RSS Feed for this Blog

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Juvenile

- Like its filly counterpart, the fastest contenders, at least in terms of Beyer figures, come from the west coast. Stormello (Stormy Atlantic) and Principle Secret (Sea of Secrets) both earned a 96 in running 1-2 in the Norfolk. Both overcame adversity to get to the finish almost together; Principle Secret set a quick and contested pace, finally shaking off Shake the Diplomat after six furlongs in 1:10.32. Meanwhile, Stormello, as Illman notes in his excellent prep race notes on DRF Plus, was lathered up on his neck and between his hind legs, and seemed a bit eager chasing the pace while three wide going into the first turn. He was also at least three wide all around the turn. So it was understandable that these were two tired colts at the end. The final quarter and sixteenth took 26.03 and 6.75 seconds. It seemed like a taxing effort for both, as Principle Secret battled back gamely, and I wonder if either or both may bounce in the Juvenile.

Principle Secret showed a change of tactics going for the lead in his first two-turn try, and if he tries that again, he'll have some company from Pegasus Wind (Fusaichi Pegasus). Lukas' colt has shown a high turn of speed, and held well for third in the Champagne. He's rated in his shorter races, and could have a nice target in Pegasus Wind if he can do so again.

Great Hunter (Aptitude) and Circular Quay (Thunder Gulch) both acquitted themselves well running one-two in the Breeders Futurity on the Polytrack. Yes, they may have benefited from the closer's bias, but they both affirmed their form in their first two-turn tries. They both rallied wide and had to contend with traffic and bumping. Circular Quay came into the stretch particularly wide after being blind switched around the turn, and then bore out mid-stretch before settling back in and getting the place spot.

Street Sense (Street Cry) covered the most ground of all in the race; at least four wide on both turns, he traveled an extra 38.5 feet than the winner. He led into the stretch, and jockey Calvin Borel told Illman he may have moved too soon. "Next time, we'll sit and wait a little longer."

But I have to say that I'm currently leaning towards Pletcher's two entries coming from New York, even though they're both trying two turns for the first time. I loved the win by Scat Daddy (Johannesburg) in the Champagne, and still maintain that he was the best horse in the race, Nobiz Like Shobiz included. Scat Daddy ran a final quarter of 23 4/5 to run that one down, according to Formulator. It was a thoroughly professional performance, and he could be real tough here. If, of course, he gets two turns. He's out of a mare by Mr. Prospector, to whom he's inbred 4x2. His second dam, Likable Style (Nijinsky), was a Grade 1 winner (Las Virgenes) around two turns. He has a high Tomlinson (346) and a low dosage (2.47), so you'd think this distance is within his ability.

King of the Roxy (Littleexpectations), an $8,000 yearling, was purchased privately by Team Valor after Barry Irwin saw him on TV and liked the way he took the turn, his modest pedigree notwithstanding. "Young horses usually flail with their right leg and float out, but he cut the corner like an old pro," Irwin said. "He had good action."." [Bloodhorse]

He's displayed good acceleration coming wide out of the turn in each of his subsequent starts since being purchased and transferred to Pletcher, most recently his win in the seven furlong Futurity; before that a close second to the highly regarded Chace City, who would have been amongst the favorites here. And there is some pedigree there too; he's out of a dam by Bold Forbes, known for speed, but a Derby/Belmont winner; and if you look under his third dam, you'll find Grade/Group 1 winners Al Bahathri, Spanish Fern, Mea Domina, and Al Haafhd.

Malt Magic (Cherokee Run) had trouble but still ran poorly in the Norfolk. His prior was a romp in his two-turn debut. He's a full brother to the Arkansas Derby winner Sir Cherokee. I don't like C P West (Came Home), making his third career start and first at a distance.

Most Interested In: Scat Daddy and King of the Roxy; Street Sense at a price

Standing Against: None of the others considered top contenders with any confidence at all, though I'm leaning against the West Coast horses as possible underlays. Tough race.


Anonymous said...

Interesting news out of the Godolphin camp. I just saw that Frankie Dettori has been named to ride Echo of Light in the BC Mile. Christophe Soumillon is "on standby" to ride Librettist. While Soumillon is an outstanding jockey in his own right (certainly one of Europe's best), Dettori is obviously Godolphin's #1 guy, and more importantly, has been aboard Librettist for his last 6 starts (5 of them victories). I find it very puzzling (and not at all encouraging) that Dettori suddenly turns up on Echo of Light. It's possible that Godolphin wasn't happy with Dettori's ride aboard Librettist in the Queen Elizabeth, and feel that Soumillon is a better fit for the horse. But that's unlikely. Much as i hate to say it, this move seems to indicate a Godolphin preference for Echo of Light.

Anonymous said...

More Librettist news, and again, it's not particularly good. Think this might';ve had something to do with the switch. This report is from Newmarket by the way, with ground conditions being good-to-soft:

"On Friday morning, Librettist (with Frankie Dettori aboard) stepped up his preparations for the Breeders Cup Mile. In a routine 7 furlong excercise, the dual Group One winner moved upsides his lead horse to finish narrowly in front but was not overly impressive."

Conversely, another BC Mile starter, Rob Roy, turned in a "scintillating" drill over the same surface. Ridden by Kevin Bradshaw, he swept 6 lengths clear of a "respected 3yo handicapper". The clocker noted that he seems to be peaking at just the right time. Rob Roy was last seen running second to Pride in the 1 1/4-mile Champion Stakes (also on good-to-soft ground), with Hurricane Run behind him in third. On paper, Rob Roy looks to be a bit inferior Araafa and company, but he does show a good 3rd place finish in the Sussex Stakes (over good-to-firm ground), wherein he finbished just a half-length behind the outstanding mare Soviet Song. Behind Rob Roy in 4th and 5th that day were Aussie Rules and Araafa, though it should be noted that Araafa came out of that race lame. So bottom line, Rob Roy appears an interesting longshot in the Mile, and could definitely outrun his odds.

Also reported to be in fine fettle these days is Ouija Board, no big surprise there. Dettori has aboard for a recent workout, and declared her "as good as ever". It should also be noted that Ouija Board is known to favor firm ground, and that she caught soft ground in her previous two Breeders Cup tries. It's very possible she'll be turning in her strongest American effort to date.

Alan Mann said...

Walter - In reading the articles on Librettist and Echo of Light, I got the impression that it was Dettori's decision. I'll write more about that when I get to the Mile.

Anonymous said...

Historically BC Juvenile winners can come from anywhere, and under the twin spires that remains true. Prior CD winners;

Is It True, Arazi, Timber Country, Answer Lively, and Macho Uno. Overall a slight edge to the west when viewing the place and show spots.

That Said, I am leaning toward Scat Daddy due to the professionalism he showed running down a really nice horse in Nobiz.

Mr. Ed