Updated on 09/15/2011 2:03PM

Countdown to the Cup: The Juvenile (9/20)


While the road to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile ends at Belmont Park on Oct. 27, several horses will be making detours to avoid a confrontation with Officer before then.

Trainer Bob Baffert may have his colleagues scrambling to make other arrangements after telling Daily Racing Form on Wednesday that he intends to keep Officer in California for the Norfolk Stakes on Sept. 29 rather than ship to Belmont for the Grade 1 Champagne on Oct. 6 as originally planned. Baffert cited the convenience of staying in California as one of the reasons for the decision.

Officer, a son of 1991 Juvenile runner-up Bertrando, is 4 for 4. His victories in the Best Pal Stakes and Del Mar Futurity have confirmed his status as the leading juvenile colt in the country.

In August, the connections of Came Home opted to ship their horse to Saratoga where he won the Grade 1 Hopeful, his third win in as many starts. Came Home, a son of Gone West, is being considered for either the Norfolk or Champagne. Part-owner John Toffan said he would make a decision next week.

"Either way, we're in good shape," Toffan said.

After sending out Kamsack to a second-place finish in the Del Mar Futurity, trainer Christopher Paasch said he wants to avoid meeting Officer again until the Juvenile. As of Wednesday, he planned to ship Kamsack to Keeneland for the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity on Oct. 6.

"We look forward to meeting him in the Breeders' Cup with a more experienced horse," said Paasch, who may also consider the Champagne. "He's the nicest horse I ever touched."

They have yet to run a Juvenile without a D. Wayne Lukas-trained horse. Of Lukas's 16 Breeders' Cup wins, five have come in the Juvenile. He has started 33 horses in the race with three seconds and five thirds.

Lukas has a bevy of 2-year-olds to choose from, but is likely considering Jump Start, Gold Dollar and Truman's Raider for this year's Juvenile. Jump Start, a son of A.P. Indy, won the Grade 2 Saratoga Special before putting in a dull effort in the Hopeful. His connections are champing at the bit to stretch him out and he will make his next start in the Champagne.

"He's a monster of a horse but he's pretty laid back," said Mike Marlow, Lukas's New York assistant. "A distance of ground I think will help him. He's a big, long-striding colt where if you rush him off his feet he tends to lose interest."

Gold Dollar, a son of Seattle Slew, who had been entered in last Sunday's Futurity which was canceled, makes his stakes debut in Saturday's Kentucky Cup Juvenile. Truman's Raider, runner-up to Pure Precision in the Sapling, is likely to run next in the Arlington-Washington Futurity on Sept. 29.

Pure Precision was sent home to owner George Steinbrenner's Ocala, Fla., farm on Wednesday after getting sick. He will be given 45 to 60 days off and prepared for a 3-year-old campaign.

Mayakovsky and Warners are considered the top East Coast juveniles. After setting a track record in winning his maiden, Mayakovsky finished second to Came Home in the Hopeful. He is scheduled for the Champagne.

Trainer Todd Pletcher said Warners, a sharp maiden winner at Saratoga, will run next in the Cowdin on Oct. 7 as a possible prep for the Breeders' Cup.

Thunderello, who broke his maiden by 14 1/2 lengths at Saratoga, sustained a tear in the suspensory of his left foreleg and will be out four months, trainer Scott Lake said Wednesday.