10/15/2007 11:00PM

A closer look at Juvenile Turf

EmailLAS VEGAS - Of all Breeders' Cup races this year, the one that is probably the biggest puzzle is the inaugural running of the Juvenile Turf, because the probable contenders are still up in the air. That being said, below is a brief pedigree analysis of some likely contenders, listed alphabetically:

Cannonball: By underrated sire Catienus (Storm Cat), also the sire of Precious Kitten, he won a maiden race on turf at Belmont on Sept. 21 and descends from Zeal, a full sister to monster turf winner Drumtop. His fifth dam is a half-sister to Horse of the Year Moccasin, as well as to Ridan, Lt. Stevens, Thong, and Gambetta (dam of champion Gamely).

Cherokee Triangle: Won the Sunday Silence Stakes over grass at Louisiana Downs. By Cherokee Run (by hidden turf [HT] sire Runaway Groom), he is from a classy Christiana Stable female family that produced champion Tempted, End Sweep, Salem, Eltish, Smart, and Wheelaway.

Gio Ponti: Won the Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland over turf in his second start and is by HT sire Tale of the Cat (Storm Cat) out of a half-sister to Salty Gal, the dam of stakes winners Mongoose and Hesanoldsalt.

Nownownow: Winner of the With Anticipation Stakes and second in the Bourbon, his pedigree is full of grass influences, including HT sire Whywhywhy (Mr. Greeley), Exit to Nowhere, Big Spruce, and two crosses of Riverman.

Old Man Buck: Winner of the Cradle Stakes on turf, he was third in the Breeders' Futurity over Polytrack. He is from the first crop of Hold That Tiger, a Group 1 winner at 2 who was also third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and second to Horse of the Year Mineshaft in the Woodward Stakes at 3. In addition, his damsire, Jeblar, is a known turf influence.

Prussian: Explosive winner of his maiden turf race at 8 1/2 furlongs at Saratoga, he then won the Summer Stakes at Woodbine. From the last crop of Danzig, he is out of an Alleged mare who placed in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac and was third in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes.

Texas Fever: Winner of the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Juvenile Stakes over Turfway Park's Polytrack at 8 1/2 furlongs, he has a sneaky good turf pedigree and a ton of class from his female family. His HT sire Victory Gallop is best known for winning the Belmont Stakes over Real Quiet and his runners have performed well on turf, including stakes winners Galloping Gal, Rousing Victory, Jazzy Gallop, and Swingit. His dam is a three-quarter sister to 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus and this female line produced Ruffian.

The Leopard: A $2.5 million 2-year-old purchase, he won a maiden race on dirt but disappointed in two subsequent dirt efforts. Switched to turf, he skipped over a hard turf course at Belmont to win the Pilgrim Stakes on Sept. 29 in wire-to-wire fashion. By the versatile Storm Cat, his dam is a full sister to Scan, winner of the Cowdin and Remsen stakes at 2 and Jerome and Pegasus handicaps at 3. Top-class Claiborne Farm female line traces to La Troienne and produced champion mare and producer Straight Deal, European champion Caerleon, and stakes winners Vision, Merce Cunningham, and Palmistry. Fourth dam is 1966 co-2-year-old filly champion Regal Gleam.

Why Tonto: Winner of the World Appeal Stakes over turf at the Meadowlands, he is by Indian Charlie, winner of the Santa Anita Derby and third in the Kentucky Derby, who was in the shadow of his stablemate, Derby and Preakness winner Real Quiet. Indian Charlie gets winners on all surfaces and is also underrated as a sire. A half-brother to stakes winner Because I'm Gold, his second dam is a full sister to 2-year-old champion Rockhill Native.