The dust is still settling from the big Breeders’ Cup weekend. Thoughts on the Juvenile and 2-year-old colt of the year below// Secret Circle took the inaugural Juvenile Sprint. An impressive effort, but as talented as he seems, a six furlong effort doesn’t show us much// Good news that NBC Sports will televise Derby preps next Spring. There is not enough fan education and coverage of the intriguing road to America’s biggest race// Speaking of education, Brock Sheridan offers his opinion on the current qualifying rules for the Kentucky Derby. While I don’t agree with all of his points (namely the non-importance of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile) it’s worth a read// I’ve also compiled a very early graded earnings list for those interested…
Breeders’ Cup Review
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1)
Winner: Hansen CTD NP
Jockey: Ramon Dominguez
Trainer: Michael Maker
In one of the most thrilling finishes of day, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) also provided somewhat of a controversy in the aftermath. As you probably witnessed in person or on TV, heard from analysts, and read in newspapers Union Rags opted for the long way home. Racing four to five wide almost the entire trip, Trakus reported he ran 9 furlongs longer than the winner Hansen and eventually passed him after the wire. Almost unanimous opinion was that Union Rags was still the best 2-year-old and early favorite for the Kentucky Derby.
While this is all mostly true, nothing should be taken away from the winner. Hansen was able to overcome a quirky track that was not kind to frontrunners and he triumphed over a slew of promising graded stakes winners.
His running style may not be conducive to a 20-horse Derby field going 10 furlongs, but it’s only November. Trainer Michael Maker perhaps can work on his headstrong tendencies, or Hansen may just turn out to be quicker than the rest.
And let’s not place the roses on Union Rags just yet. His drifting out issues need to be corrected regardless if it is the result of fatigue or distraction. Plus there were several notable horses absent from the field due to maturity or injury, namely Secret Circle, Exfactor, and Overdriven. We also know there are other promising 2-year-olds who have yet to enter a race.
As for champion 2-year-old, it should be no contest. Hansen defeated Union Rags, regardless of excuses or what they did on the track before. This is not a Zenyatta/Blame debate as some believe, for a multitude of reasons, namely their number of starts and prior accomplishments. 22 of 28 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winners earned the Eclipse Award two months later, with most of the exceptions coming from overseas winners or unaccomplished long shots.
Let’s also not forget the horses that finished behind them. Creative Cause ran a legitimate race finishing just over a length behind first. Dullahan had a much-improved effort from his previous dirt tries by finishing fourth after encountering bumps and traffic. Take Charge Indy was just behind him and had traffic problems of his own.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1)
Jockey: Ryan Moore
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint
Winner: Secret Circle CTD NP
Jockey: Rafael Bejarano
Trainer: Bob Baffert
11/5/11 Tri-State Futurity- CT- Winner: Paco Smart chart
11/6/11 Lord Henribee S.- AQU- Winner: Il Villano chart
11/6/11 King Cugat S.- AQU- Winner: Summer Front chart
11/6/11 Toccet S.- AQU- Winner: Managed Account chart
11/6/11 Coronation Futurity- WO- Winner: Maritimer chart
Graded Earnings List
Kentucky Derby conditions help wrong horses qualify (Brock Talk)
Union Rags remains 2012 Kentucky Derby favorite (Bleacher Report)
Union Rags will continue to disappoint at Kentucky Derby (Bleacher Report)
Top 2yo winning BRIS figs last week: Wrote - 104; Hansen - 103; Secret Circle - 102; Il Villano - 98; Managed Account - 97.
2yo winning Beyers last week: Wrote - 86; Hansen - 94; Secret Circle - 95; Il Villano - 89; Managed Account - 84.
*Source: DerbyContenders Twitter