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2010 Cashcall Futurity Features More Than JP's Gusto

The media seem to be playing this one up as all about JP’s Gusto (Successful Appeal) and whether or not he can actually handle a classic distance but a quick examination of the betting market for the 2010 Cashcall Futurity reveals a much more dynamic race than the pundits would lead you to believe.

The David Hofmans-trained two year-old had a disappointing run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile but it was a switch to dirt from the synthetics that he has flourished on in the past so you can chalk that one up as a bit of experience for next May, perhaps.

The race has been a bit of a kingmaker for a number of left coast two year-olds with the likes of Lookin at Lucky (Smart Strike) and Pioneerof The Nile (Empire Maker) taking the last two editions of this contest.

Ronin Dax (Tapit) has a few forgettable performances at the Grade 3 level and he’ll need a major step up if he’s going to make a statement here. The Dutrow-trained Rustler Hustler (Ecton Park) is a dynamic, though unassuming, chestnut who comes in with two ungraded stakes turf scores to his credit. It’s all about how he handles the switch from grass to synthetic but recent workouts indicate he will enjoy the Hollywood surface.

Gary Mandella’s Slammer Time (Grand Slam) will be running on his home surface and he boasts an ungraded score in the Bob Benoit California Cup Juvenile. The stretch out in distance isn’t too pronounced here but it will be interesting to see how he handles the extra furlong. High Level Jeff (Vindication) was a disappointing fifth in the Hollywood Prevue Stakes when sent off as the lukewarm favourite.

A real contender to steal JP’s Gusto’s gusto is the talented Clubhouse Ride (Candy Ride) who is by an extremely versatile sire whose offspring tend to rock and roll a bit harder out west. He scored in maiden special weight company back at Del Mar in August before jumping onto the county fair circuit to conquer the Barretts Juvenile at Fairplex. He shipped into Delta Downs for the Grade 3 Jackpot Stakes and acquitted himself pretty well to finish third well outside his comfort zone. He has shown great form on synthetic and should be a real threat to JP.

The biggest potential spoiler looks to be the impressive Gourmet Dinner (Trippi) who won the aforementioned Delta Downs Jackpot at a hefty 20/1 to prove that he genuinely was the real deal. Previously campaigned at Calder, he took the Affirmed Stakes over dirt and finished a close second by 1.5 lengths in the In Reality Stakes. He was a odds-on favourite in each of those scores. Question marks remain over how he handles the fake stuff but with the pile of earnings he’s sitting on right now, you would be crazy to discount him at the outset. Watch for him to make a very nice pre-race appearance.

Riveting Reason (Fusaichi Pegasus) is a bit of a quirky one who had a few kicks at the Grade 1 can out west before inexplicably shipping to Churchill and finishing eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He returned back to Hollywood and broke his maiden about three weeks later against fairly forgettable company. This is a major step up, but his ambitious stable seems to think he’s capable.

Industry Leader (Cherokee Run) took the place in the Hollywood Prevue but will need to tackle much more talented company in this one. He’ll get a bit of respect on the board but you wonder how he’ll handle two turns.

The final entry is another real threat to the favourites as the well-monikered gelding Comma To The Top (Bwana Charlie) will keep his partnership with Corey Nakatani going. He will be looking for his third Hollywood score on the bounce with a very impressive 6¼ length victory in the ungraded Real Quiet Stakes and then following it up with a Grade 3 victory in the Generous Stakes. The former race was on the cushion track while the latter ran on turf. He’s another diverse contender with lots to prove. 

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