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HRN Original Blog:
The Kentucky Derby Post

2013 Breeders' Cup Juvenile: Searching for a FrontRunner

Tamarando DMF 615 X 400
Photo: Benoit Photos
The 2013 Breeders’ Cup Challenge ‘Win & You’re In’ Series has begun. While Cleburne became a leading contender in the East, the front runner out west will be determined this weekend.


In the first of four automatic qualifier races Cleburne was game enough to hold off his eager stablemate, Smart Cover, by a neck in the Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs. Dale Romans and Donegal Racing teamed up for the brilliant 1-2 finish and have put themselves in a beautiful position leading up to the Juvenile.  


But, the Breeders’ Cup will be a Santa Anita again this fall. Therefore, a smooth and powerful win on Saturday can lead to a lot of buzz surrounding the home track advantage.  Much has to be done to earn it, yet the field in this year’s addition of the FrontRunner Stakes has me thinking that a live favorite for the Juvenile could emerge.


The best way to break things down this early in the Juvenile season is to begin with the freshman that have already seen what Graded Stakes racing is all about. In particular, let’s look at the top 3 finishers of the G1 Del Mar Futurity.


First up, is the winner, and that belongs to Tamarando, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, and owned and bred by Mr. and Mrs. Larry Williams. Closing from far back is never an easy feat over a speed favoring track but this California bred accomplished it in impressive fashion. The best way for me to describe it: all business. What awed me the most was his approach to weaving 4 wide around the final turn before barreling down the center of the track to win by a ½ length.


Secondly, I also tip my cap to Tamarando because I believe the Del Mar Futurity field was stacked with quality 2-yr-olds and potential Juvenile contenders. What strikes me about the field is that 5 of the 6 horses from a solid G2 Best Pal Stakes didn’t finish in the top 3. Raced just one month before, all but the fourth place finisher Ontology were back.


I mention this because in my opinion the winner Albert’s Hope and runner up Celtic Moon came into the futurity with a good chance of winning. But, it wasn’t their day the second time around. However, I don’t hold it against them as much as I give credit to the horses that outperformed them. Therefore, not only do I give Tamarando a good chance of winning in the FrontRunner, I also think 2nd place finisher Dance with Fate and 3rd place finisher Can the Man deserve a very good look here as well.


And that is even without any of them ever racing on dirt prior to this Saturday. I think all of them will handle it well enough to be in position and it will not be an issue. As for another horse already mentioned, I’m not sure if the surface of the future has been decided yet.


Ontology will be the only Best Pal starter entering the FrontRunner Stakes. But, he’s also the only entry that has raced on Turf. Even though he did not enter the Del Mar Futurity he was still racing that day. Instead, it was the non graded Oak Tree Juvenile Turf Stakes where he finished 2nd. So, what does that say for Trainer Simon Callaghan and his expectations with Ontology? My assumption is that his expectations are high but the surface he races on most often later in his career is still a work (or decision) in progress. My guess; it won’t be dirt.


As for the final horse that’s getting a pretty look from me we turn to Roundupthelute. Maybe it's just me but any horse that carries a jockey wearing the familiar Mike Pegram silks means it’s safe to assume that his team may have something in their barn. Based on his pedigree alone this horse has to be considered. Question is; will the son of the 2 time BC Sprint winner Midnight Lute be able to race well at a distance of 1 1/16? Or, will he be like his daddy and suited for distances closer to 6 furlongs. Maybe, maybe not but I’m still going to give him considerable consideration.


And finally, there’s the Bob Baffert factor. Roundupthelute and Can the Man are both his and they give the hall of fame trainer a chance to win this race again. From the time when he won his first in 1997 the number has since ballooned to six. It’s hard to believe but he’s never won this stakes race in back to back years. Since he scored it last year with Power Broker, 2013 will give him another chance to repeat and extend his record to 7 FrontRunner wins.



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Older Comments about 2013 Breeders' Cup Juvenile: Searching for a FrontRunner...

Mary I'm with you. I like T amarando.
I'd like forTamarando to win this. Also like Dance With Fate.
Union Rags ,you nailed that one.He was soooo impressive first out.The speed he took the turn with.I was afraid he might bolt.That is how fast he was going.Then when he turned for home,his momentum almost carried him into the pack.Rock Hard Ten blood says ..YES
Watched Schoolofhardrocks break his maiden-ultra impressive and I think he's ready for this big moment. Picked him to win that day, too.
I'm betting on Bond Holder, Ontology and Roundupthelute
I hear ya, what's more exciting than a rising star with connections like D Wayne and Tiznow? But, i also believe the California horses will be ready and waiting for him in the BCJuvy
Zatt- love strong mandate so far. Excited to see more of him and hope he can bring his talent into his three year old campaign
I'm waiting for a strong mandate on this crop to come in ... wait a minute, he's already arrived!

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About Me

Meet Bryan Brinkmeyer – Chicago, IL


Growing up across the river from the Bluegrass State I was able to spend a lot of summer days at Ellis Park, Henderson, KY. 


Likewise, the first Saturday in May was always a celebrated family event. In 2000, I made my inaugural Kentucky Derby appearance and since, I have made it an annual tradition because there’s no other city, or weekend, in the racing world like Louisville, KY on Derby Day. 


Although the story of a Kentucky Derby winner is legendary, a champions trail is what The Kentucky Derby Post is all about. The coverage begins when Juvenile season starts and continues until the field is set, the picks are in and the roses are earned. 



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