10/29/2013 01:12 AM
BC - Juvenile
October 26, 2013
Breeders’ Cup Facts and Figures
Distance: 1 1/16 miles
Age: 2-Year-Old colts and geldings
Date: Saturday, Nov. 2
Time: 5:45 p.m. EDT
Is It True upset the great Easy Goer in 1988. Unbridled’s Song out-dueled Hennessy to win the 1995 running in just his third start. Johannesburg shipped in from across the pond and halted Officer’s winning streak in 2001. Street Sense took the first step in breaking the Juvenile/Kentucky Derby jinx by winning it in 2006. Uncle Mo capped off a sensational three race run, from maiden to Juvenile champion, in 2010. And of course, Arazi put on his amazing display in the 1991 renewal at Churchill.
Favorites: 11 for 29 (37%)
Shortest: $3.40 (Chief’s Crown, 1984)
Highest: $63.20 (Vale of York, 2009)
Front Runners: Conquest Titan, Diamond Bachelor, Havana, Strong Mandate
Mid-pack: Dance With Fate, Medal Count, Mexikoma, New Year’s Day, Rum Point, Smarty’s Echo, We Miss Artie
Closers: Bond Holder, Cleburne, Tap It Rich
The speedy HAVANA will look to follow in the footsteps of a former Todd Pletcher trainee, Uncle Mo, with a Juvenile Score just year as their careers have been carbon copy’s up to this point. After a breathtaking, front running maiden win at Saratoga in August, Pletcher opted to wait for the Champagne and stretch Havana out.
Some six weeks later at Belmont, he did just that. Locked on some cheaper early speed in the early stages, Havana was dueling for the lead less than halfway to the wire and opened up turning for home, taking a four length lead into deep stretch. Then, amazingly, the highly regarded Honor Code came with a furious eight wide rally to just miss a bit of a leg weary Havana by a neck in a stirring stretch drive.
There is little doubt that Havana aided by a rail bias and was getting tired at the end of the mile but he was stretching out from 5 ½ furlongs, and set pretty fast fractions, with company, most of the way. There seems to be some other speed in here for him to deal with early on and he’ll have to negotiate an extra sixteenth of a mile and two turns for the first time.
One who disappointed in the Champagne was the Wayne Lukas trained STRONG MANDATE. Strong Mandate broke his maiden in the second start of his career in gate-to-wire fashion when adding blinkers then parlayed a perfect, just off the pace trip into a daylight score in the Hopeful on closing weekend at the Spa.
In the Champagne, it wasn’t lost on Lukas that the front end and the rail was the place to be and he instructed Jose Ortiz to have Strong Mandate forwardly placed like he usually is. Inexplicably, Strong Mandate was taken off the pace, kept on the worst part of the track and beat just two horses. A livid Lukas fired Ortiz immediately and will replace him with Joel Rosario for this.
I don’t care how often it happens, and with juveniles it happens enough, but I’m always impressed when a horse breaks their maiden against winners and that’s exactly what BOND HOLDER did last out, in a grade 1 stakes no less, for trainer Doug O’Neill.
Bond Holder made his first four starts on synthetic surfaces and while he hit the board in three of those starts he didn’t give the impression that he’d improve that much on dirt when you consider his off-the-pace running style is what you want on the synthetics. But he did, rallying from well off the pace to draw away to a 2 ¼ length win in the Front Runner over this course.
Speaking of impressive Santa Anita maiden scores, they don’t get better than TAP IT RICH. I get goose-bumps every time I watch the replay. Trained by Bob Baffert, Tap It Rich broke slow and hopped at the start before dropping over briefly to the inside. Going into the first turn he was immediately taken four wide and kept clear of any further trouble.
He made forward progress every step of the way down the backside before really starting to roll approaching the far turn. He made the lead, in the four path or so, on the turn and opened up under a hand ride through the stretch. Though the race was less than a month ago and this is obviously a HUGE step up in class, I wouldn’t be surprised if this colt pulled it off.
CLEBURNE broke his maiden on the turf first out from far back at Ellis Park before making a similar run in the Iroquois last out when he got up by a neck at 34-1. He should be plenty fit with a pair of two turn races, as well as a stakes win at this distance, already under his belt.
CONQUEST TITAN broke his maiden in a minor stakes at Woodbine two starts back off of a two month layoff before an off the board finish in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland last out, both run on synthetics.
DANCE WITH FATE comes into the Juvenile off a pair of runner-up finishes in G1 races, the Del Mar Futurity and Front Runner, a race in which he actually had the lead in turning for home.
DIAMOND BACHELOR will try the dirt for the first time having gone two for three on the turf so far. He won the first two starts of his career before tiring after a re-rally in a minor stakes last out. He’s been training well on the dirt for this.
MEDAL COUNT overcame a troubled trip in his Ellis Park debut at a mile to win impressively in an off the turf race before racing in traffic in the off the turf Bourbon last out. Another already with two races around two turns and this guy is bred to run all day.
MEXIKOMA didn’t raise a leg in his debut going long on the turf at Saratoga but exploded to break his maiden by almost 15 lengths when adding blinkers, switching to dirt and shipping to Delaware Park last out, coming home his final quarter in a sharp :24 1/5, an especially impressive feat for a young horse going long.
NEW YEAR’S DAY has been tearing up the track at Santa Anita in the morning for what will be his dirt and stakes debut. New Year’s Day finished third in his debut sprinting before stretching out to a mile to win last out in a race where he squandered a much bigger lead in mid-stretch to win by 1 ¾ lengths.
RUM POINT is another who’s raced exclusively over synthetics in four starts at Hollywood, Del Mar and Keeneland, where he finished fourth in the Breeders’ Futurity in his latest when adding blinkers.
SMARTY’S ECHO, second in the Breeder’s Futurity, encountered a bit of trouble early in the race and was six wide in the lane. He’ll be making his dirt debut in the Juvenile.
WE MISS ARTIE finished second in his debut on dirt then immediately broke his maiden when stretching out and switching to turf. We Miss Artie came from out of the clouds to take the Breeders’ Futurity last out after an off the board finish in the With Anticipation on turf.
When you consider that nine of the fourteen in here are eligible for an entry level allowance race and only half the field has won on dirt, you almost have to cover yourself in multi-race exotics with a spread unless you have a really strong opinion on something. I happen to think that while he’s certainly a contender to win, I think Havana, who’s your likely chalk, is vulnerable, so spreading out a bit, for me, is a no-brainer.
Mexikoma impressed me in his maiden score. I normally am not impressed with final times and fractions but that’s a really good race for that track. Take a flyer at 15-1.
Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs: