10/19/2016 1:20PM

Breeders' Cup Juvenile: Theory not proven going long

New York Racing Association photo
Theory has raced just twice, both times at six furlongs.

Elliott Walden said he would “absolutely” like to run Theory in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita on Nov. 5. He hopes the horse is equally as eager.

Theory has come out of his 3 1/2-length victory in last Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Futurity at Belmont Park well enough for Walden, president and chief executive of WinStar Farm, which owns Theory in partnership with the China Horse Club, and trainer Todd Pletcher to keep the Juvenile on their radar. The Futurity was only Theory’s second start, and both have come at six furlongs. He missed a planned start in the Grade 1 Hopeful due to a bruised foot.

The last horse to win the Juvenile who had not raced beyond six furlongs was Johannesburg in 2001. However, Johannesburg was 6 for 6, including three Group 1 victories on turf, in Europe before winning the Juvenile.

Walden said there are ample reasons to consider running Theory back in three weeks in the Juvenile.

“He could be 2-year-old champion,” Walden said. “We feel like he has the talent to compete with the best 2-year-olds in the country. It’s not like he doesn’t belong. If he runs, he’s one of the top choices. We would like to run. It’s not a negative if he doesn’t, it’s more about seeing him train this week.”

Walden said it is even possible that Theory could be pre-entered in the Juvenile on Monday, giving him and Pletcher an additional week to decide whether to enter Oct. 31.

In 2014, Carpe Diem successfully stretched out from a 5 1/2-furlong maiden win at Saratoga to win the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland for WinStar and Pletcher. He finished second to Texas Red in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Theory is a son of Gemologist, who stretched out from a six-furlong maiden win to take a 1 1/16-mile allowance race in his second start.

In last Saturday’s Futurity, Theory not only won by 3 1/2 lengths, he galloped out an additional quarter of a mile very sharply. Walden felt the Futurity might be an easier race to bounce back from than the Champagne, where Practical Joke and Syndergaard had to run a hard mile.

“I’d almost rather run back three weeks off a six-furlong race than four weeks off a mile that was a gut-wrencher,” Walden said.

◗ Klimt, the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity winner who finished second in the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes, worked five furlongs in 1:00 at Santa Anita on Wednesday.

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“He went nice,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “He worked steady; everything’s on schedule.”

◗ Lookin At Lee, the runner-up in the Breeders’ Futurity when breaking from post 12, will be equipped with blinkers for the first time in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, trainer Steve Asmussen said.

“He needs to be into it,” Asmussen said. “From that draw in the Breeders’ Futurity, he doesn’t have a lot of speed, so you’re either going to be out the back door or very wide. Hopefully, we’ll have him run away from there a little better and get a better draw than we did in the Futurity.”

Lookin At Lee, along with stablemate Gun Runner (Classic or Dirt Mile) flew to Southern California on Tuesday. Both horses will get two workouts over Santa Anita’s main track.

◗ Three Rules, undefeated in five starts while facing mostly Florida-sired runners, was scheduled to work Friday at Gulfstream Park, trainer Jose Pinchin said. Pinchin said Three Rules also will work next Friday, then leave south Florida by van the following day to Lexington, Ky. He will fly on Oct. 31 from Kentucky to California.

Pinchin said when he looks at the horses in the Juvenile, “they all run basically the same numbers.

Three Rules, Pinchin said, “has won his races a little easier; he might be a little fresher.”

◗ Favorable Outcome, third in the Grade 1 Champagne, is still under consideration for the Juvenile, but trainer Chad Brown plans to breeze him on turf this weekend to see if the Juvenile Turf could be an option.

“I want to see how he moves on it because he gives me the indication he might be effective on it,” Brown said.

Brown also trains Practical Joke, the winner of the Champagne and Hopeful, who will return to the work tab this weekend.