Before getting into the entries numbers, I need to say that this year’s edition of the Breeders Cup Juvenile is one of the most stacked and one of the hardest races to handicap in its entire history.
Believe it or not, we have two incredible roadblocks this year with this particular race. The first, which is the most important, is that there is not ONE “Average” 2.10 to 2.90 colt entered. Not one. Nada. Nothing. The field is completely split into two categories – Speed and Stamina. There is no middle ground here. What does this mean? Well, we have 3 high end speed guys, 5 lower end speed guys and 6 stamina guys. At a mile and 1/16th, and just looking down at each CD in the group, every single one of them goes the distance.
In many of the cases, this is actually their optimum distance. In other cases, their numbers and breeding make them hotshots for the Derby itself, which of course points to potential monsters then. The type that can run this distance, fast, with their eyes closed.
It means that the top tier is advantaged and the bottom tier is advantaged and the pace, just the pace alone, will dictate the winner. I love handicapping two year olds but I am going to be stone cold honest with you about this particular race. It is a fools bet. After working on these guys for weeks, I have come to the conclusion that I will not be betting this race. And you shouldn’t either.
The worst bet you can make is one where you have 14 in a gate and a case can be made for over half of them. There is no division in the inheritance categories which means, this race will follow suit with the pace alone. Fast pace, the stamina guys have a shot. Slow pace, the speed skates here, plus, there’s a couple of stamina guys who ran fast too. Some of the lead speedy guys have the stamina to sustain this distance. No, it’s a bad bet. The advantages are too spread out and with two year olds, pace and luck will dictate the top four. Without those average guys, we are left with an advantage across the board.
Never place a bet just for the sake of betting. Parlay that money onto the Dirt Mile where there is at least a fair game in handicapping.
The second roadblock is that the colt who was supposed to run in this race and now does not have a gate would have outwitted this entire group. He was the bet. He was the longshot that everything would have revolved around but he’s out so the dynamics are all over the board.
The horse’s name was Vittorio. A Ghostzapper boy who is fast as lightening, runs up on the lead, packed with stamina, jockeyed by Mike Smith and has only run 2 races so far. One at 5f and one at 6f. The first one at 5f, he bombed. He broke bad, found himself at the back of the pack and started to make up ground but ran out of track. The second one at 6f, he exploded. He broke fine, stalked and beat them all. Stamina guy with killer numbers that would have loved to be up stalking all of the speed in this field, with serious speed of his own, but with a boatload of stamina to run it full throttle. I will be watching this guy on the trail. He is built perfectly for the Kentucky Derby. Hell, he is built perfectly for every Derby Prep leading up to the Derby as well.
Getting back to the race, again, I love betting the Juvenile but I will be sitting this one out this year. It’s not a good bet. It is too wide open, the top 3 speed guys have the distance, there are a few very fast stamina guys and only a few can be tossed without second thought. That makes for a very bad bet and horrible use of your Breeder’s bankroll.
Below is the list of contenders with a few sentences on each, along with Derby potential. I am not spending another minute handicapping this race that I have no desire to bet. Vittorio is out, the field is wide open. There are at least 10 advantages in this gate. The three that are listed first have the best advantage for a win, as they have the highest amount of inbred speed on the field with the ability to run the distance.
3.10 and Higher
JACKIE’S WARRIOR (Maclean’s Music) Asmussen
DP = 4-10-8-0-0 (22) DI = 4.50 CD = 0.82
Mare Profile = 8-6-2-5-9 Speed = 14 Stamina = 14 Index = 0.96 Triads = 16-13-16
He will certainly not go the distance of the Kentucky Derby, so there’s that. He’s holding the highest amount of speed inheritance on the field. This kind of speed at this distance wins. Does he have enough stamina for the Juvenile? Yes, he sure does. He’s 7-5 M/L. With the way this race shakes out as far as inheritance for this distance, are you going to risk money going for a shot with the highest speed guy on the field to get back 2 bucks for every 5 you bet?
LIKEABLE (Frosted, second generation Tapit) Pletcher
DP = 3-6-4-1-0 (14) DI = 3.67 CD = 0.79
Mare Profile = 8-4-2-6-9 Speed = 12 Stamina = 15 Index = 0.85 Triads = 14-12-17
YES!!!!!! The second coming of Tiz the Law. He has every shot in this race as well, plus, if he does show up and show off, he will be a player in the Derby.
CLASSIER (Empire Maker) Baffert
DP = 8-9-9-0-2 (28) DI = 3.31 CD = 0.75
Mare Profile = 5-6-2-6-10 Speed = 11 Stamina = 16 Index = 0.64 Triads = 13-14-18
For this distance, absolutely. For the Derby Preps, absolutely. For the 10f Derby, not a chance without Salon Pas patches and spiked hay.
ESSENTIAL QUALITY (Tapit) Cox
DP = 5-12-14-1-0 (32) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.66
Mare Profile = 12-3-2-2-12 Speed = 15 Stamina = 14 Index = 1.04 Triads = 17-7-16
The chefs are giving him the stamina, the mares are giving him the speed. Tapit colt with a loaded profile showing off that mare speed, but has the jets to win the 12f Belmont Stakes. Does he have a chance at this distance? Absolutely.
REINVESTMENT RISK (Upstart) Brown
DP = 2-2-4-0-0 (8) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.75
Mare Profile = 11-1-2-4-12 Speed = 12 Stamina = 16 Index = 0.83 Triads = 14-7-18
This guy is being installed at 9-2 M/L. Out of the entire group, this horse is running like a champ in his short races, which is pointing directly to that 11 in his mares profile. Four point spread, low mare index. Another Hotshot speed guy with no problem at the distance. Not too high on these numbers though for the Derby.
DREAMER’S DISEASE (Laoban) Diodoro
DP = 3-3-6-0-0 (12) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.75
Mare Profile = 13-3-3-2-9 Speed = 16 Stamina = 11 Index = 1.39 Triads = 19-8-14
Son of Laoban who wants to run on the dirt. Wired his last with ease at a mile. He has no problem getting that extra 1/16th. Another who could fly to victory here. No chance in the Derby though.
CAMP HOPE (Summer Front) McPeek
DP = 5-11-13-1-0 (30) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.67
Mare Profile = 7-5-4-4-8 Speed = 12 Stamina = 12 Index = 0.96 Triads = 16-13-16
Packed Profile. Stamina from the chefs, speed from the mares. Even across the board. Has shown he can fly from behind if the speed breaks down so there is always the chance that could happen. He has this distance but he has nothing for the Derby.
KING FURY (Curlin) McPeek
DP = 6-6-12-0-0 (24) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.75
Mare Profile = 6-3-3-7-10 Speed = 9 Stamina = 17 Index = 0.60 Triads = 12-13-20
Look at that mare stamina with a 3.00 index. Runs mid-pack and up. Again, another that has a shot to progress off of his last win. No go for the Derby. Possibly Belmont.
HOT ROD CHARLIE (Oxbow) O’Neill
DP = 1-4-5-0-0 (10) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.60
Mare Profile = 11-1-5-11-3 Speed = 12 Stamina = 14 Index = 1.27 Triads = 17-17-19
He will like the additional distance but that .60 low CD is not the best against this group. He’s gaining extra speed from his mares but he hasn’t shown it. One of the few who falls at a disadvantage in this race. Could be revisited in the future.
2.10 to 2.90 Average
This is the hardest Breeders Juvenile in its history. Not one horse is entered in this average category.
2.00 and Under
KEEPMEINMIND (Laoban) Diodoro
DP = 0-2-4-0-0 (6) DI = 2.00 CD = 0.33
Mare Profile = 11-2-2-4-8 Speed = 13 Stamina = 12 Index = 1.18 Triads = 15-8-14
Defaults into the mid category and shows a disadvantage with this breeding for both this race and the Derby. He has a great balance but he lacks with the triads underneath that low .33 CD. He goes the distance but will tail behind the speed.
CALIBRATE (Distorted Humor) Asmussen
DP = 7-4-15-1-1 (28) DI = 1.95 CD = 0.54
Mare Profile = 5-5-3-9-7 Speed = 10 Stamina = 16 Index = 0.69 Triads = 13-17-19
Very nice numbers for a stamina guy. He is nowhere near his optimum for this race. One with a severe disadvantage even if the speed goes crazy. He isn’t fast enough on the back end at this distance.
ROMBAUER (Twirling Candy) McCarthy
DP = 2-1-7-0-0 (10) DI = 1.86 CD = 0.50
Mare Profile = 4-3-6-8-8 Speed = 7 Stamina = 16 Index = 0.57 Triads = 13-17-22
I like this guy a lot. He’s got a ton of stamina and he is running far below his optimum and still put on a nice race in taking second in his last. He needs distance but he has every opportunity to progress off his last. This is a good horse (among many at this distance).
NEXT (Not This Time) Ward
DP = 1-4-13-0-0 (18) DI = 1.77 CD = 0.33
Mare Profile = 6-8-3-10-2 Speed = 14 Stamina = 12 Index = 1.35 Triads = 17-21-15
Excellent numbers at this distance because of the mares speed contribution. Looks to have the best configurations in this stamina group for this particular race. Another advantaged colt for the Juvenile.
SITTIN ON GO (Brody’s Cause) Romans
DP = 2-0-16-0-0 (18) DI = 1.25 CD = 0.22
Mare Profile = 6-5-3-4-10 Speed = 11 Stamina = 14 Index = 0.74 Triads = 14-12-17
Big stamina numbers sitting at the far extreme from Jackie’s Warrior. If speed falters, he comes charging. It’s too easy in one regard, between the speed of Jackie's Warrior and the stamina of Sittin On Go, but on the other hand, there are too many advantaged colts on this field for this distance. Rombauer has serious potential, Likeable and Classier have speed at this distance, Chad Brown's Reinvestment Risk could make his move, and many other longshots who have the right stuff to blossom here. There are too many variables with immature 2 year olds in a full field of 14. This is not a good betting race. This is a race to cheer on the best Derby hopefuls early on in anticipation for Derby Futures Betting. There are 5 on this list that have the breeding for either the Derby or the Belmont. We need them to make some noise. Lay low on betting this race, save your money for another.