- First Samurai is almost certain to be the post-time favorite in the Breeders Cup Juvenile after his more professional performance in the Champagne on Saturday. I guess how one feels about that depends on what you think of Henny Hughes. After the blistering pace that Henny Hughes stalked in the Champagne, First Samurai still hasn’t had to run too fast in the final furlong of a race, and if you think Henny is just another overhyped Biancone-trained sprinter who can’t go long, then you might look for a price in the Juvenile. Meanwhile, did you read what Gary Stevens said in the Form?
"My instructions specifically were to go to the front and improve my position....I asked [Biancone] last week if they go 21-and-4 what do I do? He said go 21-and-3. I just got off the phone with him, he's happy, but I look like an idiot. The colt ran big." [Daily Racing Form]Bailey said that First Samurai overcame some problems of his own.
"He struggled a bit with the track, but it didn’t surprise me.....He is a big heavy horse. I didn’t think he would bounce through [the slop] the first time. He came home a little slow, but they went pretty fast in the early part. We had a helluva tailwind, but they were still cooking." [Thoroughbred Times]- Captain Squire showed high speed in taking the Grade 1 Ancient Title at Santa Anita on Saturday, the kind of speed the connections of some Breeders’ Cup Sprint entrants are praying to see in the race. He blazed fractions of :21.12, then :43.34 to the half (Solis said "I finally got a chance to give him a breather around the half-mile pole to the five-sixteenth (pole)” [Brisnet], a "breather" of :22.22), and :55.84 while pressed throughout, and fought back gamely in deep stretch, finishing in 1:08.85. It was just his second race after a 14 month layoff for Jeff Mullins. On TVG afterwards, Mullins was non-committal about the Sprint, and in fact suggested that perhaps Captain Squire would dodge Lost in the Fog and try the Mile instead. He’s had some decent races on the grass, but would face Leroidesanimaux in that race, so he has no easy way out.