02/21/2012 1:15PM

Looking Back at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile

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One way to look at Creative Cause’s third place finish as the 1-2 favorite in Sunday’s San Vicente at Santa Anita is that it was the perfect prep, just enough to knock the rust off while setting him up for a successful stretch back out to two turns, around which he won the Grade 1 Norfolk and was a close third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last fall.

The other way to look at Creative Cause’s San Vicente effort is with concern. He couldn’t catch a colt in Drill who has been a repeated disappointment, and a gelding in American Act who was coming off only a maiden win (even if it was over the promising Bodemeister), all while earning a Beyer Figure of 92, which is somewhat uninspiring.

What I thought about after Creative Cause fell short in the San Vicente was, here was another horse to come out of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile with a losing performance. I have had a feeling that last fall’s Juvenile might not have been that strong a race, and with Union Rags being the next prominent Kentucky Derby aspirant to make his first start since the Juvenile when he goes in Sunday’s Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream, I thought I should check to see if there is cause to feel the way I do.

Nine horses who started in the BC Juvenile have since raced, making a total of 18 starts between them. Four of these horses have since won a total of five races, which seems low, especially when you consider that by definition, the starters in the Juvenile should be amongst the best of their generation.

So that you can draw your own conclusions, here’s the complete rundown of horses who have started since last fall’s Juvenile, where they finished in the Juvenile in parentheses, and their subsequent performance, or performances:

Hansen (1st) – Second, beaten five lengths, in the Holy Bull.

Creative Cause (3rd) – Third, beaten a length, in the San Vicente.

Take Charge Indy (5th) – Second, beaten two lengths, in a Gulfstream allowance race.

Fort Loudon (7th) – Fourth, beaten 6 ½ lengths, in the Holy Bull.

Optimizer (8th) – Fourth, beaten 2 ½ lengths, in the Kentucky Jockey Club; sixth, beaten 6 ¾ lengths, in the Smarty Jones.

Speightscity (9th) – Eighth, beaten 10 ¼ lengths, in the Remsen; first, by 1 ¾ lengths in an Aqueduct allowance; fifth, beaten 10 lengths, in the Count Fleet; second, beaten 3 ¼ lengths, in the Withers.

Drill (10th) – Yes, he won the San Vicente by a nose. But in his three starts between the Breeders' Cup and San Vicente he finished seventh, beaten 17 ½ lengths, in the Delta Downs Jackpot; ninth, beaten 9 ¼ lengths, in the CashCall Futurity; fifth, beaten 3 ¼ lengths, in the San Pedro.

Alpha (11th) – First, by 2 ½ lengths, in the Count Fleet; first, by 3 ¼ lengths, in the Withers.

Prospective (13th) – First, by a half length, in the Pasco; second, beaten 1 ¼ lengths, in the Sam Davis.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Always a pleasure Mike : I enjoy your wisdom in horse racing , enjoy listening to your opinion reguarding a race that I truly like . . . It is scary knowing how much our opinion cross paths going in the same direction . Even though I could not see anyone contending with HANSEN in the Gothan , I Truly liked RON the GREEK in the SANTA ANITA HANDICAP , but I see many people thought the same because his odds drop to 7.2 at post time ! This next week-end at SANTA ANITA in the SAN FLIPE , Do you think OUT OF BOUNDS will lay it all on the track and run the race of his life , a knock-out punch ! TAMPA BAY DERBY , and the same goes for TAKE CHARGE INDY
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
It all means nothing. There is no CERTAIN way to handicap the Kentucky Derby. Every living creature in the building; humans and equine are on edge. It is the horses' first time running this long of a distance and the horses have never run with this many opponents. The prep races are structured to clearly catapult who the winner SHOULD be and once they hit the gate at the Derby, they meet the horses their connections have kept them away from in fear of defeat all winter. The crowding forces mostly all of the horses to run a race they may not be familiar with and/or like. My only angle for such a hand grenade of a race: the horse with the toughest path to the derby who was involved in every race, barring any mishaps ie: slow break, clipping heals, etc. He has to come at a price. Im not betting the Derby, Preakness or Belmont to cash an 8-5 winning ticket. Id rather lose $100 on an 11-1 bet than on a 6-5 bet in this race. Now for my personal opinion and you can feel free to criticize me all you like. Should Hansen win the Gotham at Aqueduct on MArch 3rd (which I will attend), I dont care what kind of race he may run in the Wood, he will have my bet on Derby Day 2012. He is sure to come with at least a 5,6,7-1 price. If he breaks well, I at least know that I will be in the race until the end. (especially with Dominguez up). He is a Tapit folks. Tapit can run all the day long. I had $100 to win on him in the Juvenile and I will not miss a second go around because people think a pace horse cant go the distance.
John Doe More than 1 year ago
Hansen lost to the second favorite in pool 1 futures who posted top Beyer of the year Creative Cause got beat at a distance that is obviously too short Take Charge Indy lost to the fourth favorite in pool 1 who at the time had the second highest Beyer of the year (and crushed the rest of the field in the process). Optimizer should be on the turf. Drill is a one turn horse period who should have had a break after the Juvy. Alpha has won the races he has been entered in, but hasn't beat anyone yet. The reality is, this is no different than most years. It is only February with a lot of races still to come. The contenders will distance themselves from everyone else in the next two months.
James Mcrae More than 1 year ago
hi mike ,union was the best horse om bc day just didnt get the trip hes a good one and cant wait for him to show his stuff as a bigger stronger 3yr old he sure looks alot like his great grand daddy northern dancer,watch out
Greg Scherr More than 1 year ago
I truly have NO idea why anyone would think Creative Cause is a Derby hopeful? There are some trainers who may be excellent horseman but everyone has their forte, Mike Harrington may be a good trainer, (of sprinters by Swiss Yodeler at Hollywood Park) but he will never win a Derby, Preakness or Belmont. The horse is nothing special, didn't even consider him last week. Remember, some trainers train turf horses very well and not dirt sprinters, some train dirt sprinters well and not turf routers, know their strengths, this is not M Harringtons strength
Thomas E Pierson Jr More than 1 year ago
The jockey club was run 3 weeks later over the same track and same distance. Final time was almost identical except the first quarter. meg neddih ;)
hialeah More than 1 year ago
Hi Mike, I'll be watching the FOY with interest, but I am coming around to the opinion that the BC money is so big that certain connections rush a 2yo to make the race (and a big check) at all costs. It certainly opens things up for others with more patience to be successful in the spring of their 3yo campaign. And then there will be late bloomers down the road in the fall. Guess one just has to be open-minded and ever vigilant. And lucky. Thanks.
Don Passidomo More than 1 year ago
MW, that is another reason I encourage you to look out for "Gemologist", his race in Nov at CD was as good, if not better, than ALL of the above....his next race will tell us if he is the horse to beat in KD, or just another aspiring upstart.....be here now.....
Charles Berger More than 1 year ago
Everyone gets too excited about the Breeder's Cup horses. It'a a new year with the opportunity for some horse with ability to turn the corner in maturity. That is usually the way of it with young three year olds.