10/05/2008 11:04PM

A Juvenile-less Juvenile Champ?


Vineyard Haven is the clear leader of the 2-year-old pack on accomplishment: He's the only male two-time Grade 1 winner in the crop, and his winning Beyer of 99 in the Champagne is by far the best at a mile or more by any juvenile in the land. (By comparison, Square Eddie got an 87 winning the G1 Breeders' Futurity and Street Hero got an 86 winning the G1 Norfolk.)

Yet Vineyard Haven's trainer and co-owner, Bobby Frankel, said after the Champagne yesterday that "I don't think I'll run" in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Oct. 25. He said that he might instead point the Lido Palace colt for the Hollywood Futurity Dec. 20.

Vineyard Haven would be trying to become only the fourth 2-year-old champion in the 25-year Breeders' Cup era to have skipped the BC Juvenile, joining Forty Niner in 1987, Maria's Mon in 1995 and Declan's Moon in 2004:

Forty Niner had accomplished enough and some of his connections were cranky about the Breeders' Cup's being held in Southern California for the third time in its first four years; Maria's Mon was injured after winning the Champagne; Declan's Moon upended Juvenile winner Wilko in the Hollywood Futurity.

Download DeclansMoon.pdf

If Vineyard Haven were to win the Hollywood Futurity, he'd end the year as the only 2-year-old male with three Grade 1 victories, since the Juvenile and Futurity are the last of the year's seven G1's for the division:

I'm also pretty sure he'd be the first 2-year-old male since Chief's Crown in 1984 to win three American Grade 1 races as a 2-year-old. This is a somewhat misleading statnugget, because horses such as Forty Niner (Belmont Futurity, Champagne, Breeders' Futurity), Tasso (Del Mar Futurity, Breeders' Futurity, BC Juvenile) and Favorite Trick (Hopeful, Breeders' Futurity, BC Juvenile) each won three races that have been Grade 1's at various times, though not all were G1's in the years they won them. Also, Arazi and Johannesburg each won three European Group 1 races plus the Juvenile during their championship seasons.