A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Future Stars Friday at the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs delivers

By Mark Hansel
NKyTribune managing editor

The first day of the Breeders’ Cup 2018 World Championships at Churchill Downs was touted as Future Stars Friday and at least a few two-year olds staked a claim to that title.

Game Winner (No. 9) streaks past 40-1 longshot Knicks Go to take the Sentient Jet Juvenile and stamp himself as an early favorite for the 2019 Kentucky Derby (photos by Mark Hansel).

Newspaperofrecord delivered a scintillating 6 3/4 length thrashing in the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf, the second of five Breeders’ Cup races on the Friday card.

In the $2 million G1 Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Game Winner turned in a performance that was equally as impressive, despite an eventful trip under jockey Joel Rosario.

The win stamped Game Winner, owned by Gary and Mary West and trained by Bob Baffert as the early 2019 Kentucky Derby favorite.

Mary West admitted to having some concerns early on because Game Winner did not break alertly and raced wide on a track that seemed to be favoring early speed.

“I was very nervous at first, I didn’t think he broke quite sharp and then he went wide,” she said. “That far back, I just didn’t think he could catch up with the first horse (Knicks Go), but he did and he passed him and I think he won by about maybe three lengths.”

Baffert said his only real concern was the number nine post position.

“I would have liked to have been around (post) six because you have the short run to the first turn,” Baffert said. “He was pretty wide and I was a little worried at about the half-mile pole because it look like Complexity was running on a really easy lead…and you don’t know how far these horses want to go.”

Trainers are often cautious about predicting how colts might progress into their three-year-old season, because as Baffert said, horses can break your heart. He admitted, however, that the performance Game Winner delivered has him “thinking of some roses.”

The win all but assures Game Winner of the Eclipse award as champion two-year-old male horse.

“That will be determined by the voters, but it would be pretty hard to deny a horse who’s won three Grade 1s and the Breeders’ Cup,” Gary West said. “It’s a pretty special experience to be involved in this sort of thing.”

Recap of all of Friday’s Breeders’ Cup World Championship races, courtesy of BC’s Bob Ehalt:

Overcast skies provided a backdrop for the historic Twin Spires at Churchill Downs for Future Stars Friday.

SENTIENT JET JUVENILE

In mid-stretch, 40-1 longshot Knicks Go was tenaciously battling to hang on to the lead in the stretch of the $2 million Sentient Jet Juvenile at Churchill Downs.

Then it was game over.

Game Winner put the finishing touches on an undefeated 2-year-old campaign by catching Knicks Go approaching the sixteenth pole and then registering a 2 1/4 lengths victory in the BC Juvenile, the fifth and final Breeders’ Cup race of the opening day.

Game Winner gave Baffert his fourth win in the BC Juvenile and his 15th victory at the World Championships.
Only D. Wayne Lukas, with 20, has more Breeders’ Cup wins among trainers.

“He’s special,” Baffert said about Game Winner. “The way he won and the way he did it was impressive. I was worried at the half-mile pole, but (jockey Joel Rosario) wasn’t. He knew he had a lot of horse. This is a huge win for me.”

The Wests won the 2013 BC Juvenile with New Year’s Day, who was also trained by Baffert.
For Game Winner ($4), the even money favorite, the BC Juvenile win came on the heels of Grade 1 wins in the American Pharoah Stakes and Del Mar Futurity.

He figures to be the fourth straight BC Juvenile to be named the champion 2-year-old male of 2018. Of the last eight recipients of that Eclipse Award, the prize has gone to the BC Juvenile winner in six of the last eight years.

The final time for the mile-and-a-sixteenth was 1:43.67, a shade slower than the 1:43.62 Jaywalk needed to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at the same distance.
Knicks Go, a 5 ½-length winner of the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at 70-1 odds, held on for second by a length over Signalman. Mr. Money took fourth.

JUVENILE TURF

Godolphin’s Line of Duty rallied strongly in the final yards to triumph in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs on the “Friday Future Stars” card.
Sent off at 7-2 odds, Line of Duty provided Godolphin with its eighth victory at the World Championships.

There was an inquiry before the race was declared official, but no change in the order of finish.
Line of Duty prevailed in a tight three-horse photo finish over Uncle Benny and the pace-setting Somelikeithotbrown.

Line of Duty, ridden by William Buick and trained by Charles Appleby, has won three of five starts with two seconds.

Final time for the one mile on “good” turf was 1:40.06

Europe’s premier trainer, Aidan O’Brien, had dominated the previous 11 runnings of the BC Juvenile Turf with four victories, but was unplaced with 3-1 favorite Anthony Van Dyck.

O’Brien won last year’s BC Juvenile Turf with Mendelssohn, who was second earlier this year in the Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga and is entered in Saturday’s $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

His other BC Juvenile Turf winners were Hit It a Bomb in 2015, George Vancouver in 2012 and Wrote in 2011.

In 12 runnings of the BC Juvenile Turf, European-based horses have been victorious eight times.
The Irish-bred Line of Duty gave Appleby his second BC Juvenile Turf winner.All-sources handle for the 10-race program of the first day of the 35th Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs was $52,216,685, the fourth highest total for a Friday Breeders’ Cup and the sixth time the total has exceeded $50 million.

Jaywalk (No. 7) led every step of the way in capturing the Tito’s Handmade Vodka Juvenile Filles on Future Stars Friday at the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

TITO’S HANDMADE VODKA JUVENILE FILLIES

Early speed continued to dominate at the 35th edition of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships as Jaywalk grabbed the lead at the break and then drew clear in the stretch to capture the $2 million Tito’s Handmade Vodka Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) on “Future Stars Friday” at Churchill Downs.

The victory marked the third straight Breeders’ Cup win by a horse who led in the opening stages of the race.

Jaywalk, trained by John Servis, led heading into the first turn and cruised along the backstretch with a clear lead before Restless Rider moved up to challenge her on the final turn. But when asked by jockey Joel Rosario in the stretch, Jaywalk found a second gear and drew clear to win by a convincing 5 ½ lengths.

“She wanted to go and did it so easily,” Rosario said.

Sent off at 5-1 odds, Jaywalk paid $13 to win. Final time for the mile-and-a-sixteenth was 1:43.62.

Jaywalk is owned by Cash is King LLC and D J Stable. Cash is King and Servis previously teamed with 2005 Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Afleet Alex.

Servis’ only other Breeders’ Cup starter was Jostle, who was ninth in the 2000 BC Distaff.
The win was the fourth in five career starts for Jaywalk, who took the Frizette Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park – a Breeders’ Cup Challenge series stakes – by 5 ¾ lengths in her previous start.
Judging by past history, Friday’s victory should be a major boost to Jaywalk’s chances of winning the Eclipse Award as the champion 2-year-old filly. Of the last 17 recipients of the award, 16 won the BC Juvenile Fillies.

The lone exception was in 2013 when the Eclipse Award went to She’s a Tiger, who was disqualified in from first in the BC Juvenile Fillies and was placed second behind Ria Antonia.
Her main rival for the division championship figures to be BC Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Newspaperofrecord, who is undefeated in three starts, all on turf.

Newspaperofrecord scored an impressive 6 3/4 length win in the Juvenile Fillies Turf at the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs Friday.

JUVENILE FILLIES TURF

Klaravich Stables’ undefeated Newspaperofrecord took the lead at the start and was never threatened in registering a decisive victory in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs on the “Future Stars Friday” program.
A 3-5 favorite, Newspaperofrecord ($3.20) notched a 6 ¾-length victory under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. over European shipper East, who closed fast in the stretch to take second by a neck over 71-1 shot Stellar Agent, who settled for third.
The victory was the third straight in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf for trainer Chad Brown, who recorded his 11th Breeders’ Cup win and is now all alone in fourth on the all-time wins list. Brown has won five of the 11 runnings of the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf.
“She showed her class today,” Brown said. “She’s up there with one of the best. She’s a remarkable talent.”
It was also the first Breeders’ Cup win for owner Seth Klarman of Klaravich Stables.
“It was my first Breeders’ Cup win, so it’s special,” Klarman said. “She’s the most spectacular horse (I’ve ever owned).”
Newspaperofrecord had previously won the Miss Grillo Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park and a maiden race at Saratoga by a combined 13 ¼ lengths.
Europeans came into the race with only two wins in 10 tries at the World Championships. Flotilla was victorious in 2012 and Chriselliam prevailed in 2013.

JUVENILE TURF SPRINT

Bulletin kicked off the 35th edition of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships by popping out of the gate quickly and immediately grabbing a clear a lead then never looked back in winning the first running of the $1 million BC Juvenile Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs on Friday.

Under grey but dry skies, Bulletin fended off a challenge by Chelsea Corners on the turn and pulled away in the stretch to prevail by 2 ¾ lengths.

So Perfect was third, followed by Queen of Bermuda. The 5-9-10 trifecta paid $2,905.40 for $2 while the 5-9-10-11 superfecta returned $2,548.99 for a 10-cent wager.
Sent off at 4-1 odds, Bulletin paid $10.60 to win. His only other start was a seven-length victory in a Sept. 29 maiden race at Gulfstream Park.
Bulletin is trained by seven-time Eclipse Award winner Todd Pletcher, who won his 10th Breeders’ Cup stakes and is now tied for fourth on the all-time wins list with Chad Brown and Bill Mott.

The victory at Churchill Downs brought back sweet memories for owners WinStar Farm and China Horse Club, which also owned Triple Crown winner Justify. SF Racing, which sold its racing rights to Justify to Starlight Racing, also owns a share of Bulletin.
Final time for the 5 ½ furlongs was 1:05.54

The BC Juvenile Turf Sprint was the first of five Breeders’ Cup stakes for 2-year-olds under the series’ new “Future Stars Friday” format.

The initial running of the ungraded stakes originally featured two horses who earned free spots in the field through winning Breeders’ Cup Challenge series “Win and You’re In” stakes. Strike Silver captured the Indian Summer at Keeneland and Shang Shang Shang prevailed in the Norfolk Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot in June.

However, Shang Shag Shang, trained by American Wesley Ward who sent out Chelsea Cloisters and the unplaced Stillwater Cove and Moonlight Romance, was scratched from the BC Juvenile Turf Sprint along with Comedy, Van Beethoven and Legends of War.

By the numbers

The Future Stars Friday card featured five Breeders’ Cup races for 2-year-old horses for the first time since the event expanded to its current two-day format in 2007 and Breeders’ Cup officials were encouraged by racing fans’ reaction the new format.

It’s always exciting when the Breeders’ Cup returns to Churchill Downs and especially today as we focus on our sport’s future stars and highlight the connection between our championship races for juveniles and the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks,” said Craig Fravel, Breeders’ Cup President and CEO. “We want to thank all of today’s participants and congratulate all of today’s winners as we look forward to tomorrow’s outstanding showcase of the best in international racing.”

Friday’s attendance was 42,249, a 29 percent increase over last year’s event at Del Mar, where attendance was capped because of the size of the venue, and a 4 percent increase over 2011, the last time the event was held at Churchill Downs.

Friday’s on-track handle for the 10-race card was $7,251,466 and the total handle was $52,216,685.

The 35th edition of the World Championships continues today with nine more Breeders’ Cup races, capped by the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Contact Mark Hansel at mark.hansel@nkytrib.com

Related Posts

Leave a Comment