Photo: Courtney Snow
The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, held on Nov. 1 this year at Santa Anita Park, is always a race in which fans hope to catch the next superstar in the making. After all, horses such as Man O’ War, Native Dancer, Secretariat, Affirmed and Spectacular Bid all had stellar 2-year-old seasons en route to Hall of Fame careers.
Unfortunately, since it began in 1984, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile has not been a good barometer of greatness. Only two horses – Street Sense and Nyquist – have won the race and went on to win the Kentucky Derby. American Pharoah and Justify didn’t even run in the race.
Still, there is always hope – hope that a monster horse will rise from the ranks and capture the Juvenile and continue his winning ways into a possible Triple Crown or Hall of Fame career.
This year, several colts have that potential, impressing fans with huge margins of victory and high Beyer speed figures for 2-year-olds. This could be one of the more exciting Breeders’ Cup Juvenile races the horse racing world has seen in several years. Here are the expected starters:
- Dennis’ Moment (3:2-0-0) amazed everyone by winning his maiden at Ellis Park by 19 1/4 lengths, then won the Iroquois Stakes comfortably under wraps. He’s already registered a 97 Beyer for his maiden win and may be the Derby winner Dale Romans has been waiting for.
- Maxfield (2:2-0-0) would win hands down if looks had anything to do with it. This muscular son of Street Sense won the Breeders’ Futurity with ease and seems to be improving in his workouts.
- Eight Rings (3:2-0-0) is Bob Baffert’s latest uberhorse, winning his maiden by 6 1/4 lengths at Del Mar and following that with an easy win in the American Pharoah Stakes at Santa Anita. He’ll have the home track advantage. His maiden win scored a 94 Beyer.
- Scabbard (3:1-2-0), or the horse formerly known as Noose, made a run at Dennis Moment in the Iroquois but it probably seemed more impressive than it was, since Dennis’ Moment won in hand. He has yet to win a graded stakes.
- American Theorem (2:1-1-0) is a son of American Pharoah and won his debut at Del Mar. He gave a valiant but losing effort in his sire’s stakes, giving chase to Eight Rings but succumbing to him late in the race. He will also be familiar with the Santa Anita surface.
- Anneau d’Or (1:1-0-0) is also entered in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf but is unlikely to get chosen for the crowded field. The son of Medaglia d’Oro won impressively on the turf in his debut, winning by eight lengths.
- Billy Batts (6:1-2-1) has been raced heavily as a 2-year-old, with only one win to his credit. He prefers the turf as well and is a pre-entry in the Juvenile Turf.
- King Neptune (9:1-2-0) will be making his 10th start at Santa Anita; he has raced mostly in the UK with mixed results. His first preference is the Juvenile Turf Sprint.
- Shoplifted (3:1-1-0) finished a disappointing fifth in the American Pharoah Stakes. The Steve Asmussen-trained colt also finished second in the G1 Hopeful Stakes.
- Storm the Court (3:1-0-1) won his maiden at Del Mar but finished third to Eight Rings in the American Pharoah Stakes.
- Wrecking Crew (3:1-2-0) has an impressive record, finishing second in the Del Mar Futurity, but his last three Beyer figures haven’t broken 80.
- Full Flat (3:1-0-0) has raced in Japan with only one win to his credit. He may run in the Juvenile Turf Sprint.