Breeders’ Cup Preview: Juvenile Turf & Juvenile Fillies Turf

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Matt Carter

October 28th, 2013

The two turf races on day one of the 2013 Breeders’ Cup World Championships are both for two-year-olds, the Juvenile Turf and the Juvenile Fillies Turf. The two mile races make up half of the pick-4 with the Juvenile Turf kicking it off.

Both races have started to have some history to them after being added to the Breeders’ Cup in 2007 and 2008. The Breeders’ Cup was held at Santa Anita in 2008, 2009 and 2012 so we can see if there are any patterns that exist.

Since the race inception in 2007, there have only been two non-European runners to win the Juvenile Turf. Nownownow won in 2007 at Monmouth Park with Pluck taking the event at Churchill in 2010. Aidan O’Brien has won the last two editions and this year he brings perhaps his strongest contender, Giovanni Boldini, a West Virginia-bred son of War Front that cost $675,000 as a yearling last August. Giovanni Boldini follows in the footsteps of Wrote, 2011 winner, and George Vancouver, 2012 winner. Other Europeans in the race with similar Racing Post Ratings to the favorite are Outstrip and Shamshon.

The best U.S. horses look to be Aotearoa, winner of the Zuma Beach over the Santa Anita turf course, and Bobby’s Kitten, winner of the Grade 3 Pilgrim at Belmont Park. Historical data is good, but if you do not draw a good post in this race, forget it, as it is tough to win going a mile from an outside post.

Those helped with the draw are Giovanni Boldini, two, Outstrip, four, Bobby's Kitten, five, and Aotearoa, seven. Poker Player, Shamshon and Bashart drew posts 11 through 13 and will need some racing luck.

Of the five winners in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, only one has come from Europe, a stark contrast of the Juvenile Turf winners. Maram, Tapitsfly and More Than Real all exited turf stakes on the East coast. Maram and Tapitsfly came from the Miss Grillo at Belmont Park while More Than Real came out of the Natalma at Woodbine. This year’s group from the Miss Grillo include race winner Testa Rossi, who began her career in Europe, as well as the second, third and fourth place finishers; Sky Painter, Dancing House and Granny Mc’s Kitten. Ready to Act, a filly by the sire of More Than Real, More Than Ready, comes out of the Natalma, but in that race she veered in down the stretch and lost her rider. That mistake cost her; however, as she was out there moving like a winner. If she minds her manners on Friday, she could be a big player. Of course if this year’s group of European runners shows their “A” race, the U.S.-based fillies may not even hit the board.

Al Thakhira is undefeated in her two starts with a win in the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket. Chriselliam just won the Group 1 Shadwell Fillies Mile and Vorda is four-for-five in her career with a Group 1 and Group 2 win. Her only loss came against the Wesley Ward trained No Nay Never in the Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville in France. Last year’s race winner of the Juvenile Fillies Turf, Flotilla, was a French-bred, just like Vorda.

Post Position draw for this race was terrible with Ready to Act, Testa Rossi, Sky Painter and My Conquestadory drawing posts 11 through 14. Clenor drew post 10, which isn't ideal either. Al Thakhira drew well in two with Chriselliam in eight and the probable race favorite, Vorda, in post six. Granny Mc's Kitten drew well in post five as did live longshot Colonel Joan, who will break from gate three.

Not an easy way to start the Breeders' Cup on Friday for some connections, but with the draw there should be some great wagering opportunities. Stay tuned tomorrow for analysis of the Dirt Mile and Distaff.