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Breeders' Cup Juvenile: Pletcher back in familiar role as trainer of favorite
For the second time in three years, trainer Todd Pletcher will have the favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile when he ships Shanghai Bobby cross-country for the $2 million race.
In 2010, when the Breeders’ Cup was held at Churchill Downs, Pletcher won the Juvenile with Uncle Mo, who, like Shanghai Bobby, was coming off a win in the Grade 1 Champagne.
As it was for Uncle Mo, the Juvenile will be Shanghai Bobby’s first race around two turns.
“A lot of times, their best two-turn race is the first time around it,” Pletcher said.
Pletcher said when he brought Uncle Mo to the Breeders’ Cup he was more concerned about the quirkiness of the main track at Churchill Downs than he was the two turns.
“Churchill can be very, very peculiar,” he said. “Luckily, that year wasn’t quite the same as it was last year. We didn’t seem to have any of our dirt horses handle it at all last year.
“I think Santa Anita would be a little more favorable for our kind of horses,” added Pletcher, referring to Shanghai Bobby’s propensity to sit just off the pace. “Love and Pride went out there and ran well off the plane, so that was encouraging.”
Love and Pride won the Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita and is being pointed to the Ladies’ Classic. Six of Pletcher’s potential Breeders’ Cup starters are already at Santa Anita – Love and Pride, Turbo Compressor, Tara From the Cape, Bridgetown, In Lingerie, and Doubles Partner. The latter quartet was already in Kentucky, and it made sense to ship them to California from there, Pletcher said.
Shanghai Bobby, Dreaming of Julia (Juvenile Fillies), and Turbulent Descent (Filly and Mare Sprint), are slated to ship Oct. 30.
The composition of the Juvenile is in flux. Champagne runner-up Goldencents will not be supplemented, said trainer Doug O’Neill, who will be represented by FrontRunner second-place finisher Know More.
Trainer Mike Maker said Breeders’ Futurity winner Joha would be considered for the Juvenile but is more likely for the Juvenile Turf.
Trainer Mark Casse said he would evaluate how Breeders’ Futurity runner-up Dynamic Sky trains over the dirt at Churchill before deciding whether to try the Juvenile. Uncaptured, fifth in Sunday’s Grey Stakes at Woodbine, will not run, he said.
Power Broker and Title Contender, both trained by Bob Baffert, FrontRunner third-place finisher Capo Bastone, and Champagne third-place finisher Fortify are expected to start.
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