The Breeders Cup Juvenile is always an interesting race. My favorite edition of the event was in 2007 when War Pass splashed home in wire to wire fashion. He was and is still among my favorite horses of all time. Last year we saw Uncle Mo turn in a dominating win. He is favored in this year’s Classic. Will the 2011 victor have a future that leads in a similar direction? Only time will tell.
Let’s break down the field.
Take Charge Indy (AP Indy x Take Charge Lady by Dehere) Talk about being bred in the purple. This guy is from one of the best sires of all time and out of a champion mare. He wasn’t quite himself last out when finishing fourth in the Futurity at Keeneland. His second place finish in the Arlington Washington Futurity before that tells us he can compete here. One of the best things he has going for him is trainer Patrick Byrne. He’s a top class horseman that won the Juvenile in 1997 with Favorite Trick. This one hasn’t raced over the dirt and he’s bred to love it. Live runner at a huge price.
Dullahan (Even The Score x Mining My Own by Smart Strike) He took the Futurity at Keeneland last out to score his first ever win. We haven’t seen him on dirt yet, but he’s a half brother to Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird. I’m not wild about the way he has worked over the track and beyond that I think he rates below some of the best in here. He will be an underlay and I’m going to pass.
Crusade (Mr Greeley x La Traviata by Johannesburg) His mare, La Traviata, was a very fast Grade 3 winner. Like his momma, this lad can run as he proved by winning the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes last out at Newmarket. He’s bred to love dirt which makes him a scary prospect. The Aidan O’Brien trained colt will be ridden by Julien Leparoux who is the hottest jockey around right now. He would shock a lot of people, but on paper he makes plenty of sense.
Drill (Lawyer Ron x Cat Dancer by Storm Cat) Bob Baffert has incredible luck with babies and this one has been no exception. He won the Del Mar Futurity two back and was last seen finishing second in the Norfolk. His works leading to this race have been rock solid. Blinkers will be coming off. Despite how well he is doing, I’m going to take a pass. I’m not sure he wants to go this distance.
Hansen (Tapit x Stormy Sunday by Sir Cat) I hate that Mike Maker took Victor Lebron off this super quick son of Tapit. He could have done just as well as Ramon Dominguez, but I digress. Hansen crushed the competition first out at Turfway and then returned to score an even easier triumph in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile. He’s got early speed and plenty of it. He hasn’t raced on dirt, but the works indicate that it wont be a problem. If he gets loose he could wave goodbye turning for home.
Prospective (Malibu Moon x Spirited Away by Awesome Again) He’s done nothing wrong. I love that he won going two turns last out in the Grey Stakes at Woodbine. He’s another that hasn’t tried dirt, but his pedigree is rock solid for the surface. Not only that, but his works on the track have been stellar too. If you’re playing multi race exotic wagers like the Pick 4 this colt is a must use.
Creative Cause (Giant’s Causeway x Dream of Summer by Siberian Summer) How about that 98 Beyer Speed Figure first out? He’s scary fast as he proved with a win last out in the Grade 1 Norfolk. I’m a little worried because he was kicked in one of his hind legs by a pony on Thursday. That could have a serious impact on how he runs. If he brings his last effort to Churchill Downs he will be right there at the finish line.
Speightscity (Speightstown x My American Girl by Quiet American) Dominated to break his maiden last out, but it looks like he could be biting off more than he can chew here. Tough to see him winning for Gary Contessa and Corey Nakatani.
Alpha (Bernardini x Munnaya by Nijinsky II) Well bred colt turned heads with his maiden win where he drew off by 6 at Saratoga. He followed it up with a second place finish in the Champagne Stakes. It wasn’t a bad effort considering it was only his second start and nobody was going to beat Union Rags that day. He should improve vastly in his third try.
Union Rags (Dixie Union x Tempo by Gone West) The favorite has looked phenomenal from the very start when he won first out Delaware. After that race he went to the Saratoga Special where he rewarded me for making him my top pick by winning the race. His last trip to the track was in the Champagne Stakes where he had a rough trip, but still cruised to an easy win. So far, we havent seen any chinks in his armor. He’s the favorite for good reason.
Daddy Long Legs (Scat Daddy x Dream Maiden by Meadowlake) The second entry from Aidan O’Brien won the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes in his last outing. I’m not wild about his dirt pedigree and for that reason alone he is a toss.
Fort Loudon (Awesome of Course x Lottsa Talc by Talc) He rides a four race streak into the Juvenile after sweeping the Florida Stallion series at Calder. He look to be a notch below the top contenders today. Despite that, horses coming from Calder have done well recently and for that reason he deserves a look.
Optimizer (English Channel x Indy Pick by AP Indy) Deep closer was third in the Futurity at Keeneland last out. Before that he was a close second in the With Anticipation Stakes. D Wayne Lukas says he’s better on dirt and that means we should be watching out for him. The blinkers will go on which means he’s going to be quicker early on in the race. If he overcomes the outside post he’s going to be firing hard late in the race.