Breeders’ Cup Future Stars Friday

November 5, 2021

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile

Barossa, Corniche and Pinehurst – Saddling one quarter of the starting field, conditioner Bob Baffert will be seeking his record-setting fifth winner in the $2 million Juvenile Friday.

Currently, Baffert stands statistically tied with D. Wayne Lukas, who dominated the early years of the event. Baffert’s leading hopeful, undefeated Corniche, went to the gate this morning before galloping around Del Mar’s main oval. The $1.5 million sales purchase is the 5-2 second choice in the 1-1/16m race. Also, out for a gallop was Del Mar Futurity winner Pinehurst, similarly unbeaten in his two lifetime starts. Both juveniles scored their maiden victories at Del Mar over this summer. 

Corniche in a morning work on Nov. 2. (Scott Serio/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders’ Cup)

Baffert noted, “They both like this racing surface. I wanted to bring Pinehurst into this race fresh after his Futurity win. The distance is the question with him. Corniche is a really nice colt. His last race (a victory in the American Pharaoh) was set him up nicely.” 

Barossa gets in an early morning work on Nov. 3. (Scott Serio/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders’ Cup)

Barossa, by leading sire Into Mischief, notched his maiden win last out. 

“He’s got a little more of a foundation with three races. I liked his win around two turns, so we’re taking a little chance with him in this race.” Baffert continued, “The pace could be hot, especially with the Chad Brown horse (Jack Christopher) breaking from the rail. But you know, these are all good horses. It’s why there is a championship at stake. And the margin for victory is so small. It’s so tough to win these races.”

Commandperformance – While he has yet to win a race, Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher feels that Commandperformance is a good fit for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

The gray son of Union Rags has been the runner-up in both of his outings for co-owners Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable, but Pletcher said that the colt should appreciate the 1 1/16 miles and two turns of the Juvenile. Commandperformance debuted at 6f in the mud on the closing day of the Saratoga season, Sept. 6, and finished 2 ¾ lengths behind Jack Cristopher in the Champagne on Oct. 2. 

Commandperformance looking focused in his Nov. 2 work. (Carolyn Simancik/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup)

“His first two starts were very good, even though he finished second,” Pletcher said. “In his debut, he drew the rail and he got bumped pretty hard leaving there, got a really good education out of it and closed well. We thought it was a winning-type race. We decided to treat it as though he won and if he had won, we would have gone to the Champagne. That’s what we ended up doing.”

Pletcher said he liked what he saw in the one-mile Champagne, which is contested around one turn at Belmont Park.

“I thought he closed really well in there and was gaining on the winner at the wire and galloped out in front,” Pletcher said. “I think he’s a horse that is looking for two turns and more distance. He has had some very good breezes since then. I think we’re on a forward trend and see if he can continue improving.”

At 12-1, Commandperformance went off at the longest odds of Pletcher’s three horses in the Champagne and turned in the best finish.

“We were not surprised that he was able to do well in there,” Pletcher said. “We were expecting a good effort from him.”

Repole and St. Elias purchased Commandperformance, who is out of the graded stakes placed Smitten, by Tapit, at the Keeneland 2020 September yearling sale for $220,000.

Irad Ortiz Jr. will ride Commandperformance in the Breeders’ Cup.

Double Thunder relaxed in his Nov. 1 gallop. (Scott Serio/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders’ Cup)

Double Thunder – Phoenix Thoroughbred LTD’s well-traveled Double Thunder, purchased as a yearling for a modest $60,000 has already proven to be good investment with three wins in five starts and $348,850 in earnings. 

The gray son of Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver was precocious and won the Bashford Manor on June 26 at Churchill Downs. He rebounded from a fourth in the Saratoga Special on Aug. 14 to capture the Sapling at Monmouth Park on Sept. 5. Double Thunder comes to the Juvenile from a second-place finish in the Breeders’ Futurity at on Oct. 9 at Keeneland that has prompted trainer Todd Pletcher to make an equipment change. 

“He’s been a solid horse, so far. He’s got a lot of experience,” Pletcher said. “We felt like he was a little unfocused in the Breeders’ Futurity. We’ve worked him back in blinkers since then and plan to add blinkers on for this start. I think we’ll see some improvement there.”

Double Thunder, bred by WinStar Farm, is out of the Tapit mare Rattataptap.

In his first year of eligibility, Pletcher, 54, was elected to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame this year. He has started 21 horses in the Juvenile and has an in-the-money record of 2-3-1. His winners were Uncle Mo in 2010 and Shanghai Bobby in 2012.

Flavien Prat will ride Double Thunder for the first time in the Juvenile.

The plucky Jack Christopher nicely groomed and on his toes for his Nov. 1 gallop. (Scott Serio/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders’ Cup)

Jack Christopher – As he has all week, Chad Brown-trained Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) morning-line favorite Jack Christopher went out early this morning before the sun rose Wednesday. The Champagne (G1) winner had an easy jog one day prior to contesting the 1 1/16-miles, $2 million affair. Owned by Jim Bakke, Gerald Isbister, Coolmore Stud and Peter Brant, the colt has been a key part of an exceptional autumn for Brown and team, with a record of 43-11-12-6 in graded stakes since Sept. 1.

“It’s been a good fall,” Brown said. “Part of strategy is we play the long game all year and try to work backwards from these fall races. Not only the Breeders’ Cup, but all the big stakes in the fall. The races generally build up as you go through the year, and I try to point for those races and it’s nice when it works out. We’ve had several horses my team has been preparing all year to peak around this time and it has worked out really well this year.” 

The son of Munnings galloped one circuit of the Del Mar main track Thursday morning, two days prior to contesting the $2 million, 1 1/16-miles affair. To be ridden by Jose Ortiz, the 2-for-2 son of Munnings will break from the rail post in the 12-horse field. Last out, he flexed his speed with a 102 Beyer Speed Figure in the Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont over a one-turn mile on Oct. 2.

“He drew inside and I didn’t really want to be there, but it is what it is and hopefully he breaks clean and gets out there,” trainer Chad Brown said. “From there, we’ll leave it up to Jose to see if he just lets him roll along or we just play it by ear if someone is hellbent on having the lead.”

Ortiz was aboard Brown-trained Good Magic the last time the Juvenile was held at Del Mar, proving victorious with a stalking trip.

“Jack Christopher has speed, but he can also sit off horses like he did last time,” Ortiz said. “I think that’s a big advantage for me. I have the rail, but I don’t think it’s a bad post. If I break good, it’s a good post. If I miss the break for some reason, then maybe it can be bad. If we break sharp and get a good run into the first turn, then we’ll be in a good position.

“He’s never had to take a lot of dirt yet, but the horse is very smart,” Ortiz continued. “That’s one of the things I really love about him. He’s very laid back, very intelligent and very relaxed all the time. Last time, I pulled him back a little bit and he took a tiny bit of dirt before I quickly put him in the clear and he didn’t overreact too much. I don’t think we’re going to be facing any dirt. He’s a little quicker than Good Magic early, but I would love a similar trip.”

Jack Christopher was a $135,000 Fasig-Tipton October 2020 purchase and was bred in Kentucky by Castleton Lyons and Kilboy Estate. 

A buff Pappacap getting in a breeze on Nov. 1 (Scott Serio/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders’ Cup)

Pappacap – Trainer Mark Casse realized he may have something special after Rustlewood Farm Inc’s Pappacap broke his maiden at first asking in May at Gulfstream Park, so he immediately devised a plan to bring the colt to the West Coast in hopes of giving him a home-field advantage by time for the Breeders’ Cup. That plan has worked out well. In his first start at Del Mar in August, he won the Best Pal Stakes and then followed up with a fourth in the Del Mar Futurity and second in the American Pharoah Stakes.

“When we decided to bring a small string out here, I told George and Karen (Russell of Rustlewood Farm) that I thought their colt was a Breeders’ Cup horse and I wanted to go out there and have a little home-field advantage,” Casse said.

“Pappacap looked really good this morning and he’s trained really well over this track. I think he got a good post (four) and some of the others didn’t draw well. You know, sometimes it’s not just how well your horse draws, but how others draw. I think the favorites will have some decisions to make. It won’t be easy sailing.”

Juvenile Fillies

Ain’t Easy – Unbeaten stakes winner Ain’t Easy, one of the early prerace favorites for Friday’s $2 million NetJets Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, will have surgery on her left ankle Wednesday after X-rays Monday showed a tiny chip. Trainer Phil D’Amato termed the procedure “a simple one, with an expected quick recovery.” Dr. Ryan Carpenter will perform the surgery.

The daughter of leading sire Into Mischief had some heat on her ankle following a gallop over the main track Monday. “She had worked on Saturday and came out of it fine, then walked on Sunday and was doing well,” D’Amato said. “It was a difficult call to make (to her owners), but we had to do the right thing for the horse.”

Desert Dawn went out for a long gallop on Nov. 2. (Jon Durr/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders’ Cup)

Desert Dawn – H and E Ranch’s Desert Dawn enjoyed a nice, long gallop of 1 1/2m this morning under the watchful eye of conditioner Phil D’Amato in anticipation of her start in the $2 million Juvenile Fillies on Friday. D’Amato indicated that he will begin tapering off the distance she’ll gallop each day leading up to the race. 

“She broke her maiden going two turns against some nice horses. In the Chandelier Stakes, the track was speed favoring, yet she was the only horse to make up ground in the stretch. She’s got a long, fluid stride and seems to float over the track,” D’Amato said. 

Despite being the longest morning line price in the field at 20-1, he optimistically concluded, “I think she can compete at this level.”

Echo Zulu gets her work in on Nov. 2. (Jon Durr/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders’ Cup)

Echo Zulu – Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen has brought a strong arsenal of runners to Del Mar for the Breeders’ Cup, but his best chance might be L & N Racing and Winchell Thoroughbred’s undefeated Echo Zulu, the heavy 4-5 favorite for the Juvenile Fillies. 

“What a great partnership with Winchell Thoroughbreds and L & N Racing,” Asmussen said. “It’s great as far as people that enjoy the sport and now have a brilliant filly, who is three for three. She’s coming into the race in excellent shape. I think the filly’s training really well. She’s been nice and relaxed and we’re very excited for her on Friday.”

Echo Zulu is from the first crop sired by 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner and Horse of the Year Gun Runner, also trained by Asmussen for Winchell Thoroughbreds. She would secure Champion Juvenile Fillies honors with a win Friday.

“It would mean everything to have a champion for Gun Runner in his first crop and it would be a very proud accomplishment,” Asmussen said. 

Juju’s Map – Trainer Brad Cox, who won two Breeders’ Cup races in 2019 and four in 2020, will look to add a second Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) to his resume when he saddles Albaugh Family Stable’s Alcibiades winner Juju’s Map for Friday’s race. 

“Juju’s Map doing great,” Cox said. “She had a very good work (Sunday) and she seems like she’s moved forward. She’s trained extremely well Churchill Downs. We’re excited about this opportunity.

“I thought she drew well (post five). Obviously, they made her second choice. That made a lot of sense. I think the jocks and the positions are going to be very important going into the first turn. I do know our filly will get the distance. I mean, I feel very confident she can get the 1 1/16 miles and two turns. I’m excited about that race on Friday.”

Hidden Connection in her Wednesday work. (Jon Durr/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders’ Cup)

Hidden Connection – Hidden Brook Farm and Black Type Thoroughbreds’ Hidden Connection visited the starting gate and then galloped a mile under exercise rider Janine Smith before the Wednesday morning track renovation break.

She galloped on the main track Thursday morning under Janine Smith to wrap up here training for Friday’s NetJets Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. 

“I’d like to see her get away from the gate clean and not get squeezed back,” Calhoun said. “Let her run her race. I think Echo Zulu will clear and we will set second or third. She has a high cruising speed.” 

Jockey Reylu Gutierrez, who has been aboard for both victories, will be making his Breeders’ Cup debut on the filly Friday. 

“He is a very talented rider,” Calhoun said. “He doesn’t seem to get flustered or nervous and gives the horse a chance to run its race and see if they are good enough or not. That’s all you can ask for.” 

Undefeated in two starts, Hidden Connection came to trainer Bret Calhoun’s barn in June after being purchased by Hidden Brook for $85,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company 2-year-old and Horses of Racing Age Sale.

However, Calhoun already knew about the filly.

“She was on my shortlist for the sale there in April,” Calhoun said. “She did not meet her reserve and then two months later I get a call from Hidden Brook saying they bought a filly and they were sending her to me. It was her.

“It was pretty evident early on that she had talent. She stood out in her training and when she started breezing, she really stepped up.”

Sequist gets in a work on Nov. 4. (Evers/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders’ Cup/CSM) 

Sequist – West Point Thoroughbreds, Gervais Racing, Charles Pigg, Stewart Racing Stable, Tom Andres and Karen Kraft’s Sequist completed her preparations Thursday morning for Friday’s NetJets Juvenile Fillies. 

Trained by Dallas Stewart, Sequist has chased Juju’s Map and Echo Zulu, two of the favorites for the Juvenile Fillies, in her past two starts but has closed ground late in both of those tests. 

“There are some fast horses in there and I would like to see a speed duel early, something like a :46 half-mile,” Stewart said. “It’s a small field and she will probably be last early and the hope is she doesn’t drop too far out of it.” 

After the Alcibiades, in which Sequist was third to Juju’s Map, Stewart indicated a Breeders’ Cup run was in play. 

“It’s a $2 million race and it is something to dream about,” Stewart said. “After the Alcibiades, she was doing well, eating well and training well. She was doing all the things a horse trainer wants to see.” 

Tarabi – Tarabi galloped under exercise rider Juan Leyva Thursday morning to complete her preparation for Friday’s Juvenile Fillies. 

“I’d like to see her get a clean break,” trainer Cherie DeVaux said. “There is plenty of speed on paper and I’d like to see her stalk comfortably.” 

LBD Stable, Manganaro Bloodstock and David Ingordo’s Tarabi galloped under exercise rider Juan Leyva after the morning renovation break on Wednesday for trainer DeVaux.

Tarabi will be making her first start in Friday’s NetJets Juvenile Fillies since a runner-up finish to Juvenile Fillies favorite Echo Zulu in the Spinaway Sept. 5 at Saratoga, a race in which she suffered some scrapes after hitting the gate at the start.

“She didn’t really miss any time (after the Spinaway) as we kept her in light training, but we had to miss the Frizette or the Alcibiades,” DeVaux said of Tarabi, who returned to the work tab Oct. 2 at Keeneland.

As October progressed, DeVaux kept the Breeders’ Cup in her sights and after a bullet work on Oct. 22 she felt that all systems were go and she would pre-enter the daughter of First Samurai.

 “She is doing well, and we are going to give it a shot,” DeVaux said.

Juvenile Turf

Slipstream gets an easy work on Nov. 2. (Jon Durr/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders’ Cup)

Slipstream – A pair of wins at Belmont Park this fall carried the Jump Sucker Stable colt trained by Christophe Clement to the Juvenile Turf.

Joel Rosario will ride the son of More Than Ready from Post 5 in the one-mile test.

“He is coming off a victory in the Futurity going six furlongs,” said Clement’s longtime assistant Christophe Lorieul. “He’s a very nicely made colt. He is progressing tremendously. I think he blossomed coming out of Saratoga. I don’t think that he had that much of a hard race in the Futurity. I don’t think the Joel hit him even once. He just came and did it the last eighth of a mile. It was as pretty impressive performance. 

Slipstream won the Futurity on Oct, 10 by one length.

“Stretching him to a mile this time will be a little bit of a test. But why not?” Lorieul said. “If it’s the place to do it, it’s here. He’s got tactical speed, which is always a plus.”

Tiz the Bomb gets a breeze on Nov. 2. (Jon Durr/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders’ Cup)

Tiz the Bomb – Phoenix Thoroughbred’s Tiz the Bomb galloped 1 1/2m under exercise rider Danny Ramsey for trainer Kenny McPeek.

Undefeated in two turf starts, Tiz the Bomb arrived at Del Mar late Monday from Keeneland where he won the Bourbon in his most recent outing.

McPeek is scheduled to arrive here Wednesday night.

Juvenile Fillies Turf

California Angel gets a trip around the main track on Nov. 3 (Evers/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders’ Cup/CSM)

California Angel – With her trainer George Leonard III leading her all the way, California Angel walked professionally to the track after being a little antsy in her stall and proceeded to gallop once around after visiting the paddock. According to her trainer, the filly has settled in well since arriving Monday as she prepares to make her fourth career start in the Juvenile Fillies Turf Friday. 

For Leonard, a longtime veteran of the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana circuit, the race will mark just the second time he has saddled a horse for a graded stakes. When he saddled California Angel to victory in the Jessamine Stakes (G2) Oct. 13 at Keeneland it was the first time.

“She’s doing well, she’s ready,” Leonard said. “She’s getting happier and happier every day. This is quite exciting. It’s been great so far.”

Helens Wells worked with Dessert Dawn on Nov. 2. (Jon Durr/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders’ Cup)

Helens Well (IRE) – Is Helens Well (IRE) a “horse for this course?” Trainer Phil D’Amato seems to think so. After getting the Irish-bred filly, she won handily in her U.S. debut despite a troubled trip, then repeated the trouble line while finishing fastest to just miss as the second-place finisher in her stakes debut. 

“I think she likes this deeper course,” he said. “In her last race at Santa Anita, the turf was extremely fast, yet she was again finishing fastest. I think her style is more conducive to the surface here.” 

On Wednesday, Helens Well joined her juvenile barn mate and NetJets Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies entrant Desert Dawn for a 1 1/2m gallop just ahead of Friday’s $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Pizza Bianca gets a gallop on Nov. 1. (Scott Serio/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders’ Cup)

Pizza Bianca  Bobby Flay’s homebred filly Pizza Bianca brings a strong international pedigree to her start in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.

The daughter of the highly successful stallion Fastnet Rock is out of unraced White Hot, a daughter of the great Galileo. Flay purchased White Hot, a half-sister to Epsom Derby winner Pour Moi and a full-sister to Group 1 stakes-placed Dawn Patrol, for $2.1 million in 2014, but she never made it to the races.

In her most recent start, Pizza Bianca had some traffic trouble while finishing second to Wild Beauty in the Natalma at Woodbine. When she turned in a solid work on Oct. 24, Flay told trainer Christophe Clement to skip the Chelsey Flower at Belmont and send her to the Breeders’ Cup. With More Than Real, Flay won the Juvenile Fillies Turf in 2010.

Pizza Bianca drew the rail in the one mile, $1 million race and was listed as the 5-1 morning line favorite.

“She’s very lightly raced,” said Clement’s longtime assistant Christophe Lorieul. “She broke her maiden at Saratoga and came back to be second in the Natalma. Logically, I think the filly that won the Natalma for Godolphin could have been the favorite in this race, but she is not running.

“The filly is doing well. The owner and the boss talked, and they wanted to take a shot.”

Juvenile Turf Sprint

Derrynane puts in a work on Nov. 1. (Jon Durr/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders’ Cup)

Derrynane – Waterville Lake Stables’ New York homebred filly Derrynane will take on colts in the Juvenile Turf Sprint after victories at Saratoga Race Course and Woodbine.

The bay daughter of Quality Road trained by Christophe Clement has won two of three starts, all against fillies. On Sept. 19 she won the 5f Woodbine Cares Stakes by 2 ¾ lengths.

“She’s got speed,” said Clement’s assistant Christophe Lorieul. “I really like her race at Woodbine. It was on a similar kind of surface and racetrack with tight turns. There was plenty of speed in front of her and she came closing at the end. She ran a very good race that day. I don’t know how much she beat, but she looked very good doing it.”

Derrynane and Joel Rosario will start from Post 11 in the 14-horse field.
“For a 2-year-old she is amazing,” Lorieul said. “Wherever you take her, she never leaves any feed, and she always acts very mature. That’s a plus.”

One Timer in an Oct. 31 gallop. (Jon Durr/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders’ Cup)

One Timer – Patricia Hope and Richard Ravin’s One Timer has completed his preparations for Friday’s Juvenile Turf Sprint for trainer Larry Rivelli.

“He jogged this morning, will walk Thursday and I don’t take my horses to the track the morning of a race,” Rivelli said as the undefeated Trappe Shot gelding returned to the barn.

One Timer has won all three of his starts with the first two coming on all-weather surfaces at Arlington Park and Woodbine before shipping to Santa Anita to win the Speakeasy on Oct. 1 in his grass debut.

“I went back (to Chicago) but he stayed out here the whole time after the Speakeasy,” Rivelli said. “he has had two works since, both on the dirt, one at Santa Anita and one here.”

E.T. Baird, who has been aboard One Timer in all of his starts, has the mount Friday and will exit post nine, one spot to the outside of morning line favorite Averly Jane.

“I would like to see him break clean and get away from the gate sharply,” Rivelli said. “We are going (to the lead). We are outside of Averly Jane, so we will see who is fastest.”

For videos of workouts, go to XBTV

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