Holy Bull: An Enduring Legacy of Brilliance
Horse racing’s All-Star weekend has arrived! The 2020 edition of the Breeders’ Cup, at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., will be held on Friday, Nov. 6 and Saturday, Nov. 7.
The Nov. 6 Future Stars Friday card features five championship races, all for 2-year-olds. Saturday’s program has nine races, headlined by the $6 million Longines Classic.
Here, we’ll take a look at Friday’s racing. Which championship contenders will emerge as the stars of tomorrow?
Television coverage is on NBCSN from 2 p.m.-6 p.m. ET.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint
Distance: 5 ½ furlongs on turf
Post time: 2:30 p.m. ET
Wagering Menu: Win/Place/Show, Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta, Jackpot Super High-5, Daily Double, Pick 3, Pick 5
Background: The newest of the Breeders’ Cup races, the Juvenile Turf Sprint will be held for only the third time in the race’s history. It’s been a relatively formful event so far: 4:30-1 Bulletin won it in 2018, while favored Four Wheel Drive took it home last year. Despite the strong reputation of European invaders in Breeders’ Cup turf races, both winners so far have been Americans.
Favorites: Wesley Ward looks to have them surrounded. He’s well known for his expertise with 2-year-old turf horses, and he pre-entered nine of them to this race. Among his pre-entries, Amanzi Yimplio and Golden Pal look like the strongest contenders. Amanzi Yimpilo is coming off a win in the Speakeasy Stakes at Santa Anita Park, where he battled gamely in the stretch to win by a head. Golden Pal was an impressive winner of the Skidmore Stakes at Saratoga in August, and just missed winning the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Among the European invaders, Ubettabelieveit, already a two-time stakes winner, and Lipizzaner, for the powerhouse Aiden O’Brien stable, loom largest.
Interesting Storylines: Bodenheimer came from humble beginnings. He’s a Washington-bred who sold at auction for $27,000, a stark contrast from the six-figure price tags of many of his rivals. He won his first race in impressive fashion at Canterbury Park in Minnesota, then won a stakes at Prairie Meadows in Iowa. Last out, he won the Indian Summer Stakes by a head at Keeneland, giving him experience over this track. Should he win the Juvenile Turf Sprint, he’d be the first Washington-bred to win a Breeders’ Cup race.
Second of July has thrived being the underdog in his short career. He won his debut at Belmont Park at 68.25-1, then followed it up with a 15.50-1 win in the Futurity Stakes next out. His trainer, Phil Gleaves, has been training horses for 35 years, after serving as the top assistant for Hall of Famer Woody Stephens. He’s seeking his first Breeders’ Cup win here.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Presented by Coolmore America
Distance: one mile on turf
Post time: 3:10 p.m. ET
Wagering Menu: Win/Place/Show, Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta, Jackpot Super High-5, Daily Double, Pick 3, Pick 4, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf/Breeders’ Cup Turf Daily Double
Background: Inaugurated in 2007, this race has served as a showcase for top European 2-year-olds. European invaders have won the race nine times from 13 editions. Only two renewals, 2010 and 2019, saw Americans finish 1-2. Like the Juvenile Turf Sprint, it’s been a relatively formful race. Nownownow, who won the first running at 12.60-1 in 2007, is the biggest longshot to win to date.
Favorites: Aiden O’Brien has won this race four times, and he looks likely to add a fifth title. Battleground is a two-time stakes winner in Europe, having most recently won the Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes in July.
Sealiway is the other top European in the race, coming off an impressive win in the Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere-Grand Criterium at Longchamp in France. He would be the first French-trained winner of this race. Go Athletico, a stakes winner in France earlier in the year, also figures to represent his home country well.
Interesting Storylines: Looking back at American-based winners of this race, none of them came out of California. Ebeko, an Irish-bred trained by Peter Miller, will look to change that. He was a fast-closing second in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf in his American debut, then surged to win the Zuma Beach Stakes at Santa Anita Park last out. Miller is looking to win a Breeders’ Cup race for the fourth year in a row.
Gretzky the Great, for trainer Mark Casse, is looking to become the first Canadian-bred winner of this race. He’s had a dominant run at Woodbine with three wins in a row. Last out, he won the Summer Stakes going away, in his first start at one mile.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies
Distance: 1 1/16 miles on dirt
Post time: 3:50 p.m. ET
Wagering Menu: Win/Place/Show, Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta, Jackpot Super High-5, Daily Double, Pick 3, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies/Breeders’ Cup Distaff Daily Double
Background: The Juvenile Fillies is of the “original seven” Breeders’ Cup races, first held in 1984. This race almost inevitably produces the Eclipse Award champion for 2-year-old filly; the last horse who did not win this race and still won the award was She’s a Tiger in 2013, who finished first in the Juvenile Fillies but was disqualified. We’ve seen our share of upsets in this race in recent years, including 32.30-1 Ria Antonia in 2013 (over She’s a Tiger), 61.70-1 Take Charge Brandi in 2014, 33.60-1 Champagne Room in 2016, and 17.30-1 Caledonia Road in 2017.
Favorites: This is one of the better betting races of the weekend. All eight pre-entries have a case to win. Simply Ravishing, one of two entries for trainer Ken McPeek, is coming off a big win in the Darley Alcibaides Stakes over this track. She set the pace and drew off to win by 6 ¼ lengths. In the race prior, the P.G. Johnson Stakes at Saratoga, she won by 6 ½ lengths after stalking the pace.
Simply Ravishing and Bob Baffert-trained Princess Noor will likely vie for favoritism. Princess Noor is a perfect 3-for-3 in her carer, going off as the heavy favorite all three times. She won the Chandelier Stakes at Santa Anita by 8 ¼ lengths last out, while being geared down in the stretch. Baffert has won this race twice, with Silverbulletday in 1998 and Indian Blessing in 2007.
Interesting Storylines: In a field full of expensive fillies with top connections, Princess Secret is looking to win one for the little guys. A $30,000 purchase at auction last year, this Florida-bred filly has already won two stakes in her home state. In her last race, she showed a lot of heart to win the My Dear Girl Stakes by a neck, after a wide trip and a long stretch battle. Trainer Daniel Pita and jockey Miguel Vasquez are both seeking their first wins in a graded stakes race.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf
Distance: one mile on turf
Post time: 4:30 p.m. ET
Wagering menu: Win/Place/Show, Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta, Jackpot Super High-5, Daily Double
Background: This race was contested for the first time in 2008. In contrast to its male counterpart, American-based fillies have done quite well in this race. Only two Europeans, Flotilla in 2012 and Chriselliam in 2013, have won. Bettors tend to fall into this trap; last year, the two favorites were Europeans, and they ended up second and fourth. While you can’t blindly toss foreign invaders, they’re not the slam dunks that they might be in the Juvenile Turf. Like the Juvenile Turf, this race tends to be pretty formful. 13.80-1 Sharing, who won this race last year, is the biggest longshot to take home this title.
Favorites: Trainer Brad Cox and jockey Florent Geroux had excellent Keeneland fall meets, and they’ll look to pick up another win there with Aunt Pearl. This speedy filly is coming off a win in the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes, setting the pace and cruising to a 2 ½ length win. Campanelle, for trainer Wesley Ward, broke her maiden in the United States, but has gone on to win two stakes in Europe. This will be her first race at two turns. Two-time stakes winner Plum Ali and undefeated California-based Madone also figure to get some action.
There are several European-based invaders looking to end the hegemony the Americans have enjoyed. Miss Amulet, for trainer Ken Condon, lost the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes in her last start by half a length. She’s also stretching out to a route for the first time. Irish-bred Mother Earth, who lost the Bet365 Fillies Mile by a length last out, will try to give Aiden O’Brien his first win in this race.
Interesting Storylines: Chad Brown, perhaps the top grass trainer in the country, has won this race five times. He’ll send out Editor at Large in here, coming off a third-place finish in the Miss Grillo Stakes at Belmont Park won by Plum Ali. Should she win, Brown would become the third trainer to win a Breeders’ Cup race six times. Aiden O’Brien, with six wins in the Turf, and D. Wayne Lukas, with six Juvenile Fillies wins, are the other two.
TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance
Distance: 1 1/16 miles on dirt
Post time: 5:10 p.m. ET
Wagering Menu: Win/Place/Show, Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta, Jackpot Super High-5, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile/Breeders’ Cup Classic Daily Double
Background: The centerpiece of day one of the Breeders’ Cup is the Juvenile, showcasing the country’s top 2-year-old colts and geldings. Like its female counterpart, the winner of this race tends to go on to win the Eclipse Award as champion of his division. Two winners of this race, Street Sense in 2006 and Nyquist in 2015, went on to win the Kentucky Derby the next year.
Last year saw the biggest upset in the race’s history, as Storm the Court led a trifecta of all longshots. Before last year, the favorite or second favorite had won three of the prior four editions.
Favorite: The undefeated Jackie’s Warrior, for trainer Steve Asmussen, could be the biggest favorite of the weekend. He’s a perfect 4-for-4 in his career, having won all his races by at least 2 ½ lengths. In his last three wins, all of which came in stakes, he went straight to the lead and drew away. The only question is the distance; this will be his first try around two turns. Still, he looks very tough to beat, and will likely be a single on many Pick 4 and Pick 5 tickets.
Interesting Storylines: Robertino Diodoro is one of the top claiming trainers in the country. He won the training title at Oaklawn Park this year, and is in third place in the national trainer standings for the year. Yet, he’s never won a Grade 1 race. He’ll seek to change that in the Juvenile with two entries. Dreamer’s Disease impressively won an allowance at Keeneland last out, scoring by 4 ½ lengths after setting the early pace. Keepmeinmind finished second last out in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity at 52.70-1.
Two horses are coming in here off just one start, and short breaks. Camp Hope broke his maiden on Oct. 25 at Churchill Downs for trainer Ken McPeek, winning by four lengths. Classier, a $775,000 purchase for Bob Baffert, won his first start handily at Santa Anita Park on Oct. 24. If either one won, they’d be the first Juvenile winner to come into the race off a maiden win since New Year’s Day in 2013.