By: John Pinder
Race #9: The Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Dirt – 1 1/16 Miles) 2 YO
Purse: $2 Million
This year’s edition of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile will be contested by 10 talented colts. None of which have shown more talent to this point than the Bob Baffert trained Cave Rock. Cave Rock is undefeated in his three lifetime starts and has posted outstanding times. Each race increased slightly in distance, congruently his speed figures followed the upward path. There are so many positives about this runner that jump off the page, he is the deserving morning line favorite; and more than likely will go off as the post time favorite at short odds. Looking at details of his pedigree he is the son of Arrogate, who was “the” dominate force in the sport early in his racing career. Cave Rock was a half-million dollar purchase last year at the Keeneland September sale. High-velocity runner, ability to handle the distance, excellent breeding, in the training hands of one of the best to ever do it. Why do we need to discuss any of the other runners? You know why?! It’s horseracing! And not only that, it’s the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile! All of these talented 2-year-olds are growing and maturing right before our eyes and could be ready to run beyond their odds. Let’s attempt to find this year’s Hot Rod Charlie, who ran second at odds of 94-1 two years ago in the BC Juvenile.
Race dynamics are always important factors when attempting to predetermine the outcome of a race and is one of my favorite places to start. From an early speed standpoint, the favorite Cave Rock seems to have that covered but there are 2 – 3 other competitors that could push him to go faster than what he would like to. Hurricane J is a runner that is stretching out for the first time after winning two 6 furlong races in front running fashion. Starting down on the inside from post position #1, we can project this 30-1 morning line longshot to give it his all by going fast early. Curly Jack is another runner with early pace that has shown his natural running style is to go fast early. Even though I don’t believe that Hurricane J nor Curly Jack have an opportunity to pull the upset, they are the keys to the race. If they can push the pace of the favorite and extend him early, there could be a chance for someone other than Cave Rock to win this year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. The two runners that could benefit the most from a tiring favorite would be Forte and National Treasure. Forte seems like a logical benefactor. His proven ability to rate then close strong along with his 4-1 morning line odds, would concur with that logic. But why National Treasure? He was beaten a solid five lengths by Cave Rock last time out and was no match when the real running started in the far turn. For me the reasons hinge on the change of rider to John Velazquez and the knowledge that Cave Rock is the real deal.
There was no challenge early to Cave Rock in the G1 American Pharoah. He was allowed to coast along upfront without any challenge to his early speed and he won without breaking a sweat. If any of the runners dare challenge him early, they will do so at their own demise but could allow the race to be more competitive in the end. I don’t foresee a wild upset in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile but on the bright side you should be able to lean heavily on a few for your horizontal and vertical wagers. Let’s make it happen and have a profitable Breeders’ Cup.