Kentucky Derby 2016 Contenders: Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Recap (VIDEO)

Early Kentucky Derby 2016 favorite Nyquist kept his perfect record intact with a 1/2 length score over Swipe in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland.

Kentucky Detby 2016 favorite Nyquist

Nyquist photo by Eclipse Sportswire

In a replay of the FrontRunner Stakes, Nyquist held off rival Swipe. The latter has now finished 2nd to his nemesis in four consecutive stakes races.

BC Juvenile Fillies winner Songbird ran more than one second faster. For comparison purposes, she received a 99 BSF and Nyquist got an 89. It was the same speed figure gap at Santa Anita when she won the Chandelier and Nyquist took the FrontRunner.

What does all of this mean in regards to Kentucky Derby 2016? The early evidence clearly suggests that the BC Juvenile horses are not on the same level as likely 2-year-old filly champ Songbird. Nyquist owns a win early pedigree tilted toward speed and there is a good chance that he will not improve as distances increase next year.

Take nothing away from Nyquist. He is 5-for-5 and the deserving 2-year-old champ, but he does not look like a mile and a quarter horse on the track or pedigree-wise. It is important to keep an open mind, especially at this early stage, and he will have ample opportunities to prove he can go nine furlongs and beyond in 2016.

Brody’s Cause was up for the show in the Juvenile and has always looked like a long winded type. Swipe’s stablemate Exaggerator ended up an even 4th and might have distance limitations.

Ralis chased early and faded to 14th and last. The G1 Hopeful winner needs a rest after a busy campaign and should probably turn back in distance. He drops off the list.

Due to workout inactivity, Justin Squared and I Will Score drop off the list as well.

Graded Recaps (Derby Points Races)

G1 BC Juvenile (10-31-15, 89 BSF): Southern California-based colts Nyquist and Swipe took their exacta show on the road and did their thing at Keeneland. Breaking from post 13, Nyquist was wide and further back than normal, but none of that mattered. He seized the lead in the lane and held off Swipe by a 1/2 length. The latter has better stamina breeding and might be able to turn the tables on his nemesis next year. Nyquist deserves the 2-year-old title but he is not dominating around two turns like he did in sprints. Brody’s Cause rallied through traffic to garner the show in a solid performance.

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

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

Trainer (Kiaran Mclaughlin) – Owner (Shadwell Stable)

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. In the G2 Nashua on Nov 4 at Aqueduct, he stalked wide, took a clear lead in the stretch, and won nicely by 1.75 lengths (89 BSF) under a hand drive. McLaughlin is looking at the G2 Remsen or G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes for his next start. He retains the top spot.

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

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

Latest Workout: 4f in :48 (9/35) at Santa Anita Park on Nov 3.

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 (92 BSF) as the 1-2 favorite (geared down under Gary Stevens). He stays put at #2.

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

Trainer (Dale Romans) – Owner (Albaugh Family Stable)

Comments: Looked great from off the pace in back-to-back wins at Churchill (one mile maiden win) and Keeneland (G1 Breeders’ Futurity). He worked his way through traffic to finish a decent 3rd in the BC Juvenile and continues to look like a solid stretch factor on the Derby trail. He moves up one notch to #3.

Derby Points (14)

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

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

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. The BC Juvenile favorite was too far back early and ended up a better than appears 7th after getting fanned very wide in the lane at Keeneland Oct 31. He exited the BC Juvenile with an eye ulcer, probably caused by flying dirt during the running of the race. His connections are deciding whether to winter in New York or Florida and he will not run again this year.  He swaps positions with Brody’s Cause and I still like him as a long term prospect.

Derby Points (10)

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

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

Comments: Visually impressive maiden win at Keeneland Oct 2. In the BC Juvenile, he chased the pace from the inside pace and faded to finish 8th. I thought the Juvenile might be a bit too much too soon, but he is still learning and remains a promising sort. The Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs on Nov 28 might be next, and he could meet up with his stablemate, BC Juvenile Turf runner-up Airoforce. I will keep him at #5 and am expecting him to run better next time.

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

Trainer (Shug McGaughey) – Owner (Phipps Stable)

Comments: He did not run a complete race from start to finish and ended up an even 4th in the Champagne. He was last for much of the race and rallied for the show (missed 2nd by a neck) in the G2 Nashua. As stated before, 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 2013. He holds his #6 position.

Derby Points (1)

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

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

Latest Workout: 5f in 1:00.60 (11/46) at Santa Anita Park on Nov 2.

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 was #7 last time and stays right there.

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

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

Comments: $900k purchase battled with Mohaymen throughout and ended up 2nd in his debut.He was clearly second best as the favorite (beaten 1/2 length) in a 6f special weight sprint at Belmont Park Oct 28 on a muddy (sealed) racetrack. With Ralis dropping off the list, he moves up one spot.

(9) MATT KING COAL (Cool Coal Man – Donna Marie, by Came Home) matt king coal silks

Trainer (Linda Rice) – Owner (Lady Sheila Stable)

Comments: Owns two of the better juvenile speed figures this year in a clear place finish at 8.5 furlongs at Belmont Oct 3 (93 BSF) and a 96 BSF for his easy flat mile wire job maiden win at that same venue Oct 29. He makes his debut on the list.

(10) GIFT BOX (Twirling Candy – Special Me, by Unbridled’s Song) gift box silks

Trainer (Chad Brown) – Owner (W. S. Farish)

Latest Workout: 5f breeze in 1:00.45 (2/13) at Belmont Park on Oct 31.

Comments: Beat Matt King Coal by a nose at 8.5f (Belmont Park, Oct 3) and was flattered when that one returned to win impressively four weeks later. Also, the show finisher was another 18 lengths back Oct 3 so the top two were much the best. He’s new to the list.

(11) NYQUIST (Uncle Mo – Seeking Gabrielle, by Forestry) nyquist silks

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

Comments: Ran his record to 5-for-5 and wrapped up the 2-year-old title in the BC Juvenile. To his credit, he was farther back than usual and raced wide from post 13. He gamely held off Swipe for the fourth consecutive race but the final clocking was more than a second slower than filly counterpart Songbird once again. He still seems like a miler type but keeps on winning. At this stage he is in great shape in regards to Derby points and is expected to have two 2016 preps prior to the first Saturday in May. The likely juvenile champ is new to the list and grabs the final spot in a very tight call over Swipe.

Derby Points (30)

Honorable Mention: (12) Swipe, (13) Exaggerator, (14) Justin Squared, (15) I Will Score, (16) King Kranz, (17) Riker, (18) Rafting, (19) Annual Report, (20) Flexibility

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