Hi everyone, Trackside with Trackman has been given the task by our beloved HRN editor, Brian Zipse, to cover the 2012 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint. I'm truly honored and welcome the wonderful opportunity with open arms. With seven weeks remaining, the field is still a work in progress as are many of the B.C. races. Therefore, in this initial report, I will present two groups of horses. The first group (A) are horses that we here at Horse Racing Nation feel pretty strongly have been targeting the race as their goal. The second group (B) consist of runners whose Breeders' Cup plans are undecided at press time, but for various reasons could find themselves in the Juvenile Sprint starting gate. Remember, the make-up of this race will constantly evolve over the next several weeks. Performances in the upcoming juvenile preps, connections change of plans and any injuries that could occur, all will have their effects on the final lineup. With that said, let's get this assignment out of the gate and heading toward the finish line.
The newest of the Breeders' Cup races, the Juvenile Sprint is for 2-year-old horses who have demonstrated a special talent for running short distances early in their careers. The race is generally filled with horses coming out of the traditional two-year-old stakes races and offers juveniles of either sex a chance to run in the shorter distance rather than having to go in one of the longer distance races before they are ready. The race which is run at six furlongs, made its debut on the card at the 2011 Championships and it was a well received addition to the two day meeting. Secret Circle won the inaugural running.
With a half-million dollar purse attached to the race that kicks off the Breeders' Cup festivities, the Juvenile Sprint is sure to attract a top class field from around the world to Santa Anita in November. However, throughout the history of the Breeders' Cup, European sprinters have struggled to match their American counterparts on dirt, so it will be interesting to see what runner(s), if any, will be making the journey from overseas, and how the field takes shape over the coming weeks as we build up to the 2012 edition of the race.
Baby J (J Be K)--R. Dutrow--Filly started her career in the care of trainer Juvenal Diaz, debuting a half-length winner at Belmont Park back in June. After the win, she was purchased privately and came under the care of trainer Rick Dutrow. Was sent into the G3 Shuylerville at Saratoga and set a sharp pace to deep stretch fighting desparately to hold on, but two rivals caught her late. The winner of the race is a good one named So Many Ways, who subsequently went on to annex the G1 Spinaway on closing day at Saratoga.
Drum Roll (Majestic Warrior)--T. Pletcher--After breaking his maiden at Monmouth Park, colt was shipped north to the Spa to try graded company in the G2 Saratoga Special. He was in the vanguard early battling through wicked fractions. He continued on through late stretch fighting with the eventual winner before that one pulled away late. No doubt the sizzling early pace took its toll on this one and he was passed by two rivals right before the wire. Returned back to Monmouth for the G3 Sapling where he was second choice in the wagering, and loomed menacingly on the outside rounding the turn but weakened in the stretch, finishing third.
Handsome Jack (Bring the Heat)--W. Ward--This speedy front-runner certainly hasn't been disgraced in his two stakes appearances, including his latest effort in the G2 Sanford where he slugged it out on the front-end before being overhauled by the eventual winner, In his prior race, the Track Barron Stakes, he was runner-up to Shanghai Bobby who was impressive in winning the G2 Hopeful.
Scherer Magic (Doneraile Court)--J. Sadler--Was claimed back in June from a $50k maiden claiming affair in which he blew away his competition. There were more than one claim in for the gelding, but it was Sadler who eventually won the shake. Became a graded stakes winner in his very next race, taking the G3 Hollywood Juvenile. Fresh off that win, he was made the even money favorite in the G2 Best Pal Stakes, finishing fifth after racing in traffic in the early stages of the contest. In the closing day feature, the Del-Mar Futrurity, Scherer Magic raced close-up thoughout, albeit a bit wide, but basically ran evenly and finished third.
Special Jo (Johannesburg)--S. Asmussen--Only has a maiden win, but to his credit it was an impressive 6 length victory. Has been stakes placed twice in three efforts. After a sub-par performance in the July G2 Sanford, this colt rebounded nicely with a runner-up placing in the G3 Sapling at the start of the month. In his initial graded stakes affair, the G3 Bashford Manor back in June, he held on for the show spot after being part of the early pace picture, then succumbing late in deep stretch to the top two finishers.
Amarish (Scat Daddy)--J. Bonde--Gelding made things look pretty easy crushing rivals in his first two starts, but like alot of young horses stepping up in class and not quite ready for graded company, he disappointed with consecutive sixth place finishes in the Hollywood Juvenile and Best Pal respectively.
Bern Identity (Berstein)--K. Breen--Was runner-up in his debut in the Belmont Park slop, then went on to score in his next two showing his versatility. After nearly a 14-length win in wire-to-wire fashion, this colt passed a class test and showed that he could also rate off the pace, before delivering a late kick in the G2 Sanford at Saratoga. Faced a sterner task in the G2 Hopeful where he found himself very wide on the turn, but managed a decent late run for third.
Carried Interest (Henny Hughes)--R.Violette--Was gutsy in his debut maiden win at Belmont in July. Battled up front for three furlongs before holding off a good rival (Palice Malice) in mid-stretch to win by a half-length. Came out of that event with a sore shin and plans to participate in the G2 Saratoga Special were scrapped. Was going to be rerouted to the G2 Hopeful Stakes, but his name didn't show up in the entries for that affair.
Carson's Crown (Harlan's Holiday)--J. Sadler--Won by three-quarters of a length at first asking at Hollywood Park back in June. One month later over the same surface in the G3 Hollywood Juvenile, this colt had some traffic issues early, but managed to rally to be a clear second behind his wining stablemate (Scherer Magic).
Jocosity (Sharp Humour)--T. Pletcher--One of the most impressive maiden winners at the recent concluded Saratoga meeting, coasting to a dominating 7 1/2 length victory with an impressive final time of 1:02 4/5--just a fifth-of-a-second off the track record for 5 1/2 furlongs. Prior to breaking his maiden, this colt had two previous runs, both over the Woodbine polytrack. Connections thought highly of this colt after his troubled second place finish in his intial start by putting him in the Clarendon Stakes. More trouble endured for him in that race, but he still crossed the wire in second.
Muppet Man (Corinthian)--J. DiVito--After a convincing win in his maiden debut at Arlington Park over the synthetic stuff at the beginning of July, he returned a month later with an impreesive 4 3/4-length score in the Meadowlake Stakes. As the betting favorite for the G3 Arlington-Washington Futurity, he had to settle for second money after being overtaken in the final sixteenth. Hasn't left the confines of Arlington, so his dirt ability is completely unknown.
Spurious Precision (High Cotton)--R.Violette--Although the HRN Stakes Tracker has this colt aiming at the B.C. Juvenile, I'm including this one for two reasons: 1) The B.C. juvenile races are interchangeable, therefore like I mentioned above, anything can happen and this graded stakes winner (G2 Saratoga Special) could very well find himself in this race. 2) Furthermore, he is Brian Zipse's early projected winner of this event. We'll find out more about his direction after the G1 Champagne Stakes.
Two T's At Two B (Untuttable)--K. O'Connell--Calder-based runner was unbeaten and virtually untested in his first three starts, including capturing a division of the Dr. Fager division of Florida Stallion series in July. A month later, it appeared as though he was going to win a second race in the series (Affirmed) when he opened up a 3 1/2-length advantage in the stretch, but the 2-5 favorite began to tire and eventually finished third.
Uncaptured (Lion Heart)-- M.Casse--All four of this colt's victories have come on Woodbine's polytrack, including three stakes win. However, none were of the graded status. The closest finish he was involved in was his first race which he won by a nose. Will this synthetic specialist continue to perform at a high level, or will the switch to conventional dirt be his undoing? At this juncture, the only answer is, time will tell.
Stay tuned, there is plenty more to come.