Eclectic mix of juveniles lining up in Breeders’ Cup
The Juvenile Turf will kick off the 2015 Breeders’ Cup on Friday and drew 27 total horses in the pre-entry stage. However, only 14 will be allowed to start in the one-mile turf contest.
Airoforce earned a guaranteed spot in the Juvenile Turf when taking the 1 1/16-mile Bourbon S. (G3) over the course on October 4. The Mark Casse trainee is now two-for-two and holds a slight advantage thanks to his experience at the track.
The only other runner in the pre-entry main body with experience at Keeneland is Bourbon runner-up Camelot Kitten. Siding Spring, third on that occasion, will need several defections before entry time to make the field.
The Juvenile Turf also boasts the top three from the September 26 Pilgrim S. (G3) at Belmont Park, though only winner Isotherm and runner-up Azar are in the current top 14. Azar just missed by a neck that day at 5-1 following an 11-1 upset of the With Anticipation S. (G2) earlier in the month for trainer Todd Pletcher.
Birchwood, Cymric, Hit It a Bomb and Shogun are all shipping in from Europe for the race, while Conquest Daddyo is a Woodbine transplant following his “Win & You’re In” score in the September 12 Summer S. (Can-G2).
There are two in the current main body of the field – Hopeful S. (G1) winner Ralis and unbeaten Grey S. (Can-G3) victor Riker – who have first preference to the Juvenile on Breeders’ Cup Saturday. If their connections opt for that main-track affair then both Ray’s the Bar and Highland Sky have the opportunity to make the race.
Ray’s the Bar is a British-bred trained by Chad Brown who is exiting a troubled, but rallying, third in the Pilgrim last out. Highland Sky also competed in the Pilgrim, but found himself 1 1/4 lengths back in fourth on the wire.
Two races later on Breeders’ Cup Friday, the girls will strut their stuff in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. Twenty pre-entered the one-mile turf event at Keeneland.
Harmonize and Sapphire Kitten both own spots in the current top 14 among the pre-entries off a win and a second, respectively, in the Jessamine S. (G3). That “Win & You’re In” contest took place at 1 1/16 miles over Keeneland’s green in October 7.
Catch a Glimpse earned an automatic spot in the race via another “Win & You’re In” contest, the Natalma S. (Can-G2) at Woodbine. The Casse pupil is currently two-for-two on turf after opening her career with a fifth in an off-the-turf maiden at Saratoga.
Tin Type Gal and Thrilled were the respective top two in the 1 1/16-mile Miss Grillo S. (G3) at Belmont in late September and both are in the main body of the pre-entry field.
Alice Springs, Illuminate and Last Waltz will be making their U.S. debuts in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, while Mirage and Nemoralia each gained valuable stateside experience in their past races after beginning their careers in England.
Land Over Sea, whose only win came in her only turf start, is listed in the current main body but has first preference to the Juvenile Fillies one day later. A run in that latter event would give maiden winner Gliding By her shot in the Juvenile Fillies Turf as the first on the pre-entry also-eligible list.
The girls lead the way on Breeders’ Cup Saturday in the 1 1/16-mile Juvenile Fillies. Only 12 pre-entered for the contest and two – Nemoralia and Thrilled – have the Juvenile Fillies Turf listed as a first preference.
There are four in the race who earned guaranteed spots via the “Win & You’re In” Challenge series – Pocahontas S. (G2) winner Dothraki Queen, Frizette S. (G1) scorer Nickname, Spinaway S. (G1) victress Rachel’s Valentina and Chandelier S. (G1) scorer Songbird.
That latter filly will likely vie for favoritism with Rachel’s Valentina in an East Coast-West Coast showdown. Both are unbeaten, with Rachel’s Valentina breaking her maiden and taking the Spinaway at Saratoga for Pletcher, and Songbird romping in her debut at Del Mar before adding the Del Mar Debutante (G1) and Santa Anita Park’s Chandelier to her resume in her last two.
Dothraki Queen was a nice scorer at Churchill Downs in the Pocahontas before rallying for a nice second in the Alcibiades S. (G1) last out. The winner of that contest, Gomo, has been sidelined with an ankle chip, leaving Dothraki Queen and Alcibiades third-placer Ma Can Do It the only ones in the Juvenile Fillies with prior experience over the track.
The boys will take to the track two races before the Breeders’ Cup Classic in the Juvenile, which saw 19 pass the pre-entry box.
Among the current main body in the 1 1/16-mile main track event are Hollywood Don and Isotherm, who each have a first preference to the Juvenile Turf. That could allow Conquest Big E and Fellowship to make the field on Monday as the second and third on the pre-entry also-eligible list – Waterloo Bridge and Siding Spring – also show a first preference for the Friday race.
Like its filly counterpart, the Juvenile boasts four “Win & You’re In” runners in Breeders’ Futurity (G1) hero Brody’s Cause, Iroquois S. (G3) winner Cocked and Loaded, Champagne S. (G1) romper Greenpointcrusader and FrontRunner S. (G1) victor Nyquist.
The Breeders’ Futurity awarded Brody’s Cause, runner-up Exaggerator and third-place finisher Rated R Superstar experience at Keeneland, but favoritism will likely come down to either Greenpointcrusader or unbeaten Nyquist.
Swipe has been second to Nyquist in his past three races and joins Ralis as the most experienced in the main body of the pre-entry field with six total starts.
Like Nyquist, Riker has gone four-for-four thus far in his career, including the October 4 Grey S. (Can-G3) last out, but those have all come on the synthetic Polytrack at Woodbine. The Nicholas Gonzalez trainee will be trying dirt for the first time is he stays in the Juvenile instead of going in his second preference of the Juvenile Turf.
All photos courtesy of Keeneland/Coady Photography:
1st -- Airoforce
2nd -- Harmonize & Sapphire Kitten
3rd -- Dothraki Queen
4th -- Brody's Cause