Following the significant expansion of the Breeders' Cup in 2007 and 2008, the Juvenile Turf and Juvenile Fillies Turf races have become two of the more popular races of the weekend, drawing full or near full fields in each edition. Like most stakes races for juveniles, the form of the entries tends to be limited with many of the horses possessing little to no experience above the maiden ranks.
The Breeders' Cup juvenile races on dirt - Juvenile, Juvenile Fillies and Juvenile Sprint - are generally filled with horses coming out of the traditional two-year-old stakes races from the summer and fall. Races like the Del Mar Futurity, the Norfolk, Adirondack, etc. For the most part, there is a more definitive path with the dirt juveniles. The new turf races at the Breeders' Cup are much less defined in terms of "traditional" preparation. That fact, however, is beginning to change.
In 2012, there are only three graded stakes races for juveniles on the turf prior to the Breeders' Cup (plus one race in Ireland), with another three for juvenile fillies on the lawn. Additionally, there are three more ungraded races each for males and females that provide grass stakes experience. And finally, we have several races on synthetic surfaces (Del Mar Futurity, Arlington-Washington Futurity, Arlington-Washington Lassie and Alcibaides) that provide an opportunity for horses to prep for either surface.
On Thursday at Saratoga, the first of the graded stakes turf races for juveniles will take place in the G2-With Anticipation (post time: 6:01pm Eastern/TV: TVG & HRTV). A full field of field of 12 (plus one Alternate Entry and three Main Track Only horses) will go a mile and a sixteenth on the Mellon (outer) Turf Course.
Below are the entries, post positions and morning line odds for the With Anticipation Stakes.
|G2-With Anticipation Stakes; Post Time: 6:01pm Eastern|
|1||1||Almost an Angel||K. Desormeaux||W. Ward||8/1|
|4||2||Craving Carats||J. Rosairo||D. Romans||8/1|
|2||3||He's So Fine||D. Cohen||K. McPeek||5/1|
|5||4||Special Skills||J. Lezcano||A. Goldberg||6/1|
|6||5||Charming Kitten||J. Castellano||T. Pletcher||3/1|
|7||6||Joha||R. Dominguez||M. Maker||7/2|
|8||7||Bernie the Jet||I. Ortiz, Jr.||G. Contessa||30/1|
|2b||8||Sonofasamurai||A. Garcia||K. McPeek||5/1|
|9||9||The B's and E's||J. Alvarado||W. Ward||12/1|
|10||10||Notacatbutallama||J. Velazquez||T. Pletcher||15/1|
|11||11||Hightail||R. Maragh||D. Lukas||15/1|
|12||12||Private Tutor||M. Luzzi||J. Robb||12/1|
|3||AE||Balance the Books||J. Leparoux||C. Brown||5/1|
|1a||MTO||Sweet Shirley Mae||K. Desormeaux||W. Ward||8/1|
|3x||MTO||Read the Proposal||A. Garcia||R. Violette||5/1|
|13||MTO||Lawn Man||TBD||T. Pletcher||8/5|
The morning line favorite, 13 MTO-Lawn Man (8/5), rolled over a field of maidens in his debut at the Spa back on July 28th. Lawn Man ran over a track rated GOOD in his first race and it appears Todd Pletcher is looking to drop in a steal one on an off surface if it's wet on Thursday. If this race is taken off the turf he's the logical play as the wet track form of his rivals is uncertain, at best.
The 3rd place horse in that maiden breaking victory, Honorable Dillon, came back to impressively win the second race on the Travers undercard on August 18th.
If the With Anticipation stays on the grass, favoritsm will likey fall to either the Pletcher/Ramsey second timer, 6-Charming Kitten (3/1), or the Michale Maker colt shipping back to New York following a score at Woodbine, 7-Joha (7/2).
Charming Kitten debuted at this trip and surface back on July 28th, a race in which one of today's rivals, 8-Bernie the Jet (30/1), was allowed to walk through the opening furlongs yet couldn't hold off Charming Kitten in the stretch. The Ramsey colt looked very professional in his debut and should be tough to beat in this race.
Charming Kitten is a full brother to Queen'splatekitten.
Joha has yet to race past six furlongs and his most recent race came over the Polytrack at Woodbine in the Colin Stakes. His lone grass effort at Belmont in late May was solid but I'm not convinced this horse is ready to take perform his best a two-turns and I'm leery of playing him at a short price.
Ken McPeek rolls 2b-Sonofasamurai (5/1) back quickly after he broke his maiden on August 18th in a race that, according to the chart caller, saw him hit the starting gate. Similar to Charming Kitten, Sonofasamurai was very professional in his first win as he split horses in the final furlong to win with ease. At 5/1 on the morning line, Sonofasamurai could be a nice value play in this spot (assuming his odds don't get pounded down prior to post time).
The pace looks like it will belong to 4-Craving Carats (8/1), a Street Sense colt that wired a field of maidens over this distance and surface on August 4th. Craving Carats is probably the best speed horse in this race (assuming the race stays on the grass) but he's likely to have company up front from Bernie the Jet and 9-The B's and E's (12/1) (and, possibly, 11-Hightail (15/1)). If Craving Carats is to win the With Anticipation, he and Joel Rosario are going to have to earn it.
Below is a summary of some of the key stakes preps for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf and Juvenile Fillies Turf.
|30-Aug||SAR||G2-With Anticiapation||2yo||8.5||Turf||Juvenile Turf|
|5-Sep||DMR||Oak Tree Juvenile Turf||2yo||8.0||Turf||Juvenile Turf|
|8-Sep||LaD||Sunday Silence||2yo||8.0||Turf||Juvenile Turf|
|15-Sep||WO||G2-Summer Stakes||2yo||8.0||Turf||Juvenile Turf|
|15-Sep||KD||Kentucky Downs Juvenile||2yo||7.0||Turf||Juvenile Turf|
|3-Sep||DMR||Oak Tree Juvenile Fillies Turf||2yo, f||8.0||Turf||Juvenile Fillies Turf|
|8-Sep||LaD||Happy Ticket||2yo, f||8.0||Turf||Juvenile Fillies Turf|
|15-Sep||WO||G2-Natalma||2yo, f||8.0||Turf||Juvenile Fillies Turf|
|15-Sep||KD||Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies||2yo, f||7.0||Turf||Juvenile Fillies Turf|
|7-Oct||BEL||G3-Miss Grillo||2yo, f||8.5||Turf||Juvenile Fillies Turf|
|11-Oct||KEE||G3-Jessamine||2yo, f||8.5||Turf||Juvenile Fillies Turf|