A total of 70 horses have been entered in five Breeders’ Cup races for juveniles, including also-eligibles. There’s something for every manner of fan and gambler; sprints, routes, turf and dirt, the home team and the Euros.
Let’s take a look at the most likely winners who will compete over fast ground and what is promised to be firm footing on two sun-filled days, Friday and Saturday. As for the grass course, which was soft earlier this week, I would term the ground firm to good.
The most impressive juvenile turf sprinter we’ve seen this year is Golden Pal (8-5). Beaten a neck in the Gr 2 Norfolk at Ascot as a maiden, finishing ahead of 10 rivals, his next start was a maiden breaker at Saratoga which he won by nearly four lengths, completely geared down in the final sixteenth.
The bad news is that he’s drawn the extreme outside and will start from slip 14. But he’s a bullet away from the barrier and there’s a fairly long run down the backside at the 5-1/2 furlong trip. When asked about the colt, Irad Ortiz beamed and said “I can’t wait to get back on him.” I can’t wait to see him in the Juvenile Turf Sprint.
The Juvenile Turf will be a two-turn mile featuring several talented Europeans but with some of the video for those races unavailable because of contractual restrictions–Breeders’ Cup Ltd. should have some leverage in this case, no?–we’ll stick with what we know.
One piece of available video is of Keeneland’s G2 Bourbon and watch as this colt, making his turf debut for Todd Pletcher in the highly rated two-turner, as he comes from last of 11 with a powerful swoop, angling 6 or 7 wide into the lane and sweeping the entire field to win ridden out while drawing off. Mutasaabeq (5-1) breezed crisply at Belmont for this and Luis Saez re-rides.
The Juvenile Fillies has drawn but seven fillies but the depth of talent is enormous, featuring four undefeated fillies; Princess Noor, Simply Ravishing, Girl Daddy and Dayoutoftheoffice. It is the latter, winner of the G1 Demoiselle, who has impressed us most.
We’re not making any comparisons–so please don’t hammer us on Twitter– but when I watch this filly I think of Ruffian. Dayoutoftheoffice (5-2) is extremely fast but is no runoff, she responded to rating in the highly graded Frizette, winning handily in push-button style, and runs through the finish line as if an added sixteenth and second turn will not faze her.
Again, there are many talented Euros who quite rightly might hold the key to this event but we’re going with the devil we know. Aunt Pearl (3-1) is 2-for-2 lifetime, owning ascending figures that are quite fast but not so much that a “bounce” would most assuredly occur. There appears to be a lot left in this tank.
Both wins have come around two turns, including the highly rates Jessamine over the Keeneland green and won both races with speed in reserve. She is by the hot, new European stud Lope De Vega and is bred to run as far as they write races. Her spacing is perfect, she’s looked great in training, and the Jessamine produced a next out winner from one starter.
OK, if I had the audacity to mention Dayoutoftheoffice in the same sentence as Ruffian I might as go all in. When I watch Jackie’s Warrior (7-5), Seattle Slew comes to mind. He’s extremely fast, has won all career starts at graduating distances over three surfaces and no one’s gotten within hailing distance through the stretch.
The term “freak” is racing is a good thing and that’s what comes to mind here. He has had plenty left at the end of his races so distance is a non-issue. There’s always the second turn question, of course, and his pedigree is speed oriented on both sides; hence the term freak. I have no idea how good he is and the world will get to see him answer any questions on Friday.
(Our Tote Busters product, featuring the above horses, value straight plays, and exotic templates are available for purchase at $10 for today and $20 for Saturday’s nine-race card–$25 if purchased in tandem. Examples are available in recent Laurel Park Live Analysis and in Weekend Column section. Tote Busters for each day will be emailed by 9 AM on each race day. Please remit to PayPal @johnpricci.com)