It's East vs. West as Champagne hero Union Rags takes on Norfolk winner Creative Cause in Saturday's Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs.
Morning line favorite Union Rags made it 3-for-3 in his promising career as he overcame trouble to impressively capture the G1 Champagne at Belmont Park. On Saturday, he will try to navigate two turns for the first time from post ten.
Creative Cause is 3-for-4 so far with his lone setback a troubled 3rd (place 2nd via DQ) in the G1 Del Mar Futurity. He exits a smart triumph in the G1 Norfolk and is proven over a route of ground.
Champagne runner-up Alpha could easily move forward in this spot. Kiaran McLaughlin's well-bred son of Bernardini romped in his Saratoga debut before rallying for the place behind Union Rags last time. The Godolphin colorbearer should excel around two turns and has plenty of upside with only two races under his belt.
Drill has traded decisions with Creative Cause in his last pair. The Bob Baffert runner owns fine tactical speed and is a grade one winner.
The mystery horse in this affair is undefeated colt Hanson. Tapit's juvenile son crushed his rivals in both synthetic starts including the Kentucky Cup Juvenile at Turfway Park last time. He looms a pace factor at the very least but must prove he can handle conventional dirt against a full cast of classy rivals.
G1 Breeders' Futurity 1-3 finishers Dullahan and Optimizer will try dirt after doing the bulk of their damage on turf and/or synthetic. The former is a 1/2 brother to Mine That Bird, and the latter has run well over a route of ground in all three turf/synthetic starts for Wayne Lukas.
The BC Juvenile baker's dozen is completed by Take Charge Indy, Crusade, Prospective, Speightscity, Daddy Long Legs, and Fort Loudon.