09/16/2013 5:04PM

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf: Boji Moon impresses in Kentucky Downs Juvenile


Last weekend’s major preps for the Grade  1,  $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf were more about  who is not going to run in the one-mile race for 2-year-old males than who was elevated into the picture.

Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Summer Stakes at Woodbine was a Win and You’re In race, but the winner, Myconquestadory, is a filly and isn’t eligible to the race. The Mark Casse-trained daughter of Artie Schiller was very impressive making her debut in the one-mile race and will be pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies instead.

At Kentucky Downs, Boji Moon remained undefeated with an overpowering performance in the $117,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile. With Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard, Boji Moon stalked Here’s Johnny for six furlongs before drawing off to win the seven-furlong race by 5 1/4 lengths. He couldn’t have won any easier, and the 85 Beyer Speed Figure he received is highest Beyer by any 2-year-old running on turf in North America.

[BREEDERS’ CUP 2013: See DRF’s top contenders]

An Iowa-bred by Cactus Ridge, Boji Moon is not Breeders’ Cup Eligible, however, and his owners Brian Hall, William Gessman, and River Ridge Ranch would have to pay $200,000 on top of his entry and starting fees to run in the race. Trainer Chris Richard said it wasn’t likely they would put up the money, but a big effort in the Grade 3, $150,000 Bourbon at Keeneland on Oct. 6 might change their minds.

Boji Moon crushed Iowa-breds in his first two starts at Prairie Meadows and impressed Richard with his dominating win over open company at Kentucky Downs.

“I’ve always had a lot of confidence in him, and we’ve taken our time with him,” Richard said. “Right now, we aren’t looking at the Breeders’ Cup, but we are going to point him to the Bourbon and things can change.”

The Bourbon is a Win and You’re In race. The Grade 3 Pilgrim on the same day at Belmont Park also is a Win and You’re In race. The two races should help identify which North American 2-year-olds are going to be serious contenders in the Juvenile Turf.

The Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket on Sept. 28 and the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp on Oct. 6 are the last Win and You’re In races in Europe.

Australia, who won the ICON Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Trail at Leopardstown, the only other Breeders’ Cup Challenge race for 2-year-olds in Europe, won’t likely make the trip to Santa Anita.