29 years in the books, you would think that a repeat win by a trainer has
happened on more than one occasion. On the contrary, D. Wayne Lukas is still
the only one who has scored consecutive victories in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
1986, the 3rd annual Breeders’ Cup, Lukas scored his first with
Capote and jockey Laffit Pincay, Jr. The next year he returned to win with Success Express.
In typical Lukas fashion, back to back wins was not enough. In 1988, he teamed up
again with Pincay to complete his Juvenile three-peat. Taking him there was Is It True.
curious about these three years is that they also represent the only time in
Juvenile history that a Jockey and owner have also scored consecutive wins.
Laffit Pincay, Jr. stamped his repeat first in ’86 after he scored the previous
year with Tasso, and Neil Drysdale. 1986-’88 belonged to Lukas and in 1987-’88 Eugene Kline became the first owner to win the Juvenile in back to back
it’s been a rotating door year in and year out. While it may not be surprising
due to the unpredictable nature of Juvenile racing, it may be unexpected to some. In
particular, the fact that no jockey has been able to score in this division two
years in a row since the early 1980’s is astonishing.
for the 2013 Breeders' Cup Juvenile, unless Todd Pletcher tabs Rosie Napravnik, the only repeat chance will belong to him.
the years, Todd Pletcher has been critically examined by his Kentucky Derby
statistics. Last year he sent a record tying 5 horses to the Kentucky Derby, only to fall short and walk away with this unattractive record breaking stat: 1
for 37. While Super Saver remains his only win in the Derby, let’s not
forget about the other 3-yr-olds that lived up to their expectations in May: Princess of Sylmar, Rags to Riches and Ashado (all Kentucky Oaks winners.)
let’s give him credit for how his Juvenile colts have been doing these past
three years. Dating back to 2004 Pletcher has scored five times in the Champagne Stakes
at Belmont Park. In 2010, Uncle Mo became the first to go on and win the
Juvenile, and last year, the now retired Shanghai Bobby, made it two.
Havana bring the total to three? Or will it be Corfu or We Miss Artie that
makes Pletcher the second trainer to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile two years
in a row?
of the things I look at the most when handicapping a race is identifying who
you beat last time out. This is especially the case when a horse is coming off
of a win. Of course you have to consider if they’ll be game enough to do it
again but none the less who you beat is still important to me.
the case of Havana, I am very pleased with the crop of 2-yr-olds that he bested
in the Champagne Stakes. Before we jump to the other BC Juvenile horse that
everyone is talking about, let me point out what I think about Honor Code. In my
opinion, this is a horse that will be talked about a lot in 2014. Although his
connections have opted to skip the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in favor of the G2
Remsen Stakes I tend to like his chances of making it to the 2014
Kentucky Derby the most.
then there’s Strong Mandate, the horse that failed to show up against Havana in
the Champagne. I’ll go ahead and throw
that race out and look for the two to be in the thick of it when they make
their way around the final turn of the BC Juvenile.
makes this matchup so interesting is that Strong Mandate’s trainer is the
only one to have won this race back to back. Not only does D. Wayne Lukas have
the edge there, but after his latest resurgence in the Triple Crown, he may still
be riding a hot streak that will take him to the Juvenile winners circle for a record
sixth time, four more than any other trainer.
the majority seems to be pretty high on Havana I’m starting to consider We Miss Artie as a very legitimate contender. After a disappointing 6th
place finish in the With Anticipation Stakes he fired home after turning 5 wide
to win the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland. Besides that, who else doesn’t want
to be a part of Team Ramsey? With those winning silks in the saddle it also
leads me to believe that We Miss Artie will be in the hunt.
there’s Corfu, a tested Graded Stakes Juvenile that has a proven record.
Quickly following his inaugural Maiden victory Corfu came back out to win the G2
Saratoga Special Stakes. From there he took a sizable step back when he
finished 9th in the G1 Hopeful. However, it didn’t take long for him
to get back on track when he finished a respectable 2nd to In
Trouble in the G2 Futurity Stakes at Belmont Park.
what do all three of these possible Pletcher entries tell you? For me, I can’t
compare it to the Kentucky Derby. Even though he will likely enter more horses
than any other trainer I believe they all have a serious chance of
winning. Secondly, I can’t ignore how wrong I was about Shanghai Bobby last
year. Pletcher proved he had enough in his barn to head west and win. Finally, he's won two of the last three so he knows what it takes to win. If he does it again…….I will not be surprised.