Kentucky Derby 2016 Contenders: Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Preview

The next and biggest Kentucky Derby 2016 points race for freshmen is the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Saturday, October 31.

There were nineteen horses pre-entered earlier this week including G1 Frontrunner winner and possible favorite Nyquist,  G1 Champagne hero Greenpointcrusader, and G1 Breeders’ Futurity winner Brody’s Cause.

Nyquist

Photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Nyquist is a perfect 4-for-4 but his margin of victory and speed figure dropped over a route of ground in the FrontRunner. The early/pressing type obviously has talent but could be vulnerable shipping across country and facing better competition.

Greenpointcrusader looked great in the Champagne (one turn mile) on wet ground. He still must prove himself around two turns but he is bred to adore the added real estate.

Since the Breeders’ Cup is at Keeneland this year, Brody’s Cause might have the edge with a good looking stakes win over the track. He needs pace help.

Breeders’ Futurity runner up Exaggerator should be in a nice position stalking the pace and will get a jump on the late runners. He can move up in his second start off a layoff for Keith Desormeaux, who saddled last year’s BC Juvenile winner Texas Red.

Conquest Big E is an interesting contender at a price for Mark Casse. He was beaten a length by Brody’s Cause in his bow and returned to break his maiden in visually impressive fashion at Keeneland. He might lack the experience to win a race like the BC Juvenile but clearly has a ton of raw ability and is an excellent long-range Derby prospect.

The Juvenile field also includes G3 Iroquois winner Cocked and Loaded and G3 Grey wire-to-wire winner Riker. Both have to step up to compete here and the latter tries conventional dirt for the first time. BC JUVENILE PRE-ENTRIES:

bc juvenile entries 1bc juvenile entries 2

Graded Recaps (Derby Points Races)

G3 Iroquois (10-12-15, 81 BSF): Cocked and Loaded stalked, pounced, and kicked clear to win by 2-lengths over Rated R Superstar, Unbridled Outlaw, and Conquest Windycity. The Iroquois has not been a productive race in regards to Derby contenders in recent years.

G1 FrontRunner (10-26-15, 79 BSF): American Pharoah won the FrontRunner last year. This time around, Nyquist was the overwhelming favorite and he remained undefeated with yet another win over Swipe. His margin of victory dipped and talented juvenile filly Songbird ran much faster in the G1 Chandelier. Nyquist looks like a miler and did not make my initial Derby list on 9-30-15.

G1 Champagne (10-3-15, 94 BSF): The track was sloppy (sealed). Greenpointcrusader, #10 on my first Derby rankings list, rallied from 6th to post an easy 4.5 length win under Joe Bravo. Longshot Sunny Ridge stalked, pounced, took the lead, and finished a couple lengths clear of Portfolio Manager. Two other Champagne runners were on the Derby list, Sail Ahoy and Ralis. The former ended up an even 4th and should improve around two turns next year for patient trainer Shug McGaughey. The latter pressed and faded as the beaten favorite in a puzzling performance.

G1 Breeders’ Futurity (10-3-15, 88 BSF): This important local prep for the BC Juvenile might have a major impact on the big race Oct 31. Brody’s Cause went 10th to first in a visually impressive one-length win over post time favorite Exaggerator. Rated R Superstar was 3rd and Sicksstatelydude rounded out the top four.

G3 Grey (10-4-15, 84 BSF): Riker entered the race undefeated and kept his perfect record intact with a comfortable wire job win over four rivals. He is a proven all-weather performer at Woodbine and will try to take his show on the road in the BC Juvenile.

Jarrod Horak’s “Exceptional Eleven” Kentucky Derby 2016 Contenders

(1) MOHAYMEN (Tapit – Justwhistledixie, by Dixie Union)mohaymen silks

Trainer (Kiaran Mclaughlin) – Owner (Shadwell Stable)

Latest Workouts: 5f bullet in :59.81 (1/12) at Belmont Park on Oct 14. A 4f breeze in :49.98 (15/22) at Belmont Park on Oct 21.

Comments: The $2.2 million yearling purchase was a determined 1/2 length winner (87 BSF) at six furlongs in his Belmont Park debut on 9-19-15. Dam Justwhistledixie won the G2 Davona Dale and G2 Bonnie Miss at GP in 2009. The G2 Nashua on Nov 4 at Aqueduct is next. He retains the top spot on my list.

(2) MOR SPIRIT (Eskendereya – Im a Dixie Girl, by Dixie Union) mor spirit silks

Trainer (Bob Baffert) – Owner (Michael Lund Petersen)

Comments: $650k purchase had a slow start, made a nice inside middle move, took the lead, and ended up a clear 2nd (83 BSF) in his 6f Santa Anita debut Sept 27. He returned at a flat mile Oct 23 and cantered to an easy win as the 1-2 favorite (geared down under Gary Stevens). He moves up one spot.

(3) GREENPOINTCRUSADER (Bernardini – Ava Knowsthecode, by Cryptoclearance) greenpointcrusader silks

Trainer (Dominick Schettino) – Owner (St. Elias Stable)

Latest Workout: 5f in 1:01.80 (9/17) at Keeneland on Oct 19.

Comments: Put it all together from off the pace in a strong 4-1/2 length victory in the Champagne. I really like his pedigree and he figures to get better with age. He’s pre-entered in the BC Juvenile. He was #10 on my first list.

Derby Points (10)

(4) BRODY’S CAUSE (Giant’s Causeway – Sweet Breanna, by Sahm) brody's cause silks

Trainer (Dale Romans) – Owner (Albaugh Family Stable)
Latest Workout: 5f breeze in 1:01.80 (18/59) at Churchill Downs Oct 17.

Comments: Looked great from off the pace in back-to-back wins at Churchill (one mile maiden win) and Keeneland (G1 Breeders’ Futurity). He’s pre-entered in the BC Juvenile and looks like a solid contender from the back of the pack.  He was #11 on my first list at the end of September.

Derby Points (10)

(5) CONQUEST BIG E (Tapit – Seeinsbelieven, by Carson City) conquest big e silks

Trainer (Mark Casse) – Owner (Conquest Stables, LLC.)

Latest Workouts: 5f in 1:00 (2/40) at Churchill Downs Oct 16. Breezed 4f in :48.40 (9/49) at Churchill Downs Oct 23 (geared down).

Comments: Visually impressive maiden win at Keeneland Oct 2. He is still learning and appears to have a bright future. He’s pre-entered in the BC Juvenile. He moves up from #7.

(6) SAIL AHOY (Bernardini – Matlacha Pass, by Seeking the Gold) sail ahoy silks

Trainer (Shug McGaughey) – Owner (Phipps Stable)

Latest Workout: 4f breeze in :49.32 (12/36) at Belmont Park on Oct 19.

Comments: He did not run a complete race from start to finish and ended up an even 4th in the Champagne. He figures to improve around two turns and should get better next year for patient trainer Shug McGaughey, who saddled Kentucky Derby winner Orb in 2012. He stays put at #6.

Derby Points (1)

(7) STREET VISION (Street Sense – Emmy’s Storm, by Stormy Atlantic) street vision silks

Trainer (Mark Glatt) – Owner (Norman Stables, LLC.)

Comments: Could not match strides with Toews On Ice in the Speakeasy (six furlongs) at Santa Anita Oct 18 but was clearly second best. He seems to want more ground and remains a promising sort. He drops two spots.

(8) RALIS (Square Eddie – Silar Rules, by Ten Most Wanted) ralis silks

Trainer (Doug O’Neill) – Owner (Reddam Racing LLC.)

Latest Workouts: 5f bullet in :59.16 (1/14) at Keeneland on Oct 16. Breezed 5f in 1:00.80 (5/17) at Keeneland on Oct 23.

Comments: G1 Hopeful winner stalked and weakened in a disappointing effort in the Champagne (wet track). He might prefer fast ground and is almost certainly better than his last. He’s pre-entered in the BC Juvenile. He drops four spots to #8.

(9) SEYMOURDINI (Bernardini – Graeme Six, by Graeme Hall) seymourdini silks

Trainer (Linda Rice) – Owner (Iris Smith Stable)

Latest Workout: 5f bullet in 1:00.80 (1/8) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on Oct 9.

Comments: $900k purchase battled with Mohaymen throughout and ended up 2nd in his debut. No published works since Oct 9 (it is Oct 23 now). He drops seven spots.

(10) JUSTIN SQUARED (Zensational – Graciously Soft, by Vindication) justin squared silks

Trainer (Bob Baffert) – Owner (Zayat Stables LLC.)

Latest Workout: 5f in 1:02.20 (24/28) at Santa Anita Park Oct 13.

Comments: Went all the way in an easy wire job debut at Del Mar Sept 5 (86 BSF). He is fast and has a sprint-oriented pedigree. No published works since Oct 13 (it is Oct 23 now). He’s down one spot.

(11) I WILL SCORE (Roman Ruler – Grassy Nellie, by Belong to Me) i will score silks

Trainer (Jerry Hollendorfer) – Owner (Hans Poetsch)

Latest Workout: 5f in :59.40 (2/42) at Santa Anita Oct 8.

Comments: Romped in his Los Alamitos debut Sept 11. No published works since Oct 8 (it is Oct 23 now). He drops three spots.

Honorable Mention: (12) Nyquist, (13) Exaggerator, (14) Swipe, (15) Who’s Out, (16) Gametown, (17) Wild Man, (18) King Kranz, (19) Arabian Leopard, (20) Rafting

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