The first day of the Breeders’ Cup is all about the 2-year-olds. Five Grade 1 Stake races to start the weekend with the best freshmen in the world.
“Future Stars Friday” kicks off with the inauguration of the Juvenile Turf Sprint at five and one-half furlongs. A full field, in the most wide open race of the day. The day ends with the $2 Million Sentient Jet Juvenile. The race that will tell us who will be one our early favorite heading into the 2019 Kentucky Derby.
JUVENILE TURF SPRINT (Race 5)
I believe the Europeans are going to do well. The North Americans have a couple of strong runners, but I think the Euros are stronger at this age in the short turf sprint. Race has a ton of pace, so I’m looking for a stalker or a mid-pack runner to taste victory from the tracking spot. The Euros have three runners who should be sitting perfectly when things unfold. I’m putting SO PERFECT on top, who will be the better price of the three, and should get a perfect outside stalking trip. SOLDIER’S CALL ran a strong third last out in a Group 1 event against older and better. SERGEI PROKOFIEV exits a win in a Group 3 event. Best chances for the North Americans are SHANG SHANG SHANG, BULLETIN, and STRIKE SILVER. SHANG SHANG SHANG is undefeated in two races, and is coming off a impressive win in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot. BULLETIN will be involved from the bell, and STRIKE SILVER will be rolling late from the cheap seats.
JUVENILE FILLIES TURF (Race 6)
NEWSPAPEROFRECORD is my pick to lead the field to the winner’s circle. Filly is undefeated in two starts, and both wins were by over six lengths. There’s not much early speed in the field, so I expect her to go unchallenged, and control things her own way on the lead. Closers will need someone to push her, if they’re going to have a shot to catch up. I don’t see a North American runner staying with her, so I’m putting the Europeans underneath. THE MACKEM BULLET, LILY’S CANDLE, JUST WONDERFUL, and EAST, will be included in my exacta conversation.
JUVENILE FILLIES (Race 7)
Expect some snappy fractions for the journey, so I’m leaning towards someone from off-the-pace. RESTLESS RIDER has three wins in four starts, all from waiting in the wings before pouncing. Filly is undefeated at Churchill Downs, and overcame trouble trips in both starts to get her wins. Should be a nice price when the gates open, and this race has a trend for big prices. BELLAFINA was a $800,000 purchase, and strictly the one to beat. Comes in with three consecutive wins, and will be on or near the lead from the bell. Concern is starting from the outside hole, and the expected heated pace duel. SERENGETI EMPRESS won by 19 1/2 lengths last out, and on the Churchill Downs track. Major player, but another one who will be knocking heads on the lead. SIPPICAN HARBOR is a big threat stretching out at a big price.
JUVENILE TURF (Race 8)
The Europeans have dominated this race over the years, and I see no reason to jump off their movement today. LINE OF DUTY comes in with consecutive wins, and third place runner last race cameback to win next time out. Steps up in class, but seems to be pointing in the right direction at possible double digit odds. ANTHONY VAN DYCK is probably the best of the European invaders, but drew a brutal far outside post. Still a must use, but think he’s better underneath on your tickets. CURRENT, UNCLE BENNY, and HENLEY’S JOY are the best of the US field. CURRENT is a versatile runner, who can sit close to the lead or relax in the back of the pack.
JUVENILE (Race 9)
This race is loaded with speed. so I expect healthy prices to pick up the pieces flying late, scoring underneath on the exotic tickets. GAME WINNER will be your favorite at post time, and will be tough to beat if runs back to previous form. Colt is undefeated in three starts, and has faced much better than today’s rivals. Expect to be sitting patiently in the wind tunnel behind the wall of speed for first attack. COMPLEXITY will be your second choice for trainer Chad Brown. Concern is, not sure if he’s going to have enough left in the tank after dueling with others for most the trip. CODE OF HONOR and GUNMETAL GRAY are serious threats closing late. Both got up for place honors last out after stumbled starts in Grade 1 races. TOPPER T and DUELING are my long shot plays to hit the board. TOPPER T last ran at Canterbury Park. His numbers don’t match up in this field, but I just don’t think trainer Bill Mott would put him in this position unless he thought his horse could improve greatly.
Best Bet Race 6 Newspaperofrecord
Price Play Race 7 Restless Rider
Wagering Ticket - $12 Exacta Race 6 (6 w/ 1,2,3,4,5,9,13,14) $96