Early Look: Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint – November 5th, 2021
By: Michael Domabyl
The Breeders’ Cup action gets underway at Del Mar on Friday at around 5:50pm Eastern with the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint. In similar fashion to the version of this race for the older horses, the American contingent has dominated the runnings. However, it should be noted that the last time the Breeders’ Cup was hosted at Del Mar, the European cohort tasted turf sprint success with Declarationofpeace taking down the event for Aidan O’Brien and the Coolmore operation in the year before this race became an official Breeders’ Cup event. That being said, I still think the home team holds a strong hand in this event once again.
Wesley Ward specializes with juvenile turf sprinters and has scored victories the last two runnings of this race with Four Wheel Drive in 2019 and Golden Pal at Keeneland last fall. This year he brings in a very talented runner in Averly Jane (#8) that looks to become the first filly to take down this race and with three victories over males already this year, she has the figures and form to acquire that honor. Like many Ward trainees, she is ultra fast out of the stalls and with this event at a flat five furlongs this year, the break is going to be of great importance.
Another to look to from the U.S. contingent would be One Timer (#9) who goes out for the high-percentage barn of Larry Rivelli. A feather in his cap is that he’s already proven he can handle taking his show on the road to the west coast as evidenced by a game victory in the Speakeasy Stakes at this same five furlong distance. Like many of the runners in this field, One Timer does his best work right up on the front end and the presence of a multitude of speed horses could set it up for a late closer. If that’s the case, I’d keep an eye out for another filly in this field in Derrynane (#11) to potentially mow them down late. She’s proven to have a potent closing kick and put that on full display last time out at Woodbine in her first race over firm turf. Christophe Clement does especially good work with his juveniles on turf and opts to send Slipstream to the route version of this race, so Derrynane will rate his best chance.
If there’s one key prep from Europe that is worth watching back a few times, it’s the Queen Mary Stakes from Ascot this summer. This is due in part to the fact the Royal Ascot meeting featured a firmer than usual condition for their turf course which is more indicative of what these runners will see in San Diego than some of the other European preps.
Twilight Gleaming (Ire) (#6) is another filly for the Wesley Ward barn and went off favored in that 21-horse field. Although she was run down late by the late defection from this race, Quick Suzy (Ire), she has many things working in her favor since she’s been back training in America since mid-September and her trainer is a proven commodity in this race.
Ultimately I foresee one of these U.S.-based fillies successful in their attempt to tackle their male counterparts as there’s plenty of precedent both domestic and abroad of the girls tasting success against males early in their careers. However this race ultimately plays out, it’s sure to be a heart-racing opening to a jam-packed weekend of exciting racing action with this full field of juvenile turf sprinters blitzing over the Del Mar lawn.