10/14/2015 2:01PM

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile: Rivelli says Cocked and Loaded sitting on a big race

Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Cocked and Loaded made an early move under Emanuel Esquivel and kept right on going to win the Grade 3 Iroquois at Churchill Downs.

Less than a week away from Monday’s pre-entry deadline for the Breeders’ Cup, and it appears that the $2 million Juvenile could attract a full field headed by the Grade 1-winning trio of Brody’s Cause, Greenpointcrusader, and Nyquist.

Larry Rivelli, the trainer of Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes winners Cocked and Loaded, isn’t really paying much attention to the potential composition of the field.

“If my horse goes into the race as good as he’s doing right now, I’m not too concerned who’s running, to tell you the truth,” Rivelli said Tuesday. “If he gets beat, they’ll have to outrun him.”

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Rivelli was equally bullish on his horse Wednesday after watching him work five furlongs in 58 seconds over Keeneland’s main track. Starting his work two lengths behind a 3-year-old stablemate, Lewys Vaporizer, Cocked and Loaded finished on equal terms with that four-time winner and then galloped out six furlongs in 1:11.60. It was Cocked and Loaded’s second work over the track since shipping to Keeneland from Chicago a few weeks ago.

“He worked great,” Rivelli said by phone from Keeneland. “We’re ready. That was his last screw-tightening work before the race. We’ll have one more easy half-mile.”

Experience over the track – both in the morning and afternoon – is just one of the things to like about Cocked and Loaded heading into the Juvenile. Cocked and Loaded won his career debut in April at Keeneland, setting a track record of 51.64 seconds for 4 1/2 furlongs. After that race, Rivelli bought the horse privately on behalf of owners Richard Ravin and Vincent Foglia.

Cocked and Loaded won the Tremont Stakes at Belmont Park before having a troubled trip when sixth in the Grade 3 Sanford at Saratoga. He ran fifth in the Arlington-Washington Futurity over a synthetic surface before rolling to a two-length victory in the Grade 3 Iroquois, a 1 1/16-mile race run around two turns at Churchill Downs.

In that race, Cocked and Loaded made a strong middle move from about seven lengths out of it midway down the backstretch that propelled him to the lead by the middle of the far turn.

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Rivelli said jockey Emanuel Esquivel told him that Cocked and Loaded was “falling asleep as horses were passing him” down the backside.

Rivelli said that Esquivel told him, “I tapped him on the shoulder, and he latched onto the bit and drug me all the way from there.”

Rivelli will have Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard Cocked and Loaded in the Juvenile, which will be the first Grade 1 race the trainer has participated in.

“I’m trying not to make too big a deal about it,” Rivelli said. “Anything can happen in the next two weeks, but we are excited.”

As of Wednesday, it appeared that more than the maximum of 14 allowed to run could be pre-entered in the Juvenile. Cocked and Loaded, Brody’s Cause, Greenpointcrusader, and Nyquist all earned automatic berths by winning the four Breeders’ Cup Challenge races in the division.

Swipe, Exaggerator, and Ralis would get in on points earned in graded stakes races. If more than 14 horses are pre-entered, a panel of racing directors/secretaries chooses the next seven and then places the remaining horses on a preference list.

Other horses whose connections are at least considering pre-entering them in the Juvenile are Conquest Big E, Hit It a Bomb, Hollywood Don, Portfolio Manager, Rated R Superstar, Tale of S’avall, Tom’s Ready, Unbridled Outlaw, and Uncle Vinny.