Our Friday Breeders Cup previews continue here with the Juvenile Turf, a race in which the European entries should be very tough.
Audio – I previewed the Friday races with my friend Steve Falk. You can listen here:
Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf
Both races for juvenile turf runners have proven to be sensational additions to the both the Breeders Cup specifically and United States turf racing in general. This field is very good, but as noted in our Juvenile Fillies Turf preview, it feels as if the Euros hold a stronger hand in this race than the girls race earlier in the card.
The best of the American entrants is Voting Control for Chad Brown and Javier Castellano. He was an impressive debut winner and then came back on 20 days rest in the Pilgrim, where he was squeezed back at the start, losing a few lengths right out of the gate. He put in a good late run and just missed to the pace-pressing Seabahc, who is hurt and did not come in for this race.
Catholic Boy won the With Anticipation at Saratoga with a strong close. He was hemmed in a bit but closed well when clear. He also got some pace and was able to save ground on what was a good Saratoga inside at that part of the meet. Still, he beat two next-out stakes winners in Pilgrim winner Seabach and Summer winner Untaimed Domain. Untaimed Domain lost more ground than Catholic Boy (56 feet per Trakus) that day and ran well as the best off the pace mover in the Summer, so we prefer him to Catholic Boy. But both are probably in too tough here.
Snapper Sinclair impressed in his two turf starts, including a win at Kentucky Downs in a seven furlong stakes race last time. He’s talented and has speed but didn’t draw well. He’ll be forwardly placed, however, with Hemp Hemp Hurray.
California has two entrants, My Boy Jack and Encumbered. Encumbered beat My Boy Jack in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf and then My Boy Jack won the Zuma Beach at Santa Anita when Encumbered ran that day on dirt. Of the two, we’d prefer My Boy Jack, who was pretty green at Del Mar racing on his wrong lead and seemed to put it together last time, winning a lot easier than the margin would suggest. Still, the pair got fast paces in both of those races. Maybe they’ll get one here, but we’d prefer Voting Control and the Euros.
The Euros look very tough in here and the most attractive of the Euros is Masar, a Godlophin charge for trainer Charles Appleby. He’s a horse that seems to want firm ground that he gets here – the trainer said as much when deciding to come to the Breeders Cup. Further, he’s been the mile distance already and ran very well at Chantilly in the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardare. Against Happily (in the Juvenile Fillies Turf), he was the one who made the first uncovered move after the leader and held on pretty well, getting worn down late by Happily, who preferred the soft going that day. Still, that was an excellent performance and he’s drawn very well here for an excellent trainer who won this race in 2013 with Outstrip, another that he identified as a runner that would prefer the firm Southern California turf course.
Of the other Europeans, we prefer Mendelssohn, who was a good second to the Juvenile-bound US Navy Flag (who would have been favored here). It was an improved effort when adding blinkers for Aidan O’Brien. James Garfield is a closer with a good kick. He’ll have to handle two-turns, but should have no trouble with that (Newbury, where he won his last race, has a slight up-hill finish). It should be noted he had gate trouble in his first two starts, but he is the second choice overseas behind Masar. Beckford ran maybe his best race when he got good going (as opposed to soft or good/soft) on August 13th at the Curragh.
#6 Masar (9-2)
#8 Voting Control (8-1)
#7 James Garfield (6-1)
#5 Beckford (8-1)