Pre-entries were released for the Breeders’ Cup on Wednesday.For links to free PPs and race videos of all Juvenile entrants click here. Information on the Juvenile Turf (G2) and new Juvenile Sprint will be available later.
With Breeders’ Cup less than two weeks away, the
current top Juveniles are preparing with gallops, jogs, and breezes//Presumed
favorite Union Rags had an almost casual breeze at Fair Hill, but trainer
Michael Matz seems pleased with where he is// Take Charge Indy, a dark-horse
candidate in the Juvenile who has only raced on synthetic, apparently relishes
the dirt at Churchill// Trinniberg also put in a solid work that has his
connections much closer to paying the late nomination fee for the Juvenile
Sprint// CTD Notable Performer Me and My Gals tragically broke down Saturday
during training at Churchill. The son of Sky Mesa broke his maiden impressively
at Hoosier Park and was apparently being pointed to the BC Sprint.
S. (G3): News, entries (when
available), PPs, here
City, Hollywood Script, Mark Valeski, Purely Determined and Seven
10/22/11 Bertram F. Bongard S.- BEL- Winner: Night Maneuverchart
10/22/11 Sun Power S.- HAW- Winner: Sweet Lucachart
10/22/11 Jean Lafitte S.- DED- Winner: My Adonischart
10/23/11 Crown Ambassador S.- HOO- Winner: Mack The Slewchart
10/19/11 Drill SA- 5F- 59:40- H- 4/39
10/21/11 State of Play KEE- 5F- 1.01:60- B- 19/40
BEL- 4F- 49:27- B- 32/86
10/22/11 Majestic City SA- 4F- 47:60- H- 1/4 (Turf)
A quiet week as far as
racing is concerned in the Juvenile division.No graded stakes over the weekend and none in the near
future as attention is focused on preparations for the Breeders Cup// Currency
Swap, impressive winner of the Hopeful (G1), was ruled out of the Juvenile (G1)
with an ankle chip.He’ll be
pointed to the Fountain Of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream on February 26, if recovery
goes as planned// Union Rags is the lone Derby favorite at 15-1 in the Wynn Las
Vegas Sports book, with Creative Cause second choice at 18-1// Steve Haskin says the
runners of the Breeders Futurity at Keeneland could make some noise further
down the road.He particular
mentions Optimizer as a BC Juvenile upset shot, while I’m going to monitor Take
Charge Indy’s dirt works// The prospective Breeders’ Cup Juvenile field did get
a possible late contender with Fort Loudon’s impressive win in the In Reality
Stakes at Calder Saturday. Owner Fred Brei believes Florida juveniles are just
as good as those in the other circuits, but he’ll have a hard time getting
backers considering the slow overall time and low speed figure from Saturday’s
is a list of probables and questionables for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1),
but be forewarned it changes every day:
Union Rags, Alpha, Creative Cause, Drill, Hansen
Fort Loudon, Dullahan, J C’s Pride, Secret Circle, Prospective, Majestic City,
Ruler of Dubai, Trinniberg, Big Blue Nation, Laurie’s Rocket, Basmati,
Optimizer, Take Charge Indy.
State Dash- DEL- Winner: Jack’s In The DeckNP- chart
10/15/11 Cup And Saucer S.- WO- Winner: Hard Not To
10/15/11 Keeneland 75th Anniversary S.- KEE-
Winner: Luke Of York- chart
10/15/11 Juvenile S.- TDN- Winner: License To
10/15/11 FL Stallion In Reality S.- CRC- Fort
10/15/11 WV V. Moscarelli Memorial Breeders'
Classic- CT- Winner: Paco Smart-chart
10/15/11 El Joven S.- RET- Winner: Tequila Factorchart
Palmer Futurity- FNO- Winner: Longview Drive-chart
Creative Cause HOL- 5F- 59:40-
Tarpy's Goal BEL- 5F- 1.02:94-
Stark Ravin Mad HAW- 5F-
1.03:00- B- 1/4 (Good)
Whether the name is an ode to the oft-quoted cult
movie “The Big Lebowski” or not, Calmer Than You didn’t necessarily live up to
his name or the laid back demeanor of The Dude. Hustled to the lead in the
early running, Calmer Than You extended his lead with almost every stride of
the race eventually winning by over 10 lengths.
The race was a rapid improvement from his first try
almost two months ago.Whether he
can step up in class is a mystery at this point, but he could prefer a stretch
out in distance being the son of Congrats, a stakes winner at 8.5 furlongs and
stakes placed at 10 furlongs. The dam is a half sister to Love Of Money, winner
of the 9 furlong Pennsylvania Derby
Calmer Than You was a $175,000 purchase at the June
2-year-olds in training sale. His catalog page can be view here
Top winning 2yo BRIS figs last week: Secret Circle
- 103; Coalition - 97; Calmer Than You - 95; Jenna's Wabbit - 9
Winning 2yo Beyers last week: Secret Circle - 97;
Coalition - 79; Calmer Than You - 88; Jenna's Wabbit – 79
Union Rags winning Champagne Stakes at Belmont. Photo: HorsePhotos.com
weekend showcased both the highs and lows of horse racing and the Kentucky
Derby Trail.We had a gutsy and
triumphant victory by Union Rags in New York, which solidified his favoritism
going into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.On the other side of the coin, we were reminded how perilous the sport
can be when jockey Julien Leparoux and his mount Here Comes Frazier flew over
the Keeneland rail down the stretch in the Bourbon Stakes//
You can read plenty of detailed accounts
of Union Rags’s gallant trip in the Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont, in which
he was bottled up and altered course several times before breaking through to a
5 1/4 length win.The effort
proved he has the guts and ability to overcome trouble, a trait that is
invaluable in the full fields of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Kentucky
What you won’t read is any concern of
the toll the race took on the young colt. While it wasn’t the roughest of
trips, he did check several times and you have to wonder why Castellano rode
the horse so hard once he was clear and even beyond the wire.
Early reports indicate Union Rags came
out of the race well and cleaned his feed tub.The workout tab leading up to the Breeders’ Cup should tell
us more. If there are any skipped weeks or laborious visual cues or times, it
may warrant considering other contenders with more value.If he doesn’t miss a beat however, he’s
my pick for the winner and eventual 2 year-old Champion.You can read more on Union Rags’s
pedigree from the Aug 16th entry here.
Alpha finished second, which is
admirable especially considering it was just his second career race and still
appeared somewhat green by taking awhile to get engaged.
Dullahan, a 17-1 longshot maiden, began
the Dixiana Breeders Futurity (G1) near the back of the pack under a strong
hold from jockey Kent Desormeaux.The new tactic paid off for him, but was much aided by the quick pace up
front set by Musical Flair, Ancil, and Majestic City.Desormeaux guided Dullahan on the outside and started
aggressively working on him before the winning stretch run.
The big question will be where
Dullahan goes next.He earned a
trip to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, but his past performances suggest he’s
better suited to polytrack or turf. His two maiden special efforts on dirt were
a 3rd and 5th place finish by a combined 16 lengths back.
Dullahan is most notably a half
brother to 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird.He was a $250,000 purchase and his catalog page can be found
Majestic City NP hung on
for a second place finish only passed by Dullahan in the final strides, which
was an impressive performance considering he was involved in the brisk early
fractions.His next move will also
be interesting considering his dirt and distance questions.
The footsteps of
upset Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird were also felt Sunday at Woodbine,
in the annual running of the Grey Stakes (G3), a race he won in 2008.The 2011 edition was conquered by
Prospective, the 4th choice on the board who had only a maiden special win on
behind the pacesetters, Prospective handled the 1 1/16 miles very
professionally by pulling away when it meant the most.Trainer Mark Casse swept the trifecta
with Lockout and Bluedacious finishing behind the winner. Casse said Lockout
and Prospective are headed to Louisville, although the exact Breeders’ Cup
juvenile race was not mentioned for either.
son of Malibu Moon, was a $250,000 purchase as a yearling and is the first foal
for stakes winner Spirited Away.His catalog page can be viewed here
Sunday’s Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland was most notable for the freaky occurrence
of Here Comes Frazier bolting over the rail.Fortunately it appears the horse will be ok, although his
racing career is most likely over. Jockey Julien Leparoux passed the MRI on his
arm with flying colors and will resume riding at Keeneland this week.
As for the
winner of the Bourbon Stakes, Animal Spirits ridden by Robby Albarado took the
outside path for his well-measured score. He was yet another juvenile who broke
his maiden in a graded stakes.Trainer Al Stall was non-committal on next race plans but the Breeders’
Cup Juvenile Turf seems to be the logical race.
Spirit was a $50,000 Keeneland Yearling purchase. He’s the son of Arch, who
sired last year’s Breeders Cup Classic winner Blame.On the dam side he shows just as much promise and long
distance capabilities.The dam
Pennant Champion is a full sister to three stakes winners including Our Emblem
who was the dam of 2002 Kentucky Derby winner War Emblem.Animal Spirit’s sales page can be
Breeders’ Cup “Preview Weekend” offered a plethora of enticing divisional contests, including three among the Juvenile group. The main attraction was no doubt the Norfolk (G1) at Santa Anita where Creative Cause turned the tables on Drill// The other graded stakes probably have no bearing on the main Breeders Cup Juvenile (G1) at 1 1/16 miles on dirt, but it’s early and there’s time for stretching out or switching surfaces when the calendar flips to 2012 and the real Derby Trail begins// The latest future odds for next year’s Kentucky Derby were released, with Creative Cause and Union Rags the early co-favorites. Interesting that just behind them at 30-1 is Alpha, a Saratoga maiden winner who will race in Saturday’s Champagne (G1) at Belmont against Union Rags and others// The Champagne is one of four graded races on tap for this coming weekend. All info for those races can be found on the “Upcoming Page” here// Be sure to check out Matt Gardner’s latest column on handicapping Juveniles on the blog And Down The Stretch They Come// more...
While the Del Mar Futurity (G1) was a hotly contested finish between the top three finishers, the Norfolk (G1) just over three weeks later turned out to be a much more commanding display, albeit by a different winner. Creative Cause was able to reverse his fortune on Saturday and become the first multiple graded winner in the Juvenile division.
Whether it was the switch to a dirt surface, the added distance of 1 1/16 miles, or an easier trip, Creative Cause was much the best as he cruised to a 3 3/4 length victory over the favorite and Del Mar Futurity (G1) winner Drill. Jockey Joel Rosario kept Creative Cause just behind the pacesetter Ruler Of Dubai before loosening the reins just before the final turn. The victor appeared to change his lead a tad late, but it didn’t matter as he drew off from the five challengers down the stretch.
Bob Baffert was his usual vocal self afterwards lamenting the lackadaisical ride Martin Garcia gave Drill. It would have been interesting to see him closer to the pace, but not sure it would have greatly affected the outcome. We could get the definitive answer in four weeks when they meet again in Louisville.
Ruler of Dubai completed the trifecta for a measly $16 payout. For more info on Creative Cause’s breeding check out our earlier feature on him here
Vexor, the longest shot in the Grade 2 Nashua field by far, slugged it out with Trinniberg down the stretch to eventually prevail. His handling of the listed “good” track at Belmont Sunday proved he just didn’t care for the sloppy Saratoga racing surface in his prior try. The race also proved that Trinniberg, once an overlooked longshot himself, is a bona fide stakes runner although he’s becoming quite the bridesmaid.
The 1-2 finishers set an honest pace and ended up well clear of the rest of the field, which included favored She Digs Me who put in a dull last-place effort. Winning trainer John Kimmel indicated the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at 6 furlongs would be next for Vexor. All pedigree signs point to him being best suited for sprint distances as he’s by Wildcat Heir out of an unraced Yes It’s True mare. You can view his catalog page here
The Pilgrim Stakes (G3) at Belmont Sunday was very European-like with the soft going, slow early fractions, and mad dash down the stretch. The winner was Shkspeare Shaliyah who began last of the pack but never more than 6 lengths off. Just before the stretch he shortened the margin to just 2 lengths while traveling on the outside. Into the stretch Shkspeare Shaliyah was all out and ended up a length in front of Kitten’s Kid who just nosed out Fantastic Song for 2nd.
Perhaps dampening the Grade 3 win for the connections of Shkspeare Shaliyah is the fact he is not Breeders’ Cup nominated, meaning they would have to pay the late $100,000 nomination fee in order to enter him in the Juvenile Turf (G2). The NYRA has a quote from the trainer saying he will point for the race, but DRF claims there is no confirmation at this point.
Distance should never be an issue for Shkspeare Shaliyah, who is a son of Shakespeare, a multiple Grade 1 winner at distances up to 12 furlongs. He’s a half brother to two stakes placed runners. Shkspeare Shaliyah’s catalog page can be viewed here
None this edition. This past week’s winners were either NPs already, low speed figure earners, or have serious pedigree questions for classic distances…