forced to tip four wide into the bend and swooped into contention at the quarter pole. Thrusting a head in front of Loggins and Florent Geroux with two furlongs left to run, the colt shouldered his rival the entire length of the stretch. Loggins, despite the pressure, refused to bend but at the finish line Forte was the narrow victor in a time of 1.44.74 on a fast main track.
“[Loggins] ran a good race, I’m proud of him,” Cox said of runner-up Loggins. “He did all the dirty work. It did get tight I don’t if it was the right call, it doesn’t matter. That’s the decision made but it’s all good we will regroup and see what happens.”—Molly Rollins