The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile was ran on November 6th at Keeneland. It was an 8.5 furlong race on the dirt.
The start was good for just about everyone. The problem with this race, is there were a lot of horses starting the race and not too terribly far until the first turn. So getting a good start so you can get an inside path by the first turn was pretty important. Most of the horses took off quickly to get a good position by the start of the clubhouse turn. Keepmeinmind was off to a slow start in order to get down by the rail. He did that type of start in his MSW debut and it worked out well, so he did it again for this race. Dreamer’s Disease took off quickly to get the early lead at the start of the clubhouse turn. Jackie’s Warrior did the same thing and went from the 7th post position down to inside by the rail at the start of the turn as well. Calibrate went from the 14th post position to about 4 or 5 wide on that first turn. Those far post positions aren’t much fun when there’s a short trip to the first turn.
The Clubhouse Turn
The clubhouse turn still had a lot of horses jockeying for position. A pack of 3 started to battle Dreamer’s Disease and Jackie’s Warrior for the lead. Classier one post over from Jackie’s Warrior was right on his tail from the start and passed him on the turn. Likeable was another one of those horses in the pack of 3 to move up. He went 3 or 4 wide on the first turn and quickly started dueling for the lead. Next was the other in that group. He didn’t challenge anyone, just sat at the back of the lead pack in 5th.
This race was spread out a lot on the back stretch. There was about 15 lengths separating the leader from the trailer at the 1/2 pole. It started to close up a bit when they got to the end of the stretch, but it just showed how their early speed was impacting the pace of the race. A group of 5 took off to have a pretty quick 1/2 mile pace with the leader at :451.
Turn for Home
The turn for home was pretty exciting. Jackie’s Warrior who was in the lead pack stalking the leaders started his kick at the top of the stretch. Hot Rod Charlie had a fabulous kick as well. He went from middle of the pack to the battling for 1st with 1 furlong to go. He was overpowered by Essential Quality who had a similar path going from about mid pack to a strong kick. Keepmeinmind had a fabulous kick going from dead last at the 1/2 and 12th of 14 at the 3/4 pole to finish 3rd. That type of speed was pretty cool to see. I wish he started his kick a little earlier and seen a 3 way battle for 1st. At the peak he was about 3 seconds off the lead.
What stuck out
He horses that stuck out to me were Hot Rod Charlie for starters. I love a good long shot/underdog story. His final odds were 94.4. Coming in 2nd with those types of odds means either the betting public are complete buffoons or there’s something else going on here. It could also be chalked up to a great malarcky of having 14 2-year-olds racing 8.5 furlongs.
Keepmeinmind was also pretty impressive. The jockey should get a gold star for how he handled that quick pace in the race. It would have been so easy to try to keep up with the leaders and getting burned out like most of them did.
Jackie’s Warrior had a great run. He went out fast, stuck with the leaders and had a solid kick. He finished 4th, but considering all the other pace setters dropped far behind, that was a very solid performance. If this race was a mile, he might have won with that pace he was setting. That strong finish even though he finished 4th is worth considering down the road in future Derby prep races.