by Jeremy Plonk
October 25, 2018
Just where will some of the key horses cross-entered in multiple divisions pivot?
SO PERFECT made the cut in both the Juvenile Fillies Turf and the Juvenile Turf Sprint. Trainer Aidan O’Brien & company put her first preference in the Juvenile Turf Sprint. They appear to have multiple options in both races, so it’s not a matter of spreading the charges. O’Brien has struggled in the Juvenile Fillies Turf (11: 0-2-1), so don’t be surprised if he keeps SO PERFECT there and keeps the 3-pronged attack in trying to conquer a thorn in his side division. By Scat Daddy, I like SO PERFECT better in the mile than the sprint anyway.
UNCLE BENNY drew into both the Juvenile Turf (first preference) and Juvenile Turf Sprint. I think he’ll be best-suited going the mile. He’s from the female family of Starrer and Stellar Jayne, so he’s probably outrun his pedigree to go 2-for-2 at 5F and 6F so far. And his daddy Declaration of War broke his maiden at first asking as a juvenile going a mile. BULLETIN has first preference in the Juvenile Turf Sprint, and would need some real help to get into the Juvenile Turf. We know he’s fast off that debut, but the pedigree says long on the bottom as half-brother to millionaire G1 Phipps winner Tiz Miss Sue. He’s playable in either spot, though the dash appears most likely.
MIND YOUR BISCUITS has been pre-entered in the Sprint and Classic with first preference in the latter. He’s done enough in my estimation to take a big shot at the Classic money – $6 million vs. $2 million – and consider he’d be likely second choice in the Sprint, while fourth or fifth choice in the Classic. That’s not too big of a discrepancy to take your swing.
ROARING LION is cross-entered in the Classic and Turf, and given the respect the Europeans will have for ENABLED in the Turf, you can see why John Gosden’s team opted first preference in the Classic. ROARING LION’s damsire is none other than Street Sense, perhaps the most-Churchill loving horse we’ve seen in decades, freakish winner of the BC Juvenile and Kentucky Derby over this dirt.
MAGICAL is first preference in the Turf for Coolmore vs. the Filly & Mare Turf. Part of the remarkable reason why Aidan O’Brien has yet to win the F&M Turf is because horses like Found were sent to the Turf instead, and successfully at that. MAGICAL would merit serious respect in either, so it makes sense to run for $4 million vs. $2 million…especially if ROARING LION will peel off to the Classic. You’ve got ENABLED to tackle and could second or third wagering choice in the Turf. The F&M Turf also could lose A RAVING BEAUTY (first preference) to the Mile, where she’s also accepted. But it looks like Chad Brown is leaning toward staying in the F&M Turf even if a quarter-mile farther than she’s run in the US. She’s a true “tweener” looking for the right spot, and it may not exist.
The Dirt Mile is a crossroads kind of race between the Classic and Sprint, and it shows. There are 16 pre-entrants, but 6 of them have first preferences in other divisions, and 10 of the 16 have dual-citizenship at this stage, if you will. Dirt Mile fence-riders that I’d prefer to stay here include CITY OF LIGHT, FIRENZE FIRE, LIMOUSINE LIBERAL, LONE SAILOR, PROMISES FULFILLED and WHITMORE – all of which could do their best work in this one-turn affair that taps their abilities best. But the presence of CATALINA CRUISER may send some of these packing for the more lucrative Sprint, though with its tough challenges in its own right. I’m hoping BRAVAZO makes his way into the second-preference Classic from the first spot on the on-deck circle. He seems a more one-geared router than brilliant enough for these Dirt Mile dudes.