Picks and plays for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

November 5th, 2020

Champions will almost certainly be crowned Friday, when Keeneland hosts the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) during the first day of Breeders’ Cup action.

The 1 1/16-mile events typically determine the champion 2-year-old male and champion 2-year-old filly of the year. In addition, the races award qualification points toward the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Kentucky Oaks (G10, so there is much more to be won than purse money.

Lucrative payoffs await those who cash winning tickets, so let’s try to secure a big payday of our own by playing both races on a $75 budget.

Race 8: Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1, 3:50 p.m. ET)

The morning-line favorite is #7 Princess Noor (9-5), whose effortless triumphs in the Del Mar Debutante (G1) and Chandelier (G2) must be seen to be believed. The daughter of Not This Time never got out of first gear while she trounced her opponents by 6 1/2 and 8 1/4 lengths, respectively, and she has been training up a storm in preparation for the Breeders’ Cup.

But since we’ve never seen Princess Noor get out of first gear, it’s hard to know how she’ll respond when challenged. She isn’t a standout in terms of Brisnet Speed ratings, and she’ll be facing much tougher competition Friday than she has beaten in California.

#1 Simply Ravishing (5-2) and #3 Dayoutoftheoffice (5-2) look like budding stars in their own right. Both are undefeated in three starts and rate slightly faster than Princess Noor on the Brisnet Speed rating scale.

Simply Ravishing was a dominant, 6 1/4-length winner of the 1 1/16-mile Alcibiades (G1) at Keeneland, and Dayoutoftheoffice claimed the Frizette (G1) by two lengths over Grade 1 winner #2 Vequist (8-1).

Of the pair, I narrowly prefer Simply Ravishing, who has already proven herself over the track and distance of the Juvenile Fillies. With hot jockey Luis Saez in the saddle, Simply Ravishing can sprint to the front from post 1 and lead this field from start to finish.

Let’s box Simply Ravishing and Dayoutoftheoffice in the exacta, then key Simply Ravishing on top in the trifecta.

$10 exacta box: 1,3 ($20)
$2.50 trifecta: 1 with 3,7 with 2,3,5,7 ($15)
Total: $35

Race 10: Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1, 5:15 p.m. ET)

The undefeated #7 Jackie’s Warrior (7-5) appears formidable, after he rattled off gate-to-wire victories in the Saratoga Special (G2), Hopeful (G1), and Champagne (G1).

He has never won by fewer than 2 1/4 lengths, he broke a stakes record in the Hopeful, and he posted a 101 Brisnet Speed rating in the Champagne.

What’s not to like?

Well, to nitpick a bit, Jackie’s Warrior has never run around two turns, and he enjoyed uncontested leads in all three of his graded stakes wins. There is plenty of pace in the Juvenile field, so if Jackie’s Warrior gets challenged early, there is no guarantee he’ll relish the second turn and 1 1/16-mile distance.

The logical candidate for an upset is #5 Essential Quality (4-1), a Godolphin homebred unbeaten in two starts, after he cruised to a 3 1/4-length triumph in the 1 1/16-mile Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland. But, from a Brisnet Speed rating perspective, #3 Reinvestment Risk (9-2) is actually the faster horse.

Reinvestment Risk was no match for Jackie’s Warrior when he finished second in the Hopeful (G1) and Champagne (G1), but the son of Upstart was taken out of his game and tried to press the pace early. His 8 3/4-length debut victory came with rating tactics, and I’m optimistic Reinvestment Risk will show improvement if he relaxes during the early stages of the Juvenile.

We’ll take a shot betting Reinvestment Risk to win and play him on top in the trifecta. Underneath, we’ll key Jackie’s Warrior and Essential Quality.

$20 to win on #3 Reinvestment Risk
$1 trifecta: 3 with 5,7 with 2,5,7,8,9,12 ($10)
$1 trifecta: 3 with 2,5,7,8,9,12 with 5,7 ($10)
Total: $40

Good luck!