Cave Rock, the Bob Baffert trainee, towers over this field but there’s value still in using these four also-rans
By Jim Gazzale
There’s Cave Rock, trained by Bob Baffert, and then there’s everyone else. At least that’s what it looks like on paper. His last out BRIS Speed Rating of 107 is tops in this pre-entered field. His Late Pace (LP) figures are at the top as well. He’ll probably go off as the second heaviest favorite in all the Breeders’ Cup races.
In the words of famed NFL head coach Dennis Green, “if you want to crown him, then crown his ass.” I’m paraphrasing a bit, but you get the point. Before we anoint Cave Rock as the Juvenile winner, let’s find some ways to make a little money with a few other horses that I suspect will be chasing Cave Rock around two turns at Keeneland.
National Treasure is “the other Baffert” in here. As a follower of New York racing, you always hear about “the other Chad” when the longer priced Chad Brown-trainee comes in. Now, Cave Rock has already handled this one quite one last time out. What I did like about National Treasure, though, was how well he is using his energy. He went 102/107/92 (E1, E2, LP) for his second-place finish (behind Cave Rock) in the American Pharoah last out. That’s a pretty even distribution of power.
Not only that, but National Treasure is also by Quality Road, so you know he wants to run and run long. Despite only having two career starts, National Treasure should be sitting just off an honest pace and be in position to make his run at a share of the prize money. National Treasure, in. my opinion, presents a strong value play.
Forte took top honors in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland last out. He just got up over Loggins following a heated, and mildly controversial, stretch duel. My assumption is that these two will be the second and third betting choices in here coming off that effort. I prefer Forte over Loggins in this spot.
Forte figures to improve off that last effort and should sit a decent trip while looking forward to closing into a decent pace in front of him. Loggins did all the work in the Breeders’ Futurity and couldn’t seal the deal. Without much foundation, the Breeders’ Futurity was only his second start, I can’t help but think that may have taken a lot out of him.
One other horse coming out of the Breeders’ Futurity that should make some noise in here is Lost Ark. He experienced such a disastrous trip that we can simply draw a line through it. I believe the projected pace scenario here sets up really well for him to close late and hit the board at pretty long odds.
One last horse I will mention is Blazing Sevens. He used a nice turn of foot late in the Champagne last time out to take over the lead and draw away. The Champagne annually produces top runners in the BC Juvenile, so despite a sloppy track at Aqueduct and slow fractions, we cannot discount this horse. He did well to overcome that disadvantaged pace scenario to win.
So, there you have it. Four horses not named Cave Rock to use on your Breeders’ Cup Juvenile tickets to hopefully make you some money.
1. National Treasure
3. Lost Ark
4. Blazing Sevens
This racing is shaping up to have a lot of separation. It’s Cave Rock, then these four, then I’m not sure I’m interested in much beyond that.
Photo of Cave Rock (outside) and Bletchley Park (inside) workout Sunday, October 23. Photo by Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire