Ranking the four Breeders’ Cup juvenile divisions can be very risky
at this time of the year because of the uncertainty surrounding the
capability of many of the top-rated colts to project their sprint form
around two turns. Arguably the two fastest (and currently healthy)
2-year-old colts to appear in North America thus far in 2010 are Boys At Toscanova and Uncle Mo,
yet both have plenty to prove, as neither one has been farther than
seven furlongs and both own pedigrees that emphasize speed over
stamina. The California-based Acaffella has no such
concerns and that it why we have slotted this colt — a son of Mr.
Greeley who appeared on nobody’s radar prior to last Saturday — on the
very top of our list of Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile contenders.
Here’s the scoop on Acaffella: he’s a $200,000 Keeneland yearling
sales graduate owned by B. Wayne Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm and he could
be the best young prospect that Richard Mandella has trained in the 17
years since Afternoon Deelites. Second in his debut —
a mile turf maiden event at Del Mar in late August in which he was
arguably best — Acaffella was shipped north to Golden Gate for the
ungraded Angel Island Stakes, was promptly bet down to 7/5 by those who
took the time to view the video of his initial outing, and then
proceeded to crush a moderate field by six widening lengths while never
really being asked for anything close to his best. His 81 Beyer speed
figure, while reasonable, hardly does him justice; he’s clearly a colt
with the power and athleticism to do far more if required. His next
stop is next month’s Norfolk Stakes (G1) at Hollywood Park, where he’ll
have to face the two juvenile stars of the Del Mar season, J P’s Gusto and Bench Points. Or, better stated, they’ll have to face him.
Tell A Kelly our top-rated 2-year-old filly, also
should thrive as the distances increase, By Tapit from a mare by
Tabasco Cat, Tell A Kelly rallied from last of 10 to win the
seven-furlong Del Mar Debutante (G1) by more than four widening lengths
earlier this month, and there is every expectation that her transition
to a deep-closing, two-turning terror will go without a hitch. Her case
as the division leader was bolstered when it was learned that the
previous top ranked 2-year-old filly, Position Limit, was injured and lost for the year.
At the present, this division seems woefully thin, although the Michael Reavis-trained Wonderlandbynight,
the winner of Arlington-Washington Lassie (G3) at a one-turn mile last
weekend, remains undefeated in four starts. She’s okay on numbers and,
as a daughter of Sky Mesa, she shouldn’t be inconvenienced by an extra
turn. But other than that, there’s not much going on here. Certainly
nothing exiting the visually painful Spinaway (G1), won by R Heat Lightning, can be expected to improve with added ground.