A week ago I took a look at the non-juvenile Breeders' Cup divisions and many of the horses that are currently the top contenders. I had planned on waiting a few more weeks to tackle the two-year-olds, but with the bevy of juvenile races taking place around the country last weekend (and today's Del Mar Futurity), I figured . Identifying juvenile contenders is still a guessing game this far out from the Breeders' Cup, but we can at least start to get a broad picture of a few of the standouts within the division.
The new Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint could really turn out to be a "catch-all" race. The traditional Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies should remain as popular as they have in the past given their $1 million purse. The Juvenile Sprint will probably be comprised of horses that try two-turns prior to the Breeders' Cup and run poorly, or horses that aren't able to make it into the traditional two-turn races. We also might see some of the synthetic horses go for the Juvenile Sprint as opposed to the turf options depending on how the connections view each race. In short, I think it's tough to predict which horses will end up in the Juvenile Sprint, so I've thrown many of the contenders into that division in addition to the others.
Below is the link for the BC 2011 Contenders spreadsheet (via Google Docs). Horses in italics have won a Breeders' Cup Challenge race.
All right, let's take a look at the juvenile divisions starting with the colts and geldings.
I'll Have Another
She Digs Me
Currency Swap won the Hopeful at Saratoga, the first Breeders' Cup Challenge race for the Juvenile division. Today's Del Mar Futurity will add another name to that list.
Union Rags looked very impressive in winning a very sloppy Saratoga Special back on Aug. 15th, while She Digs Me took down the Sapling at Monmouth last Saturday.
Majestic City and Creative Cause won the first two graded stakes for juvenile males in California, but both of those races occurred over a synthetic surface (Hollywood and Del Mar). The Santa Anita fall meet (formerly Oak Tree), will offer our first glimpse at what the Cali horses can do on dirt.
Judy the Beauty
My Miss Aurelia
Say a Novena
Stopshoppingmaria (everybody happy?!? just kidding!)
Tu Endie Wei
Grace Hall got a good set-up in the Spinaway as she sat behind three pacesetters and pounced on the tiring frontrunner in mid-stretch to win fairly easily. Judy the Beauty finished a good second after contesting that early pace.
Heleonor Rugby was won a couple of ungraded events at Del Mar this summer, and was 3rd to Mighty Caroline and River Kiss in the G3-Sorrento. I hope Heleonor Rugby makes the Breeders' Cup if only for the name.
The Juvenile Fillies division always seems to have a good number of contenders but it's also a race that historically has produced some of the smallest payouts of any Breeders' Cup race (with the Distaff right with it). Whichever fillies come into the Breeders' Cup on the best form seem to be primed to perform well on the big stage. Furthermore, the crowd generally does a very good job at identifying the true contenders.
State of Play
State of Play secured a spot in the Juvenile Turf after winning the G2-With Anticipation at Saratoga last week. Creative Cause won the Best Pal on the Polytrack so he's probably a candidate for both turf and dirt moving forward.
This Saturday's Group 1 Goffs National Stakes at the Curragh is Breeders' Cup Challenge race. In addition, Woodbine will be hosting two events on Sept. 17th; the G3-Natalma (JFT) and the G3-Summer Stakes (JT).
Juvenile Fillies Turf
Sip Along Band
Maybe (IRE) won the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh on August 28th, a WAYI race. Maybe is undefeated in five lifetime starts and is an early favorite for the 2012 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket. Trainer Aidan O'Brien indicated that the filly might race in France for her next start (likely on Arc day), but it's highly unlikely that we'll see her at the Breeders' Cup.
So far, I've mainly included some of the synthetic fillies in the JFT category, with the exception of Sip Along Band, a nice looking winner of the Junior Champion Stakes at one mile on the lawn at Monmouth on Sunday. We'll get a better idea of the contenders in each turf division over the next couple of weeks.
Judy the Beauty
My Miss Aurelia
She Digs Me
Like I wrote above, this is a "catch-all" category at the moment. Any juvenile that's won a decent race, especially since most have won sprints, gets tossed in here for the time being. I've also included some juveniles from smaller tracks that put up good performances in non-graded stakes races.