09/26/2012 4:36PM

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf: Look to Europe for top contenders

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Given that three of the five runnings of the Juvenile Turf were won by European shippers, it’s probably a good idea to begin your prospect search for this year’s edition by looking overseas. The thing of it is, you can look all you want. Just don’t expect a lot of concrete information, at least not right now.

European horsemen traditionally don’t firm up their Breeders’ Cup plans until after the weekend of the Arc de Triomphe, which will be run a week from Sunday. However, there is at this time one known European candidate for the Juvenile Turf. He is First Cornerstone, who according to the International Racing Bureau was recently purchased privately by Team Valor with the Breeders’ Cup in mind. First Cornerstone, who must be supplemented to the Breeders’ Cup, won the Galileo EBF Futurity at The Curragh on Aug. 27 by 1 1/2 lengths in his first start for his new connections, improving his record to two victories from three starts. A victory in a Group 2 event such as the one earned by First Cornerstone automatically makes him a Juvenile Turf favorite.

Battle Of Marengo on Sept. 8 was a most impressive winner of a race notably named the ICON Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Trial Stakes at Leopardstown to improve his record to two scores from three starts. Yet despite the name of the race he just won, Battle Of Marengo might be too good for the Juvenile Turf. Adrian Beaumont of the IRB reported that trainer Aidan O’Brien thinks of Battle Of Marengo as an Epsom Derby horse. Beaumont said that he is confident O’Brien will have a horse for the Juvenile Turf but is not yet sure which horse.

O’Brien won last year’s Juvenile Turf with Wrote. The other two European winners of the Juvenile Turf were Donativum in 2008 and Pounced in 2009.

Among the leading North American prospects for the Juvenile Turf are Balance the Books, a visually impressive winner of the With Anticipation Stakes; Dry Summer, winner of the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf; Java’s War, winner of the Sunday Silence, and I’m Boundtoscore, upset winner of the Summer Stakes, the only “Win and You’re In” race run for this division as of Sept. 26.