Juveniles Take Friday Breeders’ Cup Spotlight
By Margaret Ransom
Breeders’ Cup Friday – known as Future Stars Friday – kicks off Thoroughbred racing’s world championship weekend with five of the 10 races on the day on the carrying the prestige of the signature purple and gold colors. The concept of highlighting the juveniles on a single card yet maintaining the two-day event’s integrity was inaugurated at Churchill Downs a year ago and thanks to its success and favorable feedback from racing fans and the entire industry, it returns for its second year this year.
Oversubscribed Field For Turf Sprint
This year is also the second for the Juvenile Turf Sprint (GII), which is the first Breeders’ Cup race on the day and drew an oversubscribed field and talent from both the United States and Europe. Undefeted Belmont Futurity (GIIIT) winner Four Wheel Drive is the early 3-1 morning line favorite and is one of the many winners from the first crop of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. Breeze Easy LLC owns the colt, who was a $525,000 yearling and an $825,000 2-year-old in training RNA, and he is trained by top juvenile conditioner Wesley Ward. Irad Ortiz Jr. will ride.
The filly Kimari is the 7-2 second choice off two wins, including the Indian Summer Stakes at Klast out, which guaranteed her a berth in this race as it was one of the five “Win & You’re In” challenge races. Ward also trains the daughter of Munnings for David Mowat and Hall of Famer John Velazquez will be back aboard.
Wainwright Flying Childers Stakes (GIIT) A’Ali, who will carry European champion jockey Frankie Dettorie; and runner-up represent Europe’s top chances in this five-furlong turf dash.
The field for the Juvenile Turf Sprint, with riders and odds, is:
1. Chimney Rock, Jose Ortiz, 10-1
2. Band Practice, Jamie Spencer, 12-1
3. Another Miracle, Manny Franco, 15-1
4. Dream Shot, Chris Hayes, 15-1
5. Encoder, Flavien Prat, 15-1
6. Alligator Alley, Wayne Lordan, 12-1
7. Kimari, John Velazquez, 7-2
8. Dr Simpson, Richard Kingscote, 15-1
9. Four Wheel Drive, Irad Ortiz Jr., 3-1
10. A’Ali, Frankie Dettori, 6-1
11. King Neptune, Ryan Moore, 15-1
12. Cambria, Tyler Gaffalione, 12-1
AE. Bulletproof One
AE. Air Force Jet
AE. Fore Left
Juvenile Turf Proves Popular Again
The second 2-year-old Breeders’ Cup event on Friday is the Juvenile Turf, which was contested for the first time in 2007 and has grown in popularity with both the horsemen and the racing fan with each passing year.
European champion trainer Aidan O’Brien, Coolmore and jockey, Ryan Moore, have teamed up to win this race a record four times and this year send out the 5-2 favored Arizona, a group 2-winning son of No Nay Never who drew post 12 in the 14-runner field. Both of the colt’s wins came over good ground, which will help him on the Santa Anita lawn, which is expected to be firm.
Cristophe Clement will tighten the girth on Summer Stakes (GIT) winner Decorated Invader, who is the 4-1 morning line favorite and will be North America’s best chance for a victory in this one-mile test under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.
The field for the Juvenile Turf, with riders and morning line odds, is:
1. Our Country, John Velazquez, 15-1
2. Structor, Jose Ortiz, 5-1
3. Peace Achieved, Miguel Mena, 10-1
4. Decorated Invader, Irad Ortiz Jr. 4-1
5. Vitalogy, Javier Castellano, 10-1
6. Graceful Kitten, Hector Barrios, 15-1
7. Andesite, Joel Rosario, 12-1
8. Billy Batts, Paco Lopez, 20-1
9. Gear Jockey, Tyler Gaffalione, 20-1
10. War Beast, Abel Cedillo, 20-1
11. Proven Strategies, Edgard Zayas, 30-1
12. Arizona, Ryan Moore, 5-2
13. Fort Myers, Wayne Lordan, 12-1
14. Hit the Road, Flavien Prat, 10-1
Juvenile Fillies Driven By History, Talent
The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile fillies is one of the two original events for 2-year-olds and is not only one of the most highly anticipated races, each year since its first running in 1984 it has been an integral part of the voting for the division’s Eclipse Award winner. A couple dozen legendary names of champions and millionaires and Hall of Famers sit on the list of previous winners, including the first winner, Outstandingly, and Brave Raj, Epitome, Open Mind, Pleasant Stage, Meadow Star, Eliza, Phone Chatter, Flanders, My Flag, Countess Diana, Silverbulletday, Storm Flag Flying, Halfbridled, Sweet Catomine, Folklore, Dreaming of Anna, Indian Blessing, Stardom Bound, She Be Wild, Awesome Feather, Beholder, Songbird, Champagne Room and Jaywalk. Winning the 1 1/16-mile race is no guarantee for a championship, but it surely helps and it more often than not crown’s the divisions’ top performer.
This year Hall of Famer Bob Baffert will seek a third win when he tightens the girth on Baoma Corp’s Del Mar Debutante (GI) and Chandelier Stakes (GI) winner Bast, who is the 7-2 choice despite having won two of three starts and two grade 1s. The $500,000 daughter of Uncle Mo struggled a bit in her last to win over rival Comical under her new rider, John Velazquez, but has trained well over her home track for the past month.
Maiden winner Donna Veloce, another daughter of Uncle Mo, drew the rail and will lead the field to post. She is the 3-1 favorite off that imrpessive 9 ¼-length, wire to wire win over this track a month ago and while there’s a lot of unknown about this filly’s first start against winners, there’s a lot known and that is she has been training great and the possibilities are endless. Flavien Prat rides the $800,000 2-year-old in training for Kaleem Shah and trainer Simon Callaghan.
Brad Cox brings the runaway Alcibiades Stakes (GI) winner British Idiom in from Kentucky and the 7-2 co-second choice will have Javier Castellano aboard. Frizette Stakes (GI) winner Wicked Whisper is also set to go postward at odds of 7-2 and will be ridden by Joel Rosario for Steve Asmussen and Alex and JoAnne Lieblong.
The field for the Juvenile Fillies, with riders and morning line odds, is:
1. Donna Veloce, Flavien Prat, 3-1
2. Two Sixty, Edgard Zayas, 15-1
3. Perfect Alibi, Irad Ortiz, Jr., 10-1
4. British Idiom, Javier Castellano, 7-2
5. Lazy Daisy, Rafael Bejarano, 12-1
6. Bast, John Velazquez, 7-2
7. Wicked Whisper, Joel Rosario, 7-2
8. K P Dreamin, Ruben Fuentes, 20-1
9. Comical, Abel Cedillo, 8-1
Juvenile Fillies Turf Brings Local, International Talent Together
The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf is now in its 12th renewal and has been dominated by New York-based trainer Chad Brown, who has won the last three in a row and also Lady Eli in 2014 and Maram in 2008. This year he sends out Klaravich Stables’ Miss Grillo Stakes (GIIIT) winner Selflessly, who will break from the 13 hole under Javier Castellano. The daughter of More Than Ready is 8-1 on the morning line.
The early 9-2 morning line favorite is Qatar Prix Marcel Bousssac (GIT) winner Albigna, who is trained by Jessica Harrington and will be ridden by Shane Foley. The Flaxman Holdings-owned daughter of Zoffany drew post position nine in the 14-runner field.
Shadwell Rockfell Stakes (GIIT) winner Daahyeh was made the 5-1 second choice and will be ridden by William Buick.
The field for the Juvenile Fillies Turf, with riders and morning line odds, is:
1. Living In The Past, Daniel Tudhope, 15-1
2. Croughavouke, Flavien Prat, 20-1
3. Shadn, Jamie Spencer, 10-1
4. Abscond, Irad Ortiz Jr., 15-1
5. Daahyeh, William Buick, 5-1
6. Unforgettable, Wayne Lordan, 20-1
7. Crystalle, Joel Rosario, 8-1
8. Tango, Ryan Moore, 10-1
9. Albigna, Shane Foley, 9-2
10. Fair Maiden, Drayden Van Dyke, 12-1
11. Sharing, Manny Franco, 12-1
12. Sweet Melania, Jose Ortiz, 5-1
13. Selflessly, Javier Castellano, 8-1
14. Etoile, Frankie Dettori, 12-1
Juvenile Set To Establish Derby Favorite
The main event on Future Stars Friday is without a doubt the Juvenile, which not only likely crowns a juvenile division champion but also establishes the early favorite for next year’s Kentucky Derby (GI). A field of nine was entered, but due to the injury and scratch of Breeders’ Futurity winner Maxfield, eight will go postward in the 1 1/16-mile event, including American Pharoah Stakes (GI) winner Eight Rings, who is the 2-1 morning second choice.
Bob Baffert, who trains Eight Rings, won this race a year ago with eventual Eclipse Award winner Game Winner, who joined his three previous winners and/or champions New Year’s Day, Midshipman and Vindication. Though this race isn’t as sure a predictor of juvenile year-end champions, some really good horses have won this race, including Chief’s Crown, Capote, Arazi, Unbridled’s Song, Favorite Trick, Macho Uno and Johannesburg. So far only Street Sense and Nyquist have managed to pull off the Breeders Cup Juvenile-Kentucky Derby Double.
This year Eight Rings will attempt to give the Hall of Famer a fifth winner and tie the great D. Wayne Lukas as the race’s top conditioner.
Churchill Downs’ leading trainer Dale Romans will saddle Albaugh Family Stables’ Dennis’ Moment, who is the 8-5 favorite off of his impressive 19 ¼-length maiden score at Ellis Park this summer and then the nice Iroquois Stakes (GII) win last out. He’s been nothing short of impressive and trained exceptionally well since he’s been in California. He drew the rail and will carry regular rider Irad Ortiz Jr.
The field for the Juvenile, with riders and morning line odds, is:
1. Dennis’ Moment, Irad Ortiz Jr., 8-5
2. Wrecking Crew, Paco Lopez, 20-1)
3. Shoplifted, Ricardo Santana Jr., 20-1
4. Storm the Court, Flavien Prat, 20-1
5. Scabbard, Mike Smith, 8-1
6. Eight Rings, John Velazquez, 2-1
7. Anneau D’or, JJ Hernandez, 15-1
8. Full Flat, Yutaka Take, 30-1
9. Maxfield, Scratched