2013 Breeders' Cup Juvenile: Havana or We Miss Artie?


The Champagne Stakes and Breeders' Futurity are sending their respective winners to the Breeders' Cup next month. Other than both tracing back to Alydar in their fourth generation, the colts' breeding and running style couldn't be more dissimilar.


In the Champagne Stakes, Havana eked out a neck victory over the fast closing Honor Code after setting all of the pace over a fast track. Meanwhile at Keeneland, We Miss Artie settled mid-pack during much of the Breeders' Futurity and made his move nearing the 1/8 pole, striding out to win by 2 ¾ lengths over a very wet polytrack.


Let's do a head-to-head comparison to see which one has the best shot in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.


HAVANA (Dunkirk - Missy Turtle, by  Kyle's Our Man)



Havana brought $500K from Coolmore after flashing a furlong in :09 ¾, the co-fastest time of the 2013 Barretts Two Year Olds in Training March auction. Havana's precocity is a no-brainer. Sire won his debut? Check. Dam won her debut? Check. Damsire won his debut? Check. Siblings do well in their first start? Yep. Havana will enter the Breeders' Cup Juvenile starting gate with only two starts under his girth. He has a 2-2-0-0 ($348,000) record.


Havana's sire Dunkirk was a $3.7 million 2007 Keeneland September Yearling. By Unbridled's Song out of Kentucky Oaks heroine Secret Status, Dunkirk didn't race until January of his three year old season. He was an underachiever, with only five lifetime starts and no stakes wins on his resume. The expensive colt was a runner-up in the Florida Derby then finished eleventh after a rough trip in the Kentucky Derby. In his final race, Dunkirk made the pace for a mile in the Belmont Stakes. He fought courageously, losing the race, but holding off Mine That Bird for second place by a neck. Dunkirk suffered a fractured leg after the Belmont and was retired. As a stallion, the pretty gray has leapt to the head of the class in part to Havana's victory. Dunkirk has sired a G-3 winner, two listed stakes winners and two stakes placed runners.


Havana's distaff line is filled with listed stakes quality sprinters. Three of his five half siblings raced/won, and one, Among the Willows (by Brahms) is stakes placed.


Havana's dam is a half sister to two stakes winning sprinters, Chief J Strongbow (by Chief Honcho) and Egg Head (by Honor Grades). Havana's second dam Redding Ridge (by Screen King) was a multiple stakes winning sprinter. Havana's damsire won three of 13 races in his career, including the Nashua Stakes and the Gotham. Other than Havana, Kyle's Our Man is the broodmare sire of only one other stakes winner.



Havana is brilliantly fast and so far has carried his speed a mile. Can he handle 1 1/6 miles? His pedigree says yes. His speed demon running style so far? Not so much. Honor Code was closing like a freight train on Havana in the Champagne and if Castellano hadn't taken a detour to snatch a hot dog out of a railbird's hand, they would have won the race. Not to knock Havana, he did dig in at the end. His final time of 1:35.81 is comparable to that of Shanghai Bobby and Union Rags, who, incidentally, won their editions of the Champagne by five-plus lengths.


Things rarely go as planned in the Breeders' Cup races. Horses endure horrid trips, stumble, bump, check, get boxed in, go wide, you name it. The $1 million dollar question is, can Havana rate if necessary? Can he win in a prolonged battle? Of course, we won't know until he does, and the Juvenile Turf is a steep learning curve. Keep him as a factor in your handicapping, just in case.




WE MISS ARTIE (Artie Schiller - Athena's Gift, by Fusaichi Pegasus)



We Miss Artie was a $90K 2012 Keeneland September Yearling purchased by prominent owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey. The son of a Breeders' Cup Mile hero, the young colt has won sprinting over turf and around two turns on polytrack. He placed sprinting on dirt. In the With Anticipation Stakes (G-3), We Miss Artie ran out of steam and faded to sixth after going three wide on the turns. He rebounded in the Breeders' Futurity, proving that neither rain nor polytrack would deter him from victory. He has a 4-2-1-0 ($307,000) race record.


The word “versatile” sums up We Miss Artie's pedigree. His third crop sire Artie Schiller, a son of El Prado out of the Santa Anita, Del Mar and Hollywood Oaks heroine Hidden Light, has roughly 50 from 200 winners over dirt. They are turf and Polytrack lovers, especially at Keeneland. Artie Schiller's daughter My Conquestadory won the Alcibiadies the day before We Miss Artie's Breeder's Futurity victory.


We Miss Artie has a half sister by world champ Johannesburg. She raced four times and was successful in her last race, a maiden claiming at Woodbine in June, 2013. Their dam Athena's Gift never won a stakes. She's a half sister to the graded stakes placed Rushin' to Alter (by Pulpit), who could run on anything, turf, dirt, mud, sprints, routes, you name it. We Miss Artie's second dam Russian Bride was a stakes winner who could also run over every surface.


Most of us know We Miss Artie's damsire, 2000 Kentucky Derby Champ Fusaichi Pegasus. He's a young broodmare sire with only ten stakes winners. We Miss Artie is his first Grade 1 stakes winner in the U.S. In keeping with the versatility theme, the offspring of Fusaichi Pegasus and that of his daughters win over all surfaces.


We Miss Artie is Mr. Versatility. I just know that he's going to turn into one of those horses who can do anything. 1 1/16 miles is right up his alley and as he matures, he could go longer. We Miss Artie can press the pace or sit farther back, so there's no need to nurse his speed nor is he dependent on a fast pace to make his run.


Although he's placed over dirt and with the right crowed on the right day, he could win. However We Miss Artie might be better over turf and polytrack.


Winners of the Breeders' Futurity don't fare so well in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Last year's winner Joha, headed to the Juvenile Turf and placed eighth. We have to go back four years to Noble's Promise to find a Breeders' Futurity winner who hit the board in the Juvenile.


I'd be more inclined to bet We Miss Artie in the Juvenile Turf rather than the Juvenile.





In a head to head match-up in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, between Havana and We Miss Artie, my money would be on Havana. With all else being equal, which one would you bet?



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Older Comments about 2013 Breeders' Cup Juvenile: Havana or We Miss Artie?...

Havana....most definately
The Futurity is a fun race to bet as it can be so wide open. It has zero relevance to me for BC races. I think Havana is the better animal. I would say the top three from the Champagne are lengths better than anything in the Futuriy. If Vegas offered a head to head matchup on Artie and Havana then Havana woulld go 1-5.
Thinking will find the BA requires recurring application of emollients :)
Hey amino, I finally finished polishing the Big Apple. Now I've moved up in my Posse status!
Good plan, gelded one ?? Like LAZ wrote, these babies are growing fast, now we just need to find out which one has blossomed. It’s the 10th anniversary of Action This Day’s win.
Good plan, gelded one ?? Like LAZ wrote, these babies are growing fast, now we just need to find out which one has blossomed. It’s the 10th anniversary of Action This Day’s win.
I think I'd pass on both. Artie should stick with the juvenile turf and there will be a couple of speed horses in the juvenile, so Havana will probably be done in by them. For the first time since Vale of York in 2009 there's a good chance at a longshot winning the juvenile.
Havana -- I don't like the horses coming from Keeneland wins at Santa Anita.

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