Holland’s preview of Saturday’s juvenile stakes

TwinSpires Staff

September 30th, 2016

By Tim Holland

A trio of prep Breeders’ Cup prep races for juveniles will be offered Saturday and I’ll take a look at the top contenders for each.


The Bob Baffert-trained Klimt (#6) is the likely favorite for the 1 1/16-mile Front Runner S. (G1). $435K purchase at Ocala finished fourth in his debut over five furlongs in an even effort in June but has since reeled off three straight wins, most recently rallying from just off the pace to win the Del Mar Futurity (G1) by 4 ½ lengths over seven furlongs and earning a field-best 103 BRIS Speed rating.

A mid-April foal, Klimt is by current leading second-crop sire Quality Road whose two other Grade 1 winners are Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf winner Hootenanny and Illuminant, who captured the Gamely over nine furlongs on Santa Anita’s turf course in May. Stamina concerns may be raised since Klimt's lone winning sibling, West Coast Chick (Malibu Moon), is a pure sprinter. However, broodmare sire Dixie Union has produced runners with stamina such as Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Union Rags and Quality Road himself won three Grade 1 events over nine furlongs including the Florida Derby. Colt is from the distant family of Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) winner Concern and should have no problem with the stretch out to a route for the first time. 

Perhaps the best bred runner in the field is Plum Dandy (#2), who comes off a near gate-to-wire maiden win when stepping up in distance to a mile the second-time out. Colt figured to appreciate the extra ground being a son of Medaglia d'Oro (AWD 7.6) and being out of In Secure, a stakes-winning daughter of A P Indy (AWD 8.2). In Secure is the dam of six other winners including Millionreasonswhy (Grand Slam), who won the Matron Stakes (G2); and stakes winners Beyondallboundarys (Saint Liam) and Roundupthelute (Midnight Lute). Plum Dandy cost $500K as a Keeneland September yearling and can be a factor running from just off the pace.

Secret House (#3) never fired when finishing fifth of six behind Klimt after stumbling start in the Best Pal (G2) at Del Mar over 6 ½ furlongs in mid-August and returns from a 50-day freshening here. The early May foal should be suited to the distance in his first route try being by Tiznow (AWD 7.6) and out of a Grade 2-placed mare by Medaglia d'Oro.

Gormley (#1) drew off to win his debut by more than four lengths after vying for the early lead over 6 ½ furlongs at Del Mar in early September. Son of Malibu Moon (AWD 7.1) is out of a mare by Bernstein who won five of eight starts including a Gulfstream turf stakes over a mile. Second dam was a Group 1-placed daughter of stamina influence sire Kingmambo and the colt's fourth dam is champion turf mare and multiple Grade 1 winner Estrapade. Gormley can be forwardly placed early breaking from the rail and is another that should take to the extra distance.

Likely pacesetter in the Front Runner is Straight Fire (#5), who weakened to finish second behind Klimt after setting fast early fractions in the Del Mar Futurity in early September. $250K yearling purchase is by freshman sire Dominus, who also tended to be in front early but who carried his speed to a gate-to-wire win over 1 1/16 miles as a three-year-old in the Dwyer (G2) at Belmont. Straight Fire is out of stamina influence A P Indy and may be on the lead longer than expected.


The 1 1/16-mile Chandelier (G1) has attracted a full field of 12 including the Bob Baffert-trained American Cleopatra (#5), the likely favorite. After somewhat surprisingly going off at 7-1 odds in a winning debut, American Cleopatra appeared en route to a victory last time before being passed late by the maiden Union Strike in a runner-up effort in the Del Mar Debutante (G1) over seven furlongs.

American Cleopatra owns one of the most recognizable pedigrees being a full-sister to last year's Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. Prior to his impressive completion of the Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes (G1), American Pharoah's ability to last the trip was questioned, primarily since he is out of a mare by the sprinter Yankee Gentleman whose AWD is a low 6.2 furlongs. However, it quickly became clear that American Pharoah took after his sire, Pioneerof the Nile, and his stamina-rich sire line: Unbridled-Empire Maker-Pioneerof the Nile.

But it must be noted that American Pharoah's older half-brother, Xixixi, was twice a winner at six furlongs but no farther, and American Cleopatra could also possibly take after her damside. This could explain her weakening late in the Debutante, which would subsequently not lend confidence to her lasting Saturday’s two-turn trip.

With Honors (#1) should have no trouble with the 1 1/16-mile distance having won around two turns in both outings, but her ability to handle the surface switch remains a legitimate question since both starts came on grass. While sire War Front is best known as a turf sire it can be remembered that his son, Declaration of War, finished a close third in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita and his offspring also include Grade 1 dirt winner The Factor.

With Honors comes from the family of leading turf sire Kitten's Joy but is out of a stakes-placed mare by a good dirt sire, Street Cry (AWD 8.0), who in turn is out of Dreaming of Anna, winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) at Churchill. Dreaming of Anna is also the dam of Dreamologist (Tapit), who won a Grade 3 on the main track at Santa Anita; and Fast Anna (Medaglia d'Oro), who was second in the King's Bishop (G1). With Honors has enough dirt influence in her pedigree to take to the main track and can be in good position throughout with her early speed.

An upset candidate to consider is Lake Time (#10), who rallied from off the pace to break her maiden over 6 ½ furlongs at Del Mar in early September. $150K Keeneland yearling purchase is by freshman sire Tapizar, the most promising son of Tapit to enter stud, and Lake Time is out of a stakes-winning mare by Forestry, who has a low AWD of 6.4 but is the broodmare sire of Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Nyquist. Filly's second dam is a Grade 3-placed daughter of A P Indy and Lake Time can be running late into a solid early pace.

Noted and Quoted (#2) is a second runner from the Baffert barn. A daughter of The Factor, the gray lass finished fourth in the Del Mar Debutant in her latest. The Factor was at his best sprinting and Noted and Quoted is out of a mare by City Zip (AWD 6.5), who was a stakes winner sprinting. Noted and Quoted may be tested for stamina going a route for the first time.

Third in the Debutante when weakening late after making an early move into contention, Champagne Room (#3) could well improve with the extra distance being by Broken Vow (AWD 7.1) and out of a mare by Bernstein, whose runners also own an Average Winning Distance of 7.1 furlongs.


The 1 1/16-mile Pilgrim (3), a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), drew a contentious field of nine with several well-bred runners including morning line favorite Oscar Performance (#6), who led from the start when breaking his maiden by 10 lengths at Saratoga. Son of 14% turf sire Kitten's Joy, Oscar Performance is out of a stakes winning mare by 15% turf Theatrical and is a full-brother to Spiral (G3) winner Oscar Nominated.

Oiseau De Guerre (#8) was made the odds-on favorite in his debut at Saratoga at this distance in late August but lost his best chance when hampered early and forced wide on the first turn. Son of 18% grass sire War Front is out of a staked placed daughter of Arch (13% turf) who has produced My Man Sam, a fast closing second in the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) earlier this year.

Trainer Christophe Clement will be represented by Frostmourne (#1), who rallied from just off the pace to win his debut at Saratoga in early September. Colt is by 14% turf sire Speightstown and is out of a mare by Theatrical who is the dam of six winners including Makers Mark Mile (G1) hero Karelian.

A second runner by Kitten's Joy is Kitten’s Cat (#9), who closed to break his maiden from off the pace at Kentucky Downs in his second outing last month. Kitten's Cat is the first foal from an unraced mare by 14% turf sire Discreet Cat, Brushwork, an unraced daughter of the multiple Grade 1-winning mare Manistique.

Others lining up with notable pedigrees include Sir Douglas (#4), a son of More Than Ready who is out of turf stakes winner Rogue's Jewel; Bird’s Eye View (#3), a son of 14% grass sire Mizzen Mast whose second dam is Regret (G3) winner Rich in Spirit; and the French-bred My Bro Chop (#5), who is by decent young sire Myboycharlie and out of a stakes-winning mare.

(Benoit Photo)