News and STORIES

Four Wheel Drive Takes Futurity Stakes At Belmont

Author: Don Mckee
Published: Monday October 07, 2019
Breeze Easy’s Four Wheel Drive pushed ahead in the stretch to take the $150,000 Futurity Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park on Sunday. He went up against five other horses in the field and swept past them to get his second career win. 

The Futurity on Sunday was a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event. With the victory, Four Wheel Drive received an automatic berth in the Juvenile Turf Sprint at Santa Anita in November. 

The Running

Four Wheel Drive broke from post 4 with jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. He came into the race as the 4/5 favorite, and he took the lead as they came out of the gate. Jack and Noah was able to eventually move up and take the lead along the outside. After pulling forward a few more lengths, Jack and Noah ran with opening fractions of :21.62 and :44.33. 

As the field went through the far turn, Four Wheel Drive and Ortiz Jr. were behind by a few lengths from the leader. After making sure nobody was coming up on them, the pair began to straighten out for home. Four Wheel Drive pushed forward and was able to keep moving ahead past Jack and Noah to take the lead. 

As they made their way in the stretch, Four Wheel Drive maintained the lead. He crossed the line three lengths ahead in first to win the Futurity Stakes. The Wesley Ward-trained horse had a final time of 1:08.07. 

Jockey Irad, Ortiz, Jr. spoke about Four Wheel Drive’s performance after the race. 

“I worked him before this race, and I put him behind horses,” said Ortiz, Jr. “He always worked good like that and relaxed. When I asked him, he would take off like an older horse. He has a good mind. So (today), I didn’t panic. I just let him break wherever he is comfortable and then go from there because I know he didn’t have to be on the lead. He relaxed well, and when I asked, he turned on.”

The Rest of the Field

Freewheeler finished in second by half a length, and he was followed by Embolden in third. Jack and Noah fell back and finished in fourth by a nose behind. Another Miracle finished in fifth a 1/2 length back, and Tomato Bill finished last to complete the order. 

Second Win for Four Wheel Drive

The Futurity Stakes was Four Wheel Drive’s second win after starting in multiple races. He finished first in the 5 1/2-furlong Rosie’s Stakes over the Colonial Downs turf on Aug. 31. His career earnings are now sitting at $142,500. 

Four Wheel Drive is the 2-year-old son of American Pharoah, who was the 2015 Triple Crown champion. 

Mike Hall, the co-owner of Breeze Easy, spoke about what’s next. 

“Hopefully, he comes out of the race well,” Hall said. “It will be our first Breeders’ Cup starter. We had Shang Shang Shang last year, but he came up a little off the day of the race, so hopefully this one makes the dream come true. The plan was for him to just sit chilly. Irad knew he had a lot of horse. He just made his move when he needed to.”

Four Wheel Drive paid $3.90 to win, $2.90 to place, and $2.30 to show. Freewheeler returned $4.90 to place and $3 to show, while Embolden brought back $2.90 to show.