09/09/2013 2:05PM

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf: O'Brien once again has contenders

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Tom Keyser
Bashart wins the Grade 2 With Anticipation Stakes last month at Saratoga.

Since its inception in 2007, four of the six winners of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf have come from Europe, and right now, it is far too early to know which Europeans will be coming to Santa Anita for this year’s renewal.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien, who won the race with George Vancouver last year and Wrote in 2011, is once again loaded with talented 2-year-olds. He won the Group 3 ICON Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Trial Stakes at Leopardstown with Australia last Saturday, and he also trains the highly ranked War Command, who won the Group 2 Galileo Breeders Fund Futurity at The Curragh on Aug. 24. Australia is out of Ouija Board, who won the 2004 and 2006 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

The Turf Trial Stakes is a Win and You’re In race, but O’Brien hasn’t indicated if Australia will make the trip. Usually, the best 2-year-olds in Europe are turned out early and pointed to the 3-year-old classics.

The next Win and You’re In race in Europe is the Group 1 Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp on Oct. 6.

Heading the list of North American contenders for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf is Bashart, who scored a front-running win in the Grade 2 With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 29. His trainer, Todd Pletcher, said Bashart would make his next start in the Grade 3 Pilgrim at Belmont on Oct. 6. On the same day at Keeneland is the Grade 3 Bourbon. Both races are Win and You’re In events.

Diamond Bachelor ranks as the top 2-year-old turf horse on the West Coast. Trained by Patrick Biancone, he was an impressive winner of the $100,000 Oak Tree Juvenile Turf at Del Mar on Sept. 6.

Got Shades held off Mighty Brown in the $100,000 Sunday Silence at Louisiana Downs last Saturday. Both horses ran well enough to warrant serious attention.

The Grade 2 Summer Stakes at Woodbine this Saturday is a Win and You’re In race and should help identify at least one major contender. Pluck came out of the race to win the 2010 BC Juvenile Turf for Pletcher.