Photo: NYRA, Adam Coglianese
the upcoming Breeders’ Cup Juvenile news this week is the confirmation that Shanghai Bobby is undoubtedly shipping west for the race. Anytime a horse like this
grabs most of the attention it generally carries with it a very solid explanation.
And sometimes, there’s more than just one reason. So, let’s look at what Shanghai
Bobby is taking with him on his trip to Santa Anita.
Pletcher trained colt and son of Harlan’s Holiday received the majority of the
early Juvenile consideration, but that’s what happens when you win the first
Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series race of the season. On September 3rd, a beautiful
3 ¾ length victory in the G2 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga set him up perfectly for
a return in the G1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont. And last weekend Shanghai Bobby
impressive fashion I might add. The jump in distance from 7 furlongs to 1 mile
was never an issue. Under the steady hand of Rosie Napravnik in the saddle, Shanghai
Bobby raced about as strong as Pletcher could have expected. Breaking in 2nd
and remaining there until midway through the final turn almost everyone had to anticipate
what was going to happen when they made their move; Shanghai Bobby began to put
the field away. The final results list a 5 length victory and a final time of
give an idea as to why this BC Juvenile and future Kentucky Derby hopeful has
been dominating the coverage. But the final side note centers around Todd
Pletcher. For the second time in three years Pletcher will be the trainer of
the post time favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Following Uncle Mo to
victory will be tested but when considering where things stand right now it is very
probable that Shanghai Bobby will be the favorite.
thoughts on this colt is that number one I’m happy that Starlight Racing
followed Pletcher’s instincts and decided to enter him in the Juvenile. There
is always much speculation on this decision when you think you have a very strong
Kentucky Derby contender. Except, I’m looking forward to seeing this horse
enter and hopefully make a very fluid move to the next stage on the Road to the
Derby. Secondly, I don’t see any issues with him adjusting to the travel or the
dirt at Santa Anita. Finally, this will be his first race around two turns and I
think he’s ready for the test. Which leads me to my only question; Does being
ready for two turns mean I think he’s going to win? Not going to answer that
question just yet.
gears to another horse that is likely to make a move from the East we turn to our G1 Breeders’ Futurity winner Joha. After scoring in the Colin Stakes
at Woodbine, Joha was moved to Saratoga for his first against graded company,
the G2 With Anticipation Stakes. Joha rated very well in that race but came up short and finished a close 2nd. However, when you consider that
the winner is the highly regarded Juvenile on the turf, Balance the Books, it’s
hard not to consider this race as a big stepping stone in the right direction.
proven last Saturday when he wired the field en route to stamping his ticket to
the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Bearing in mind the race was a Win & You’re In
it’s easy to list Joha as probable, right? Why else would his connections enter
him into the race unless that was the goal? Of course but there’s one more
thing; Is Joha ready to race on dirt?
Maker trained colt has had a very interesting 2-yr-old racing season that has
stretched over 4 separate tracks, 6 races and 5 jockey’s. So, my conclusion is why
not keep the show on the road and add another premiere race where the entry fee
has now been taken care of. Maker is a very smart trainer and I’d love to see
him officially enter and give the dirt a go for the very first time because it
always makes things more interesting.
What I liked
about his win in the Breeders’ Futurity was his tenacity down the stretch and
absolute refusal to give up the lead. Not sure what the pre-race instructions
were but I give credit to Rajiv Maragh for staying with him on the lead and
getting him to wire. Of course it’s always thrilling to see a horse make a
sweeping move around the final turn from off the pace and get the best of the
leaders in the stretch but its fun sometimes to see a horse refuse to lose. That’s
what liked most about his win so I would love to see how he responds against a
much better field in the Juvenile at the same exact distance of 1 1/16.
out some might be wondering if anyone’s going with them. The pre-entry deadline
for all Breeders’ Cup races is ten days away, Oct. 22, followed by the entry
deadline on Oct. 29. This means we’ll know for sure very soon who’s going to be
filing into Juvenile starting gate. But until we do, it’s pretty firm that
these two horses are probable; Fortify (3rd Champagne Stakes) and
Dynamic Sky (2nd Breeders’ Futurity). As for the any of the
finishers in both stakes races it doesn’t look as certain. That includes
Goldencents (2nd Champagne) and Archwarrior (4th
Champagne) but then again it may be too early to tell.