(Second of July winning the G3 Futurity / Photo Courtesy of NYRA)
From the NYRA Media Team:
After springing a 68-1 upset in his career debut, Bryan Hilliard’s Second of July again outran his odds displaying off-the-pace tactics to score a 15-1 victory in Sunday’s 130th running of the Grade 3, $100,000 Futurity going six furlongs over the Widener turf at Belmont Park.
In taking the Futurity, Second of July earned an all-fees paid entry into the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint on November 6 at Keeneland.
Trained by Phillip Gleaves, Second of July was further off the pace in the Futurity than he was in his September 20 maiden special weight victory over Belmont’s inner turf, where he was 1 ½ lengths off the lead before surging to win by three-quarters of a length. On Sunday, the chestnut son of Jack Milton settled in sixth under jockey Dylan Davis while Momos and Gypsy King wrestled for control of the pace through opening fractions of 22.10 and 45.45 over the firm turf.
The field was tightly packed as they made their way around the far turn, where Second of July was trying to find real estate. Just past the quarter pole, Davis tipped one path to the outside and in the clear and began asking more from his charge. On the front end, Momos and Gypsy King were still duking it out with County Final to their outside with a chance as Second of July bid five-wide in the stretch.
After Five unleashed a late bid to the far outside, but Second of July made his way to the front just inside the sixteenth pole and came home a half-length winner in a time of 1:09.33. After Five, who was last at the top of the stretch in search of racing room, took second as the beaten favorite over Momos, who ran third against graded stakes company for a second straight time.
Davis, who piloted Second of July to both of his victories, said he felt a difference in the horse’s maturity level from his first start.
“The first time out, he was pretty green about everything,” Davis said. “Today, he was very professional and I hope he will be third time out. He was a lot better with the gate and the pony and the whole race scenario. He was a lot better for me. First time out, there were some heavy hitters and that’s why he was a longshot. He ran great that day and he ran well again today. He was moving up in class and we were asking a lot of him. Phil did a great job getting him here.”
Second of July rewarded his backers with $2 win payouts of $33 as the highest price in the seven-horse field. Banking $55,000 in victory, he increased his earnings to $89,650 being unbeaten in two starts.
Gleaves said he was cautiously optimistic in his horse’s chances.
“I knew he was very fit and sharp and doing good, so I knew he would run his race, but I just wasn’t sure if it was going to be good enough, but it turned out to be,” Gleaves said. “I was happy to see he had so much horse coming around the turn and at that point I knew we were going to run well. He just wore them down. Dylan does such a great job. There would be no reason to change things at the Breeders’ Cup.”
Gleaves said a trip to the Breeders’ Cup is likely in play.
“All being well and if the horse is OK, we will head to the Breeders’ Cup,” Gleaves said.
Completing the order of finish were County Final, Gypsy King, Trade Deal and Bright Devil. Sky’s Not Falling, Newbomb, Kentucky Knight and Nutsie were scratched.
A Kentucky homebred, Second of July is named after owner Bryan Hilliard’s son Reed’s date of birth and is the third offspring out of the Curlin mare Wichita.