Between the time the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner crosses the finish line and enters the winner’s circle on Saturday at Santa Anita Park, the conversation will have shifted from having won the race to whether he can win THE race — the Kentucky Derby.
In addition to fueling dreams of roses and the First Saturday in May, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile also offers as its prize nearly $1.2-million to the winner and a likely Eclipse Award as champion two-year-old male.
The top two contenders for that honor are Champagne Stakes winner Shanghai Bobby and FrontRunner Stakes winner Power Broker, and in what is becoming a familiar storyline in Thoroughbred racing, the former is from the East Coast while the latter is on the West Coast.
“It’s [Shanghai Bobby’s] first time going two turns,” said Pletcher’s Santa Anita-based assistant, Mike McCarthy. “It’s going to be very exciting. Obviously, there’s a championship on the line. His [undefeated] record speaks for itself.”
If racing fans follow conventional sports wagering conventions and give extra credit for “home-field advantage” (worth a couple-few points in football) then Power Broker will certainly be favored, and why not? West Coast horses won in 2003 (Action This Day) and 2008 (Midshipman), and Baffert trained that 2008 winner as well as 2009 runner-up Lookin At Lucky.
“Power Broker is doing good,” Baffert said. “A lot of what happens with him and all these horses is how the track is playing. So far at this meet it has been fair. It has some bounce to it. I’ve had horses win in front and win coming from far back.”
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
Other contenders include Fortify, who has attracted his share of interest because he does not race on Lasix, the medication that helps prevent bleeding that is legal on race day in North America but not in most other places throughout the world. The Breeders’ Cup has banned its use in two-year-old races at this year’s event with a look to a complete ban planned for the 2013 event.
“We’ve go to come up with a way to beat Shanghai Bobby,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said of Fortify, who finished second behind that one in the Hopeful and third in the Champagne.
For free past performances of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies—official scoring races on the roads to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks, respectively, click here .
An aging trainer, an unretired jockey and a 15-1 underdog teamed Saturday to shatter Orb's bid for the first Triple Crown since Affirmed won it in 1978.