Juba’s Notion seeks second straight in WV Futurity

Saturday’s $75,000 West Virginia Futurity for two-year-olds presents something you don’t see very often: a nearly even split of males and females in the race. Four of the nine entrants are fillies, while five are geldings.

The race, the final scheduled stake of the season at Charles Town, also could be a good one for the stallion Juba. He sired four of the nine scheduled runners.

The morning line favorite, in fact, is a Juba gelding. That’s Juba’s Notion, the 11-1 upset winner of last month’s West Virginia Vincent Moscarelli Memorial Breeders’ Classic, a race in which he wore down 6-5 favorite Honeyquist to score by three parts of a length. Honeyquist returned to be a very good second in the James Lewis, III Stakes at Laurel Park.

A homebred for trainer John A. Casey, Juba’s Notion will have Denis Araujo in the irons for the first time. Juba’s Notion has been in the money all five of his career outings, including two wins.

Two runners that Juba’s Notion decisively bested in the Moscarelli are slated to appear in this spot. Lord of Cork (10-1) finished fifth after challenging for the lead midway through the race in the Moscarelli, and here trainer James Casey will leg up Darius Thorpe, while Areyougonnakissme (6-1) finished sixth but returned to graduate in his follow-up. Reshawn Latchman will ride for owner-breeder-trainer John McKee.

Juba's Notion
Juba’s Notion won the WV Vincent Moscarelli Memorial Breeders’ Classic. Photo by Coady Photography.

In addition to Lord of Cork, James Casey is also scheduled to send out recent maiden winner No Love for Juba (9-2). Orlando Bocachica, back to riding races this year for the first time since 2018, has the mount.

There’s one maiden in the contest. That’s I’m the Money Man (3-1), a Ronald Sigler-trained (and -owned) son of Windsor Castle. He was a closing third on debut, just behind No Love for Juba, and will have Marshall Mendez in the irons.

Among the distaff set, the top contenders look to be Keep on Spurrin (8-1) and Juba’s Parade (10-1). The former, owned and trained by Kristy Petty, won at second asking and was third, beaten less than one length, last time out in the Eleanor Casey Memorial. The latter, from John Casey’s barn, was second two back in the WV Triple Crown Nutrition Breeders’ Classic in October but was a troubled fifth last out in the Eleanor Casey Memorial.

The Futurity is carded as the seventh race on an eight-race program. Projected post time is 10:02 p.m.