Updated on 09/17/2011 10:25PM

BC Juvenile: Baffert's best chance down to Too Much Bling and Bob and John


By this point of the year, trainer Bob Baffert usually has a pretty good idea which 2-year-olds he will be running in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Baffert has participated in eight of the last nine Juveniles, having run multiple entries four times and finishing 1-2-4 in 2002.

With four weeks remaining until the 22nd Breeders' Cup at Belmont on Oct. 29, Baffert's 2-year-old division is in flux. Following the tragic death of What a Song and untimely infirmities suffered by Enforcement and Midnite Lute, Baffert appears down to Bob and John and Too Much Bling as his two chances to compete in the $1.5 million Juvenile.

Sunday, Baffert will run Bob and John in the $200,000 Norfolk Stakes against the West Coast's top gun, Stevie Wonderboy. On Oct. 8, Baffert will run Too Much Bling in the Grade 1, $500,000 Lane's End Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland.

Bob and John, a son of Seeking the Gold, won his maiden by 11 1/2 lengths in his second career start. The win came around two turns in a one-mile race at Del Mar, which came just 14 days after he finished fourth going six furlongs, also at Del Mar.

"He's tall and lanky and he's not build for speed," Baffert said. "He's still real immature, and we knew two turns was going to be definitely much better for him. He didn't run very fast, still the way he did it was nice. I think he's one we're excited about for next year."

Bob and John will meet Del Mar Futurity 1-2-3 finishers Stevie Wonderboy, The Pharaoh, and Jealous Profit in Sunday's Norfolk, run at 1 1/16 miles around two turns.

Baffert purchased Too Much Bling after he won a maiden race by 19 1/2 lengths at Thistledown on July 30. In his first start for Baffert and new owner Stonerside Stable, Too Much Bling finished third behind First Samurai and Henny Hughes in the Grade 1 Hopeful at Saratoga.

Though Too Much Bling has been training regularly at Belmont Park, he will make his next start in the Breeders' Futurity. Baffert said the Champagne, run at Belmont the same day as the Breeders' Futurity, is coming up too tough and with too much speed.

Too Much Bling has been training in blinkers and will wear them in the Breeders' Futurity. In the Hopeful, Too Much Bling got bumped and was under heavy pressure early from First Samurai and Jerry Bailey.

In other Juvenile news:

* First Samurai, the Hopeful winner, was scheduled to arrive in New York on Thursday to continue preparations for the Grade 1 Champagne. First Samurai will likely work at Belmont on Saturday.

* Henny Hughes, who finished second behind First Samurai in the Hopeful, worked five furlongs from the gate in 1:00.01 Wednesday morning over the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga. Freddie Bond, the clocker at Saratoga, called it "the most impressive gate work since I've been here, which has been since 1985.''

Bond timed Henny Hughes in fractions of 24.98 seconds, 37.15, 48.14, and galloped out in 1:13.40. He worked in company with Ball Four, who was timed in 1:01.61.

Juvenile Contenders
2-year-old colts & geldings, 1 1/16 miles. Purse: $1.5 million.

1First SamuraiF. Brothers3-1
Dominated Hopeful despite racing greenly; figures to only improve
2Henny HughesP. Biancone4-1
Second best in Hopeful at 3-5, but is capable of a stronger effort
3Bro LoD. O'Neill6-1
Speedball romped in first two at Dmr; gets distance test in Champagne
4Stevie WonderboyD. O'Neill5-1
Most impressive visually winning Dmr Futurity, but his time wasn't fast
5Sorcerer's StoneP. Byrne8-1
Trainer who brought you Favorite Trick has another serious 2-year-old
6Private VowS. Asmussen6-1
Crushed an iffy field in the Futurity; only loss was to Sorcerer's Stone
7Flanders FieldsD. Stewart15-1
A.P. Indy-Flanders colt devoured one mile in eye-catching maiden win
8George WashingtonA. O'Brien10-1
Won 4 straight; trainer won this at Belmont in 2001 with Johannesburg
9Dr. PleasureJ. Ward Jr.20-1
Beautiful Pleasure's son by Thunder Gulch impressed in debut at Sar
10SuperflyN. Zito20-1
Won a small stakes at Delaware after placing to the fast Discreet Cat
The top 10 contenders for each of the eight Breeders' Cup races are ranked by Mike Watchmaker, who set the odds and wrote the comments. Actual Breeders' Cup fields will have up to 14 starters.