BREEDERS CUP JUVENILE DAY A SHOWCASE FOR THE FUTURE
The shift to a Friday that features all the two-year old races at the Breeders’ Cup…what do ya think????
A day dedicated to the Juveniles can be a really good thing. Of course all these runners hope to graduate to a Saturday race next year. As is the case with any sport, some athletes improve with age, others are already hitting their head on the ceiling of their talent level. Some kids are their best in junior high as the chin whiskers are coming out, others may continue to improve and grow until their early adult years.. With all that in mind…what are some of the things we gathered from a day featuring some of the future stars of the game at Churchill Downs?
Three of the youngsters REALLY stood out. The first was Newspaperofrecord who put on a jaw-dropping performance in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. Winning by an easy 6 ¾ lengths for trainer Chad Brown, this Irish-bred daughter of Lope de Vega led every step of the way and made it look all too easy.
“She really has not had to run yet,” says Brown of his still unbeaten filly (3-0). “She has not been pushed yet. Of course we know it is inevitable in this sport that race will come and it will be fun to watch her when it happens. We have a pretty good idea about how good she is, we just haven’t seen it all yet.”
The road to the 2019 Kentucky Oaks has a speedy girl merging into the fast lane after November 2. Jaywalk crossed the street with an emphatic 5 ½ length score in the Juvenile Fillies for trainer John Servis who won the 2016 Oaks with Kathryn Sophia. Breaking alertly, she took them gate to wire and responded with a powerful late kick when challenged at the quarter pole by the highly regarded Restless Rider.
“We didn’t necessarily want to get the lead early, but she just had running on her mind,” says Servis. “She can rate if she needs to but two jumps out of the gate (jockey) Joel (Roario) told me he knew he had plenty of horse so he just let her go.”
Kentucky Derby 144 also gained an early favorite as Game Winner overcame a bit of adversity to take the Juvenile for owners Gary and Mary West. Trained by Bob Baffert, this unbeaten son (4-0) of Candy Ride was shuffled back a bit at the start, but was maneuvered into contention by Joel Rosario at the top of the stretch. Overtaking a stubborn Knicks Go inside the final furlong, Game winner won by a widening 2 ¼ lengths.
“Coming into the Breeders’ Cup I felt like he was our best chance to win,” says Baffert. “At the Breeders’ Cup you can’t take anything for granted, you have to have a good horse and be lucky too. This was a huge win for me and he showed us he can be a great horse. And oh by the way he is in the same stall as American Pharoah and Justify.”