11/01/2006 12:00AM

Contrary to belief, several juveniles stick out


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Most players will be relieved that the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies will not be a part of the pick six because they are generally regarded as wide-open events. But both races can be narrowed down to some plumb choices.

Juvenile Fillies

1. Dreaming of Anna

2. Her Majesty

3. Cash Included

Most handicappers feel there are no standouts among this year's 2-year-old fillies, but I strongly disagree.

Dreaming of Anna is undefeated in three starts and is the only 2-year-old filly who has looked like something special. After winning her career debut at 4 1/2 furlongs on dirt, she displayed sizzling speed to win the Tippett Stakes on turf at Colonial Downs. But it was her third race that pointed her out as something extraordinary. Facing colts in the Summer Stakes at Woodbine, Dreaming of Anna easily repelled the challenge of favored Marcavelly, who is among the best juvenile colts to race on turf this year.

Dreaming of Anna is by the international stallion Rahy, one of Blushing Groom's best sons at stud. While Rahy is a strong turf influence, he has certainly established himself as a versatile sire, getting high-quality winners on all surfaces. Fantastic Light, Noverre, Tranquility Lake, Tates Creek, Designed for Luck, and Hawksley Hill were exceptional on grass, but Rahy also sired champion Serena's Song, Early Pioneer, Exotic Wood, Raw Gold, and Mariah's Storm (the dam of Giant's Causeway), who were just as exceptional on dirt.

Dreaming of Anna is also from a "now" female family that has had much recent success. She is a full sister to stakes winner Lewis Michael, who was a close second in this year's Peter Pan Stakes. Their dam, stakes winner Justenuffheart, is a half-sister to 2004 turf champion Kitten's Joy and 2006 stakes winner Precious Kitten.

Her Majesty was first brought to my attention by Lee Tomlinson, who intimated she might be a filly with a big future. She was impressive winning her career debut at one mile despite hopping at the start, and had a troubled trip finishing a game third in the Alcibiades Stakes in just her second start. Clearly, this is a lightly raced filly with plenty of upside, and her pedigree only adds to the belief that there is much more to come. By Giant's Causeway, she is out of a half-sister to champion sprinter Safely Kept.

Cash Included, who was 13-1 when she toppled the early divisional leader, Point Ashley, in the Oak Leaf Stakes, may be the tepid choice, and also lightly raced, but she has upside as well. From the first crop of major stakes winner Include, she should continue to progress at distances longer than one mile.

Fillies who could round out the exotics include Bel Air Beauty, Cotton Blossom, and Octave.


1. Circular Quay

2. Great Hunter

3. C P West

4. Street Sense

If either Principle Secret or Pegasus Wind were the lone speed, they would be particularly dangerous in this field. But both will be running hard from the get-go, which would compromise their chances and set it up for a late stretch run from Circular Quay, Great Hunter, C P West, Scat Daddy, and Street Sense.

After winning his first three starts - his first two over the Churchill Downs surface - Circular Quay was the clear divisional leader. His come-from-behind victory in the Hopeful Stakes was explosive, the kind of effort that wins championships in the fall. He finished second in the Breeders' Futurity over Keeneland's Polytrack, but did not have the same overpowering late kick he showed on dirt. It may have been the perfect prep, however, as he returns to dirt and a racetrack he obviously likes.

Circular Quay is by the underrated stamina influence Thunder Gulch, whose $25,000 stud fee seems rather moderate considering he is the sire of Horse of the Year Point Given (a close second to Macho Uno in the 2000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile) and Spain (winner of the 2000 BC Distaff). Circular Quay is out of the Belong to Me mare Circle of Life, who won the 1999 Spinaway Stakes. Circular Quay also has Shadeed (Nijinsky II), Alydar, and Round Table up close in his pedigree, giving him multiple sources of stamina in addition to Thunder Gulch.

Compromised by running in sprints over speed-oriented surfaces in California, Great Hunter showed promise in California while finishing second in three races to E Z Warrior, Principle Secret, and Horse Greeley. He appreciated stretching out in distance winning the Breeders' Futurity over Keeneland's Polytrack, which has been kind to late runners.

He is from the second crop of Aptitude (second to Fusaichi Pegasus in the 2000 Kentucky Derby), whose first crop included Steppenwolfer. Trainer Doug O'Neill, who won last year's Juvenile with Stevie Wonderboy, could conceivably win back-to-back Juveniles with another 2-year-old who possesses a strong late run.

Nick Zito could have the real sleeper for this year's Juvenile in C P West. From the first crop of Came Home (Gone West), C P West is out of a Dynaformer mare who traces to Kerala, the dam of 1967 Horse of the Year Damascus. Winner of a six-furlong maiden race in his career debut at Saratoga, he was a game second to King of the Roxy in the Futurity Stakes in just his second start. C P West has a balanced pedigree of speed (Came Home) and stamina (Dynaformer) and should love the Juvenile distance.

Scat Daddy, from Johannesburg's highly successful first crop, cannot be dismissed although he was soundly defeated by Circular Quay in the Hopeful. He was determined in his Champagne Stakes victory over the immensely talented but lightly raced Nobiz Like Shobiz, and is a must-use in the exotics.

Street Sense, who was third in the Breeders' Futurity and the Arlington-Washington Futurity, is by Street Cry (winner of the 2002 Dubai World Cup and a close third to Macho Uno and Point Given in the 2000 BC Juvenile), yet another freshman sire who is off to a good start at stud. While he has tactical speed, the feeling here is that runners by Street Cry will only get better with maturity and distance (and especially turf). In addition, his dam is a half-sister to stakes winner Binalegend, and his second dam, Majestic Legend, is a half-sister to Mr. Greeley.