October 26, 2018
GAME WINNER ON THE HORIZON
by Jerry Shottenkirk, Xpressbet
ANALYSIS: The Juvenile is usually a great challenge, particularly when you handicap two of the top trainers in the game. And it so happens they have the top contenders. What’s a little different this time is that each is away from home. New York and California meet in Kentucky as Chad Brown and Bob Baffert runners clearly have guns loaded with the top from each coast. To many observers and players, it looks like one or the other – Brown’s COMPLEXITY or Baffert’s GAME WINNER. The mile and one-sixteenth race is around two turns at Churchill Downs, and GAME WINNER has accomplished that layout with his win in the Grade 1 American Pharoah. Brown will go for his second consecutive Juvenile (following Good Magic), while Baffert will go for his fourth (New Year’s Day, Midshipman and Vindication).
MAIN CONTENDERS: COMPLEXITY and GAME WINNER have plenty of upside. Each is unbeaten – COMPLEXITY after two races and GAME WINNER after three. COMPLEXITY ran at Saratoga and Belmont, GAME WINNER at Del Mar and Santa Anita. The feeling here is that GAME WINNER has done more, has been more dominant, has defeated better horses and is better-suited for longer distances. No reason to believe Baffert doesn’t have another stone-cold runner on a huge scale. GUNMETAL GRAY has a chance to get up for second.
VALUE PLAYS: GUNMETAL GRAY will probably be overlooked in the win pool. CODE OF HONOR’S closing second vs. COMPLEXITY in the Grade 1 Champagne did more for him than his gate-to-wire run in his debut. KNICKS GO was impressive going two turns in the Breeders’ Futurity.
WAGERING STRATEGY ($100):