Scrap Copper, Our Braintrust head Maryland Juvenile Futurity
Scrap Copper was up to win the James F. Lewis, III Stakes. Photo by Maryland Jockey Club.
From a Maryland Jockey Club release
Kathleen Willier’s Scrap Copper, professional winner of the James F. Lewis III Stakes last month, and Tremont Stakes winner Our Braintrust, undefeated but unraced since early June, will meet up for the first time on their home track in Saturday’s $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Futurity at Laurel Park.
The 37th running of the Juvenile Futurity for two-year-olds and the 33rd renewal of the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship for two-year-old fillies, both at seven furlongs, are among three stakes for Maryland-bred/sired horses worth $275,000 in purses on the nine-race program.
Also on tap is the $75,000 Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs, where Grade 3-placed Laki makes his return in a field that includes fellow multiple stakes winners Lewisfield, Greatbullsoffire and Talk Show Man.
First race post time is 12:30 p.m.
Scrap Copper drew Post 4 and will have Laurel’s fall meet-leading rider Trevor McCarthy aboard for the third straight race. A debut winner going 5 ½ furlongs July 22 at Laurel, the Great Notion colt was beaten a nose in the historic Laurel Futurity on turf Sept. 22 before returning to dirt for the Maryland Million Nursery. In that race, his only time sent off as the favorite, he lost all chance after stumbling badly at the start and wound up seventh.
In the six-furlong Lewis Nov. 10, Scrap Copper bounced back with a strong break and four-wide move to reel in Nursery winner Follow the Dog and surge past to win by three-quarters of a length.
“The race in the Maryland Million, he went right down on his nose and then he was boxed in and he had no chance to run. We threw that race out and thankfully he came back and ran big,” trainer Hamilton Smith said. “It wasn’t anybody’s fault. He just took a bad step leaving there and that was that. That’s part of racing.
“The last race he ran real good. He sat off the lead a little bit and when [McCarthy] asked him he went on about his business. The jock was real pleased with the way he ran, and so was I,” he added. “The way he won the race he indicated he could handle a little more distance and that’s what we’re hoping for all along, trying to get him to go long. He’s going into the race good, so we look for him to run a good race.”
Our Braintrust ends a six-month break between starts for trainer Cal Lynch, who co-owns the Freud colt with Smith Farm and Stable. He has won each of his two starts by the same three-quarter-length margin – a 4 ½-furlong maiden special weight May 3 at Laurel and the 5 ½-furlong Tremont, where he chased the pace along the inside and found room late to prevail.
Jorge Vargas Jr., aboard for the maiden victory, gets the return call from Post 2. Our Braintrust tuned up for the Futurity with a bullet five-furlong move in 59.60 seconds out of the gate Nov. 30, fastest of 13 horses, and galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.
“He’s been training really well. He had a good work here last weekend. I was very pleased with him. He galloped out strong and that’s kind of what I was looking for,” Lynch said. “I think Scrap Copper is the horse to beat, but our horse is doing well. He’s coming off a little bit of a break, for sure, but he’s run well fresh. He won first time out so I don’t think it will be a problem for him.”
Sky Magician and Outofthepark, second and third, respectively, in the Nursery; Alwaysmining, exiting a front-running 10-length optional claiming allowance win Oct. 27; Thatwouldbegrand, V.I.P. Ticket and first-out winner Trifor Gold complete the field.
NOTE: An earlier version of this story called Trifor Gold a “first-time starter.” We regret the error.