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Breeders Cup Juvenile

Breeders Cup Juvenile

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Field and Analysis
by T.O. Whenham

The Breeders' Cup Juvenile is often one of the harder races on the card to pick, but this year it's just a mess. It's not that there haven't been any eye-opening performances. There have been a ton. It's just that no horse seems capable so far of stringing two or more in a row. It seems that every time a horse moves to the front of the division we get excited, only to see him dominated by another horse in impressive fashion next time out. There is no clear stand out, and a case can be made for much of the field. The only thing we know for sure at this point is that the field is strong and the race should be great.

Sixteen horses were pre-entered in the field, so not everyone who wants a shot at the title, and the burden of being the early Kentucky Derby favorite, will get a chance. Fourteen will hit the gate on Oct. 27. The likely favorite, though not with overwhelming support, will be War Pass, an undefeated member of the Nick Zito stable. He has three wins, including his only graded victory, the Champagne Stakes, last time out. The Zito connection could be a curse - he has won five of the last 10 runnings of the Champagne, but hasn't yet won a Juvenile.

Majestic Warrior is a hard horse to deal with. He won his maiden at Saratoga to get some attention. In the Hopeful, the horse came from way, way back at the top of the stretch to run down and demolish division leaders Ready's Image and Maimonides in one of the most impressive stretch drives of the year. Before people could get too excited, though, Majestic Warrior came back with a disastrous and completely uncompetitive sixth in the Champagne. He obviously has the talent, but he's way too inexperienced for us to have a clue which of his two stakes efforts is more likely to repeat itself.

Another undefeated runner, Wicked Style, will get more than his share of attention. His most recent win was in Lane's End Breeders' Futurity on the same day as the Champagne. What stuck out on that effort was that he took the lead early and held it on a Keeneland synthetic track that typically favors closers. The wild card is that he has never run on dirt before, so we don't know how much of his success is owed to the synthetic surface. He has the pedigree for success - his grandsire Holy Bull was undefeated at two, and his sire, Macho Uno, won the juvenile in 2000.

The best West Coast hope is Dixie Chatter. He's more experienced than many of the horses in the field with four starts, including two wins. He's also won around two turns in the Norfolk at Santa Anita. Get used to hearing it this year - that race was also on synthetic, so the dirt is an unknown factor.

Those four are likely the class of the field, but there are several horses right behind them. Kodiak Kowboy is a grizzled and well-traveled veteran with six starts under his belt. He has four wins and a strong second, but never at more than seven furlongs. His ability to get the distance here is a real concern. Tale of Ekati beat Kodiak Kowboy in the Futurity last time out, and was a solid second to Majestic Warrior in the Sanford at Saratoga. He's only run three times, but he's overcome some problems in those races, and looks much more experienced than he actually is. He's also only gone seven furlongs, but he seems a bit more suited to stretching out.

Texas Fever is a potentially intriguing choice providing the price is right (and by that I mean high). He's run four times and won twice, including a two-turn win in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile. His speed figures don't measure up to the best of the class, and he's only run on synthetic, but he's improved in each start and is well bred - his mother is a half sister to Fusaichi Pagasus. NFL fans will find Texas Fever intriguing, too - his owner, Bob McNair, also owns the Houston Texans.

The rest of the field includes some intriguing runners that will be at solid prices. Pyro was second in the Champagne. Salute the Sarge, another West Coast runner, has two stakes wins, and two more seconds in stakes, including his most recent second to Dixie Chatter in the Norfolk. Slew's Tiznow, obviously a son of two-time Classic winner Tiznow, was second to Wicked Style in the Lane's End. Old Man Buck was third in that race. Shore Do and Beresford were third and fourth in the Norfolk, while Z Humor was third in the Champagne.

Beresford made the field, but is injured and has been withdrawn. Taking his place is Globalization, a talented colt who, like Street Sense last year, has only a maiden win on his record. Old man Buck and Texas Fever were both also entered in the new Juvenile Turf and may chose that race instead. That would open a spot for Overextended, a son of Monarchos who has just a maiden win, though it was around two turns.

Two weeks from now one of these horses will be a superstar and several will never be heard from again. That drama and excitement is part of what makes the Breeders' Cup so great. Now if only we could know for sure which horses fit into each category.

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Re: Breeders Cup Juvenile

Breeders Cup Juvenile 

Breeders' Cup Breakdown

The Juvenile
1 1/16 miles; $2 million; 2YO(c&g); 1:10pm Saturday

The History Arazi sparkled in 1991 with an amazing turn of foot on the far turn; the great Unbridled’s Song defeated Hennessy in the slop at Belmont in 1995; Favorite Trick capped off a perfect 8 for 8, Horse of the Year season and just last year Street Sense was victorious before breaking the 22-year-old Juvenile Derby Jinx with a stunning ten length romp.

Favorites: 8 for 23 (35%); Average Win Price: $16.76

The Best
War Pass comes into this sporting a perfect 3 for 3 record for trainer Nick Zito. After winning a pair of sprints at the Spa, he stretched out in his last start for the G1 Champagne at Belmont, posting a mild upset over both Ready’s Image and Majestic Warrior, both of whom will miss this due to injuries.

On the same day War Pass roared home at Belmont, Wicked Style was busy thrashing eleven other rivals at Keeneland in the G1 Breeders’ Futurity, keeping him undefeated in three starts as well. That 3 ¼ length score followed a win in the G3 Arlington-Washington Futurity for trainer Rusty Arnold when he raced on Lasix for the first time. This is his first start on dirt as his first three wins have all come on Polytrack.

Though War Pass has beaten him twice, Steve Asmussen’s Pyro figures to take plenty of action having finished a fast closing second in the Champagne last out. He’ll be making his third start off a layoff and should love two turns. Tale of Ekati won the G2 Futurity last out and is another making his two turn debut in here for Barclay Tagg. Salute the Sarge won the first three starts of his career before finishing second in a pair of G1’s.

The Rest
Dixie Chatter won the G1 Norfolk around two turns at Santa Anita over Polytrack in his latest. Globalization finished behind War Pass and Tale of Ekati before breaking his maiden in smart fashion last out going a mile. Kodiak Kowboy won four in a row, including the G2 Saratoga Special two back before a second place finish last out in the Futurity. It looks as if Old Man Buck will try his hand in here as opposed to Friday’s Juvenile Turf. Overextended lost his first four starts sprinting before breaking his maiden around two turns last out. Shore Do was third in the Norfolk after breaking his maiden on the turf two back. Slew’s Tiznow finished second in the Breeders’ Futurity after impressing in his second start, a Spa maiden win. Z Humor was third in the G3 Sapling and the Champagne after breaking his maiden in his debut.

The Scenario
War Pass will be on the lead, there’s no question about that. Wicked Style, Globalization, Kodiak Kowboy, Slew’s Tiznow and Z Humor figure to follow. Dixie Chatter, Salute the Sarge and Tale of Ekati will be in mid-pack. Old Man Buck, Overextended, Pyro, Shore Do will do their running from the back of the pack.

The Strategy
While War Pass has been very impressive thus far, he’ll have to negotiate two turns for the first time and figures to have some company on the front end. He can win, but he’ll likely be too short a price to accept. He’s usable, but I wouldn’t stand alone with him.

The Bomb
Globalization raced on dirt for the first time sans blinkers last out and ran the race of his life, breaking his maiden by 7 ½ lengths. He’s bred to run all day and he’ll be over 20-1.

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Re: Breeders Cup Juvenile

Breeders' Cup Juvenile belongs to War Pass
October 27th, 2007

Oceanport, NJ (Sports Network) - War Pass, ridden by Cornelio Velasquez, led every step of the way as the two-year-old captured the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile for colts and geldings. The time for the 1 1/16 miles was 1:42 3/5 on a sloppy track.

Just as in the Juvenile Fillies race, War Pass took the lead out of the gate and proved that speed will be difficult to catch. Owned by Robert LaPenta, the colt won by five lengths over Pyro with Kodiak Kowboy third and Tale of Ekati fourth in the 11 horse field

Dixie Chatter and Slew's Tiznow were scratched from the race.

War Pass gives trainer Nick Zito his first win in the Juvenile. The victory was worth $1 million to increase the two-year-old's earnings to more than $1.3 million.

In the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park, War Pass also defeated Pyro in a wire to wire effort. Velasquez has been aboard the last three starts.

The win puts War Pass into the position as the early favorite for the 2008 Kentucky Derby. Street Sense is the only Juvenile winner to capture the Run for the Roses.

War Pass, the 2-1 favorite, paid $6.40, $3.80 and $2.80. Pyro returned $4.60 and $3.60, and Kodiak Kowboy paid $6.40 to show.

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