Second-to-last in the field of 11 through much of the race, Albaugh Family Stable's Brody's Cause would not be denied in the $500,000 Claiborne Breeders' Futurity Oct. 3 at Keeneland, unleashing a late drive to win the Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" event for the Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
Under the guidance of jockey Corey Lanerie, the Giant's Causeway colt moved up three-wide on the turn, sat fifth coming for home, and blew by favored grade II winner Exaggerator late to score by a length for trainer Dale Romans.
Sheikh of Sheikhs set opening fractions of :23.41 seconds. :47.33 seconds and 1:11.66 through six furlongs while under pressure on the rail from Rated R Superstar. He appeared to kick clear on the turn but faded harshly in the stretch, while Rated R Superstar rerallied to finish third.
Brody's Cause, nine lengths back early, hit the wire for 1-1/16 miles in 1:43.27 on a muddy main track.
"[He] broke very sharp and then settled in. He took a lot of dirt," Lanerie said. "Handled it great -- handled it like he'd done it a bunch of times. He was so professional -- never even blinked an eye about the dirt. He never even thought about backing out of it. I think the sky is the limit for him. Just the way he does things, he does it so easy."
Off at 11-1, the winner paid $25.60. $10.60, and $5.40 across the board. Exaggerator brought $4.60 and $3, while Rated R Superstar delivered $3.40 to show.
After an eighth-place finish -- 25 1/4 lengths back -- in his debut on turf at Ellis Park, Brody's Cause had a similar closing kick second time out in his dirt debut at Churchill Downs Sept. 1, going last to first to win a mile maiden special weight event. He now has $323,138 in earnings from just three starts.
"He's just a damn good horse," Romans said. "You can't train speed into them. He's fast. [We] felt that when we took him to Ellis Park first time. I didn't want to take him to Saratoga, where [the competition is] so tough on them. I wanted him to get a nice experience. He didn't run as well as we thought he would, but he came back and proved himself at Churchill."
Lanerie, aboard for the first time in the Breeders' Futurity, also got a tip from Romans in the Keeneland paddock.
"Dale told me in the paddock, every time he does something, [the] second time he does it, he's always better," Lanerie said. "I watched his race the other day, when he won, and he looked pretty impressive to me there. So if he got any better today, I thought I had a good shot."
Sticksstatelydude finished an even fourth, followed by Uncle Vinny, Sheikh of Sheikhs, Threefiveindia, Uncle Jerry, Gametown, Pinnacle Peak, and Wild Man.
Brody's Cause was bred in Kentucky, out of the Sahm mare Sweet Breanna.