10/27/2005 11:00PM

BC Juvenile analysis


Unbeaten SORCERER'S STONE is the real deal He has speed, he finishes, and proved beating Private Vow first out he can take dirt and rally inside. He won the Arlington Washington Futurity with a sensational (24.14 seconds) final quarter. STEVIE WONDERBOY, the runaway Del Mar Futurity winner, enters fresh with sensational works. He also is qualified to upset favorite FIRST SAMURAI. First Samurai is unbeaten, and mistake-prone. He raced erratically in the Champagne and habitually lugs in. Further, he has been facing distance-challenged Henny Hughes. First Samurai can win if he is the best horse, but his lows odds may not accurately reflect his true chance. BROTHER DEREK looms the upsetter. His career-best pace figure last out signals continued improving form. He won the Grade 2 Norfolk at 1 1/16 miles on the lead last time, but he may prefer rallying from behind.

- Brad Free

There is enough early speed in this field to ensure a hot pace, but historically it isn't the deep closers who capitalize on that situation in the Juvenile. It is the horses who rate in fifth, sixth, and seventh who can slip past the speed. Based on the way he rated going seven furlongs in his impressive Del Mar Futurity win, I am hoping that STEVIE WONDERBOY gets that trip. PRIVATE VOW rated kindly just behind an ordinary pace, then hid from his opponents in the Del Mar Futurity. If he rates kindly he will be a prime contender. FIRST SAMURAI has more raw talent than anyone in the field at this point, but he must prove that he can relax through slower fractions than he did in his Champagne victory.

- Steve Klein

Either you're with FIRST SAMURAI or you're against him. I'm with him. He validated what initially was perceived as a mild upset in the Grade 1 Hopeful with an emphatic Grade 1 Champagne victory. He worked out some kinks when driving clear in that one, signaling further progress and maturity. Obviously, he is in for the toughest race of his life, what with the bulky field and the awesome assemblage of rival talent. Still, he sure looks like the real deal. PRIVATE VOW has been on the fast track to stardom since being narrowly beaten in his debut July 3 at Churchill Downs. Racehorses don't look much better winning than he did in the Grade 2 Futurity. There surely are no complaints about John Velazquez picking up the mount for Bailey. DR. PLEASURE, always well regarded, is the price play given a free-and-clear trip from the 14-hole.

- Marty McGee

FIRST SAMURAI is difficult to go against. Not only did he stretch his unbeaten streak to four in the Champagne, he showed more maturity by running straight through the stretch, and also demonstrated a willingness to rate. That last point is key because the pace in this race might be hot. SORCERER'S STONE, also undefeated, comes into this off a decisive score in the Arlington-Washington Futurity. He got his last quarter-mile in that race in 24 seconds, and that makes him dangerous. HENNY HUGHES is a big reason why the pick is so highly regarded, because he looked like he could be any kind winning his first three races, and then First Samurai whipped him in his last two. But Henny Hughes can get a piece, particularly if he avoids the kind of insane pace he was a part of in the Champagne.

- Mike Watchmaker