Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Preview – By Howard Kravets

Juvenile Turf

By Howard Kravets

Always a great conglomeration of Americans and Euros, the Juvenile Turf will have a full field of 14 vying for the top prize. Although there are no standouts in this interesting race, the U.S.-based horses originally had a strong chance to win, led by the East Coast pair of Annapolis for Todd Pletcher and Portfolio Company for Chad Brown. The pair finished 1-2, respectively, in the Gr. 2 Pilgrim at Belmont while running very solid Beyer number of 89 and 88. However, Annapolis, the best hope for the American-based horses, recently was injured and will not be running at the Breeders Cup.

But there are other U.S.-based horses that could have a say, including recent stakes-winner Dakota Gold from the Danny Gargan barn, and Grafton Street for Mark Casse, who finished 2nd to Albahr in the G1 Summer Stakes at Woodbine two starts back. Two others worth mentioning are Tiz the Bomb for Ken McPeek, who won well at Keeneland despite breaking through the gate pre-race, and Mackinnon from the West Coast for Doug O’Neill. It should be noted that horses from California have not performed well in this race over the years, so MacKinnon would need to step up dramatically to have a chance on the win end.

The foreign contingent is led by a pair from the Charles Appleby yard. Appleby has already won several stakes in the U.S. this year, and he looks to add another in the form of Albahr and Modern Games. The aforementioned Albahr won his last impressively at Woodbine despite breaking very poorly. Frankie Dettori rode him with the utmost confidence and got the job done, the horse’s first start outside of Europe. Modern Games, the ante-post favorite in this race by UK punters overseas, is a horse that shows good early speed and stamina in Europe. He has 3 wins in 5 starts this season starts, has tactical speed, and should be a factor from start to finish, as long as he breaks well and can handle the extra distance. Another well-regarded Euro is the Hugo Palmer-trainee Dubawi Legend, who also shows good early speed in his races and recently finished a solid 2nd to the best 2yo Euro this season, Native Trail.

From a betting perspective, this race appears wide open. The top Euros have been showing an uncharacteristic amount of early speed, especially for Euros, so it will be interesting to see how that translates to the tight, left-handed configuration at Del Mar. Modern Games might be the most talented horse in the race, but I would not take low odds on this one considering the depth of the field. Spreading wide in any horizontal bets (Pick 4, Pick 5, etc…) and trying to catch a price might be the best idea in this race, as I think as many as 6-7 could realistically win.

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