Locked Secures Breeders’ Cup Berth In Breeders’ Futurity by Joe Nevills|10.07.202310.07.2023|6:25pm8:32pm Locked winning the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland Locked made a successful jump to graded stakes competition on Saturday and established himself as one of the horses to beat in next month's Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) with a hard-fought triumph in the Grade 1, $500,000 Breeders' Futurity (G1) at Keeneland. The son of Gun Runner was kept wide through the first trip past the wire, and into the first turn after breaking from the outside post, while longshot Baytown Chatterbox led the field through an opening quarter-mile in :24.47, chased by West Saratoga. Baytown Chatterbox was overtaken at the top of the backstretch by Just Steel on the outside, while jockey Jose Ortiz kept Locked out of the fray in second-to-last. Just Steel, several paths wide, maintained the lead at the half-mile point, clocking in at :48.23, with Baytown Chatterbox and West Saratoga giving chase. Baytown Chatterbox regained the lead from his inside spot as he and Just Steel entered the final turn, but the leader quickly faltered and shuffled back into a tightly bunched pack as Just Steel re-assumed the lead. Meanwhile, Ortiz took Locked widest of all, and began looping around the field as they approached the final straightaway. He met new leader The Wine Steward at the top of the stretch and they locked horns at the quarter pole. Locked and The Wine Steward, under jockey Luis Saez, traded advantages as the final poles passed, and after conceding a slight lead to The Wine Steward, Locked found more in the final sixteenth of Keeneland's short stretch and outkicked The Wine Steward to win by a half-length. Generous Tipper was 3 3/4 lengths behind the runner-up in third. “You like to think it moves them forward,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “He was hung out very wide on both turns. He didn't have a real easy trip, but he's talented enough to overcome it.” Locked completed the 1 1/16-mile race in 1:45.06 over a fast main track. He paid $3.52 to win as the overwhelming favorite. Pletcher trained Locked for owners Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Walmac Farm. The Breeders' Futurity bookended a massive weekend at Keeneland for Pletcher and Eclipse, who teamed up to send Candied to the winner's circle in the Grade 1 Alcibiades Stakes, securing a “Win and You're In” spot for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). “To be able to execute those game plans over the course of 24 hours is just a testament to our program, our partners who support us,” said Aron Wellman of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners. “Gary Broad (of Walmac Farm) gave us an incredible opportunity last fall to buy some yearlings, and we partnered with him on Locked. Todd and his program, what can you say? Of course, Luis yesterday (aboard Candied) and Jose today just put up top-notch rides.” Saturday's victory improved Locked's record to two wins in three career starts and earnings of $428,400. He entered the Breeders' Futurity off a 7 1/4-length triumph in a Saratoga maiden special weight on Sept. 1, making up for a troubled debut at the same track a month earlier, where he finished third after being knocked to the back of the pack early on. “He has been a stud from the day we broke him at Ocala Stud and turned him over to Todd,” Wellman said. “He quickly asserted himself as probably the best colt that was at Ocala Stud. They were very high on him down there, and he trained very forwardly all winter and spring, then as soon as we got him to Todd, we knew this was a horse that would be excelling when we got him around two turns.” Locked was bred in Kentucky by Rosa Colasanti. He is out of the winning Malibu Moon mare Luna Rosa and sold to the Eclipse/Walmac partnership for $425,000 at the 2022 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, where Eaton Sale consigned him. With an automatic berth to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile in his back pocket, Locked will attempt to replicate the success of Forte, who turned the Breeders' Futurity/Juvenile double last year en route to the Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old male. Essential Quality took the same route to an Eclipse Award in 2020. Locked also picked up 10 qualifying points for next year's Kentucky Derby (G1), making him an early leader in the race to make the gate in the first leg of the Triple Crown.