09/25/2013 2:48PM

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf: Diamond Bachelor looks best in the West

Benoit & Associates
Diamond Bachelor wins the $100,000 Oak Tree Juvenile Turf at Del Mar.

It really isn’t that surprising that a horse based in California hasn’t won the Grade 1, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. First off, there are no Win and You’re In races in California for the Juvenile Turf and there aren’t any graded turf races for 2-year-olds leading up to the race.

Diamond Bachelor was very impressive winning both of his races on the Del Mar turf for trainer Patrick Biancone, however, and he looks like a horse who could make a big impact in the one-mile race. He has only started twice, but he showed different attributes in each race, which can only help him when he takes on what will be his biggest challenge Nov. 1.

When Diamond Bachelor debuted in a one-mile maiden special race Aug. 8, he sat just off the pace for the first quarter-mile before engaging the other speed in a relatively slow half-mile. He took control of the race on the stretch turn and never looked threatened while drawing off to win by 3 1/4 lengths. He showed dazzling speed – a 21.97-second first quarter – and plenty of stamina when he came back to win the one-mile, $100,000 Oak Tree Juvenile Turf on Sept. 4. In both races, he was ridden by Julien Leparoux, who won the inaugural running of the Juvenile Turf aboard Nownownow.

[BREEDERS’ CUP 2013: See DRF’s top contenders]

Biancone was the trainer of Nownownow leading up to Juvenile Turf, but after being suspended for possession of cobra venom just nine days before the race, his assistant trainer Francois Parisel was given credit for the win.

Biancone said Diamond Bachelor will use the $100,000 Zuma Beach on Oct. 6 at Santa Anita as his final prep for the Juvenile Turf. He was pleased with Diamond Bachelor’s five-furlong work in 1:01.40 at Santa Anita last Friday. It was his first work since he won the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf.

“It was a really nice work for him and the first step in getting him ready for the Zuma Beach,” Biancone said. “I think he is developing nicely and hopefully he keeps improving.”

Diamond Bachelor is clearly the leading juvenile turf horse on the West Coast, and his counterpart on the East Coast, Bashart, also will be in action Oct. 6.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, who won the Juvenile Turf with Pluck in 2010, Bashart is nominated to both the Grade 3, $150,000 Bourbon at Keeneland and the Grade 3, $200,000 Pilgrim at Belmont Park. Both the Bourbon and Pilgrim are Win and You’re In races.

Pletcher said he was slightly leaning toward running Bashart in the Bourbon, but that he hadn’t made his final decision yet.

Bashart is coming off a win in the Grade 2 With Anticipation on Aug. 29 at Saratoga.

The only Win and You’re In race for the Juvenile Turf this weekend is the Group 2 Juddmonte Royal Lodge on Saturday at Newmarket.