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Breeders' Cup Juvenile: Shanghai Bobby brings unbeaten record
ARCADIA, Calif. – One day after they go at it with the major players in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, trainers Todd Pletcher and Bob Baffert will clash again Saturday with the top contenders in the $2 million Juvenile at Santa Anita.
The difference Saturday is Baffert will send out two runners to Pletcher’s one.
But Pletcher’s Shanghai Bobby has so far been the one in the 2-year-old division, winning all four of his starts including the Grade 2 Hopeful at Saratoga and Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont.
Shanghai Bobby will meet the Baffert duo of Power Broker and Title Contender in the Juvenile, a 1 1/16-mile race which drew a field of nine.
Shanghai Bobby, a son of Harlan’s Holiday, got his career started in April at Aqueduct, winning a 4 1/2-furlong maiden race by four lengths. He has successfully stretched out in distance with each race, and enters the Juvenile off a dominant five-length victory in the one-mile Champagne at Belmont on Oct. 6.
“We’re confident,” Pletcher said. “He keeps handling everything that we’ve thrown at him. He keeps improving.”
Shanghai Bobby arrived on Wednesday afternoon after being stuck in New York due to Hurricane Sandy. He was not permitted to train for two days because Belmont’s track was closed.
In the Juvenile, Shanghai Bobby will be stretching out around two turns for the first time. Pletcher didn’t seem too concerned about that.
“Not really, not in the way he handled the stretch-out to a mile,” Pletcher said. “I think he not only handled it well, he finished up strongly. He’s got good tactical speed. At the same time he’s been able to relax and finished both the Hopeful and Champagne very strongly.”
Rosie Napravnik may have to use Shanghai Bobby’s speed early as there appears to be little speed to run with Title Contender early on.
Prior to Monday’s entry deadline, Coolmore Stud bought half-interest in Shanghai Bobby from Starlight Stable.
Power Broker had lost his first three starts, all at Del Mar where he ran on synthetic and turf. When Baffert got him on the dirt in the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes here on Sept. 29, Power Broker galloped to a 6 1/2-length victory.
“He showed before we went to Del Mar that he was an exceptional horse,” Baffert said. “I was glad to get him back on dirt, but I was sort of surprised the way he did it. At a mile, he’s just getting going, catching stride. He’s got a bright future, especially when we get to distance races.”
Title Contender, who like Power Broker is a son of Pulpit, finished third in his debut, which came at Del Mar in July. Two months later, on the same day Power Broker won the FrontRunner, Title Contender won a one-mile maiden race by 2 3/4 lengths.
Title Contender drew the rail for the Juvenile and Baffert said he will have jockey Martin Garcia send the colt away from the gate.
“I want him on the lead,” Baffert said. “He likes to run on the lead. We’re not going to be taking him back. We’ll let him do his thing. He’ll either keep going or else he’ll be run down.”
Baffert likes post 9 for Power Broker, who will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano.
“Good spot,” Baffert said. “He’ll be in the clear and he can just track. I don’t think he’ll be too far off of it.”
Those looking to beat Baffert and Pletcher in the Juvenile could land on Capo Bastone, a 15-1 morning-line prospect. Capo Bastone was beaten seven lengths by Power Broker in the FrontRunner, but made a huge middle move in the race after breaking poorly.
“He doesn’t have to be that far back,” trainer John Sadler said. “He was the only horse that day that made a big move from behind against the bias and ran a really good, strong race. You’re going to have your couple of favorites. He’s about third choice in there in my mind.”
Sadler will also send out Monument, winner of three of four starts including the California Cup Juvenile here just three weeks ago.
“He’s only been beaten one time, but he hasn’t run against this caliber,” Sadler said.
Speak Logistics, a front-running winner of the In Reality Stakes at Calder, is 2 for 2 since being stretched out around two turns by trainer Eddie Plesa.
This year, all 2-year-olds running in Breeders’ Cup races will not be permitted to be treated with the anti-bleeding medication Lasix.
Fortify, second in the Hopeful and third in the Champagne, has never raced on Lasix, so his trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin, is hoping that will be an edge for him. The other eight horses will be coming off the drug.
Making their dirt debuts in the Juvenile are Dynamic Sky, second in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland, and He’s Had Enough, 11th in the Breeders’ Futurity. He’s Had Enough is from the same connections as this year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, I’ll Have Another.
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