10/08/2007 11:00PM

Breeders' Cup juvenile races beginning to take shape

EmailLAS VEGAS - Ruminations on last weekend's stakes races for 2-year-olds:


Undefeated in three starts, War Pass was a decisive winner coasting home by 1 1/2 lengths. He is out of a Mr. Prospector mare from a Claiborne Farm female family of high class. War Pass is a half-brother to Spinaway Stakes winner Oath (Known Fact), and stakes-placed Vision of Beauty (Danzig). His fourth dam is Bayou, the 1957 3-year-old filly champion and extraordinary broodmare. Prominent runners descending from Bayou include Slew o' Gold, Coastal, Aptitude, and Batteur. His sire, Cherokee Run, is a speed influence whose runners are often effective up to 1 1/16 miles, such as During, Kafwain, and Sir Cherokee. While he should skip over Monmouth's speed-favoring surface, War Pass will not be alone on the lead in the Juvenile and will be stretching out an extra sixteenth of a mile around two turns.

Ready's Image (More Than Ready), who was dominant in early-season sprints, chased the pace but was through after a half-mile and is an example of how there are two different juvenile seasons.

Bred to get better as the distances increase, Majestic Warrior (A.P. Indy) was in the garden spot behind the pacesetters but never fired. Unless there is something wrong physically with the royally bred colt, he's still high on my list for the Juvenile. His previous two victories were stunning, and I'm crossing a line through this race.

Pyro (Pulpit), who closed strongly to be second, was a ridiculous overlay at 32-1 based on his only two starts and pedigree. He won his debut at Churchill Downs earlier in the summer, then lunged at the start and stumbled in his only other start on Aug. 26 at Saratoga, finishing third behind wire-to-wire winner War Pass. Pyro is out of a Verne Winchell female family of high quality. Pyro is out of the Wild Again mare Wild Vision, a full sister to stakes winner to Wild Wonder, and his second dam, Carol's Wonder, is a half-sister to stakes winners Olympio, Call Now, and Your Call. Carol's Wonder is also a half-sister to Bistra and Dana Nicole. Bistra is the dam of Early Flyer and Fun House, and Dana Nicole is the dam of Bien Nicole.


Indian Blessing (Indian Charlie) followed her meteoric maiden win at 5 1/2 furlongs with another victory, this time at one mile. Indian Blessing won easily, but this was arguably one of the weakest Frizette fields in history. While it did appear Garrett Gomez geared her down late, Indian Blessing ran a painfully slow final quarter in 27.24 seconds, and I have doubts about her being as brilliant around two turns going longer.

Lane's End Breeders' Futurity

The Roundhouse (Fusaichi Pegasus) - a half-brother to Circular Quay who won his maiden debut at Monmouth, finished third in the Sanford, and was second in the Saratoga Special - was the 2-1 favorite, because his opposition was mainly turf horses trying Polytrack. The Roundhouse was outrun early and only managed a mild late gain. He should appreciate getting back to Monmouth and will benefit from a hot pace.

Wicked Style, who wired the field from his outside post, is now undefeated in three starts and will be part of any speed duel at Monmouth. He is from the same female family as War Pass. From the first crop of 2-year-old champion Macho Uno, he traces to Delta, a prodigious broodmare and half-sister to Bayou. He has only run on Polytrack at Arlington and Keeneland, and while he should handle dirt, the bigger question will be how he'll handle early pressure going two turns on a new surface.

Slew's Tiznow (Tiznow), a full brother to Slew's Tizzy, winner of this year's Lexington Stakes and Lone Star Derby, chased Wicked Style all the way and was all out to hold second over Old Man Buck (Hold That Tiger).

The third-, fourth-, and fifth-place finishers - Old Man Buck, Adriano (A.P. Indy), and Tend (Dynaformer) - all ran well over Polytrack, as many grass horses do, but the trio would be much better suited to the new Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.

Darley Alcibiades

This race should have great bearing on the Juvenile Fillies. A to the Croft (Menifee) has now finished second in three straight stakes, the Alcibiades, Spinaway, and Adirondack, and she was once again very game in defeat.

Grace Anatomy, who finished third in the Alcibiades, broke in the air but got into the race quickly. She got the lead in the stretch but tired late after her poor start; she was also coming off a layoff. She will benefit greatly from this effort and could be ready to peak in the Juvenile Fillies for Doug O'Neill. She certainly has the pedigree. From the first crop of champion sprinter/miler Aldebaran, she comes from a powerful Darby Dan female family that produced champions Soaring Softly, Devil's Bag, and Glorious Song, as well as Saint Ballado and the remarkable broodmare Battle Creek Girl.

Country Star, the Alcibiades winner, has been withdrawn from consideration for the Juvenile Fillies.