A Fantastic Future Stars Friday
By Bob Ehalt
LOUISVILLE – When the Breeders’ Cup shuffled its lineup and turned Friday into a day for juveniles, if the intention was to showcase the stars of tomorrow, it was an unqualified success.
Dubbed “Future Stars Friday,” Day One of the 35th Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs, featured a quintet of outstanding performances, capped by Game Winner’s 2 1/4-length victory in the $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile that cemented an Eclipse Award for the 2-year-old son of Candy Ride and established him as the one to beat next spring at the Louisville track in the Kentucky Derby.
It wasn’t the only championship performance as the Eclipse Award for the champion 2-year-old filly figures to go to $2 million Tito’s Handmade Vodka Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner Jaywalk, though the undefeated Newspaperofrecord, winner of the $1 million BC Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) could also have a loud say in the vote.
The day also featured impressive victories by Line of Duty in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) and Bulletin in the first-running of the $1 million BC Juvenile Turf Sprint.
Attendance at Churchill Downs was 42,249 on a grey but dry day and the total handle was $52,216,685.
BC SENTIENT JET JUVENILE
Game Winner showed both class and determination as he rallied from seventh in a field of 11 to run down 40-1 shot Knicks Go in the final eighth of a mile and record a 2 1/4-length score for trainer Bob Baffert and owners Gary and Mary West.
The victory was Baffert’s fourth win in the BC Juvenile and 15th at the World Championships. Only D. Wayne Lukas, with 20, has more Breeders’ Cup wins among trainers.
The Wests won the 2013 BC Juvenile with New Year’s Day, who was also trained by Baffert.
“He’s special,” Baffert said about Game Winner. “The way he won and the way he did it was impressive. I was worried at the half-mile pole, but (jockey Joel Rosario) wasn’t. He knew he had a lot of horse. This is a huge win for me and I’m so happy for Gary and Mary West.”
The Wests won the 2013 BC Juvenile with New Year’s Day, who was also trained by Baffert.
For Game Winner ($4), the even money favorite, the BC Juvenile win came on the heels of Grade 1 wins in the American Pharoah Stakes and Del Mar Futurity.
He figures to be the fourth straight BC Juvenile winner to be named the champion 2-year-old male of 2018. Of the last eight recipients of that Eclipse Award, the prize has gone to the BC Juvenile victor in six of the last eight years.
The final time for the mile-and-a-sixteenth was 1:43.67, a shade slower than the 1:43.62 Jaywalk needed to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at the same distance.
Knicks Go, a 5 ½-length winner of the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at 70-1 odds, held on for second by a length over Signalman. Mr. Money took fourth.
BC JUVENILE TURF
The Europeans were once again at their best in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) as the world-famous Godolphin Racing shipped Line of Duty across the Atlantic to score a narrow half-length win over Uncle Benny in a tight, three-horse finish.
There was a claim of foul against Line of Duty in the race that was not allowed as Godolphin claimed its eighth win at the World Championships.
“He put up a great performance to go and win,” jockey William Buick said about Line of Duty, who paid $9 to win as the 7-2 third choice.
Somelikeithotbrown was third, a neck behind Uncle Benny.
Final time for the one mile on “good” turf was 1:40.06
Europe’s premier trainer, Aidan O’Brien, had dominated the previous 11 runnings of the BC Juvenile Turf with four victories, but was unplaced with 3-1 favorite Anthony Van Dyck, who finished ninth. O’Brien won last year’s BC Juvenile Turf with Mendelssohn, who was second earlier this year in the Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga and is entered in Saturday’s $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.
His other BC Juvenile Turf winners were Hit It a Bomb in 2015, George Vancouver in 2012 and Wrote in 2011.
In 12 runnings of the BC Juvenile Turf, European-based horses have now been victorious eight times.
The Irish-bred Line of Duty gave trainer Charles Appleby his second BC Juvenile Turf winner and third overall at the World Championships.
BC TITO’S HANDMADE VODKA JUVENILE FILLIES
Jaywalk took a rather straight path to the winner’s circle as she grabbed the lead before the first turn and motored to a decisive 5 1/2-length victory in the BC Juvenile Fillies.
Jaywalk, trained by John Servis, faced a challenge from Restless Rider on the final turn, but when asked by Rosario in the stretch, Jaywalk found a second gear and drew clear.
“I was looking for a big effort from her,” Servis said.
Sent off at 5-1 odds, Jaywalk paid $13 to win.
Final time for the mile-and-a-sixteenth was 1:43.62.
Jaywalk is owned by Cash is King LLC and D J Stable. Cash is King and Servis previously teamed with 2005 Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Afleet Alex.
Servis’ only other Breeders’ Cup starter was Jostle, who was ninth in the 2000 BC Distaff (G1).
The win was the fourth in five career starts for Jaywalk, who took the Frizette Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park – a Breeders’ Cup Challenge series stakes - by 5 ¾ lengths in her previous start.
Judging by past history, Friday’s victory should be a major boost to Jaywalk’s chances of winning the Eclipse Award as the champion 2-year-old filly. Of the last 17 recipients of the award, 16 won the BC Juvenile Fillies.
The lone exception was in 2013 when the Eclipse Award went to She’s a Tiger, who was disqualified in from first in the BC Juvenile Fillies and was placed second behind Ria Antonia.
BC JUVENILE FILLIES TURF
The only filly standing between Jaywalk and an Eclipse Award is Klaravich Stables’ Newspaperofrecord, who is undefeated in three starts, all on turf, and dominated an international field in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf.
A 3-5 favorite, Newspaperofrecord ($3.20) notched a 6 ¾-length victory under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. over European shipper East, who closed fast in the stretch to take second by a neck over 71-1 shot Stellar Agent, who settled for third.
The victory was the third straight in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf for trainer Chad Brown, who recorded his 11th Breeders’ Cup win and is now all alone in fourth on the all-time wins list. Brown has won five of the 11 runnings of the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf.
“She showed her class today,” Brown said. “She’s up there with one of the best. She’s a remarkable talent.”
It was also the first Breeders’ Cup win for owner Seth Klarman of Klaravich Stables.
“It was my first Breeders’ Cup win, so it’s special,” Klarman said. “She’s the most spectacular horse (I’ve ever owned).”
Newspaperofrecord had previously won the Miss Grillo Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park and a maiden race at Saratoga by a combined 13 ¼ lengths.
Europeans came into the race with only two wins in 10 tries at the World Championships. Flotilla was victorious in 2012 and Chriselliam prevailed in 2013.
BC JUVENILE TURF SPRINT
The 35th Breeders’ Cup got off to a fast start – literally.
Bulletin shot out of the gate in the $1 million BC Juvenile Turf Sprint and didn’t stop running until he was in the winner’s circle.
After fending off a challenge by Chelsea Corners on the turn, Bulletin pulled away in the stretch to prevail by 2 ¾ lengths.
So Perfect was third, followed by Queen of Bermuda. The 5-9-10 trifecta paid $2,905.40 for $2 while the 5-9-10-11 superfecta returned $2,548.99 for a 10-cent wager.
Sent off at 4-1 odds, Bulletin paid $10.60 to win. His only other start was a seven-length victory in a Sept. 29 maiden race at Gulfstream Park.
Bulletin is trained by seven-time Eclipse Award winner Todd Pletcher, who won his 10th Breeders’ Cup stakes and is now tied for fifth on the all-time wins list with Bill Mott.
“It’s a fantastic way to start,” Pletcher said.
The victory at Churchill Downs brought back sweet memories for owners WinStar Farm and China Horse Club, which also owned Triple Crown winner Justify. SF Racing, which sold its racing rights to Justify to Starlight Racing, also owns a share of Bulletin.
Final time for the 5 ½ furlongs was 1:05.54.
The 35th edition of the World Championships continues on Saturday with nine more Breeders’ Cup races, capped by the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
The Grade 1 BC Mile, Distaff, Turf and Classic will be aired on NBC beginning at 3:30 p.m.
The rest of the Breeders’ Cup stakes can be seen on NBCSN.
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