09/28/2011 12:25PM

Breeders' Cup: No clear-cut favorite in Juvenile

Barbara D. Livingston
Hopeful winner Currency Swap is one of the division leaders, but there is no dominant figure this year.

There are years in which the favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile is apparent before October.

This isn’t one of those years. A dominant leader, or even a clear pecking order in the division, has yet to be established.

The most established runners entering the fall are Currency Swap and Drill, respective winners of the Grade 1 Hopeful and Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity – Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In races that earned each automatic, paid-entry berths in the Juvenile.

However, Drill is not Breeders’ Cup nominated and would require a $100,000 supplemental horses-of-racing-age nomination to compete.

Saturday’s Grade 1 Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita, another Win and You’re In event, could produce another automatic berth, unless Drill follows his Del Mar Futurity triumph with another win there.

Other 2-year-olds under consideration for the 1 1/16-mile Norfolk include Creative Cause and Majestic City – who were second and third behind Drill, respectively, in the Del Mar Futurity – as well as I’ll Have Another, Ruler of Dubai, and Sheer Talent.

Following the Norfolk, two Grade 1 Win and You’re In races remain, both Oct. 8: The Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland and the Champagne at Belmont – races that historically prove key preps toward the Juvenile.

Although last weekend’s Kentucky Cup Juvenile at Turfway Park was ungraded and didn’t provide an automatic Breeders’ Cup berth, the runaway 13-length winner of the race, Hansen, is likely to run the Juvenile, though his participation could potentially rest with a decision from the Breeders’ Cup selection committee.

The Juvenile could draw an oversubscribed field of more than 14, meaning Hansen would need to be one of seven horses selected by the committee on merit, with the other seven earning in their way into the field with either Breeders’ Cup Challenge race victories or points earned in graded stakes races.

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