Updated on 09/15/2011 1:06PM

Countdown to the Cup: Juvenile (9/27)


The Breeders' Cup Juvenile lost a major contender this week when Mayakovsky, the runner-up in the Grade 1 Hopeful, suffered a chip in his left hind ankle and will be out a minimum of three months.

Mayakovsky, who broke a 55-year-old track record winning his maiden at Saratoga on July 25, apparently suffered the injury after working six furlongs in 1:11.25 at Belmont Park last Saturday. He was shipped to Kentucky and was scheduled to have the chip surgically removed Wednesday at the Hagyard-Davidson-McGee Veterinary Clinic in Lexington.

"He was okay Saturday, then Sunday morning we found he was not too well in his left hind," trainer Patrick Biancone said. "We found a little chip.

"It's like that, you never know with horses. Maybe he'll be better next year. For sure I'm disappointed. We know things happen when you do the job I do."

Biancone said he expected Mayakovsky to miss at least three months and hoped to get him back early in his 3-year-old season.

"It's difficult to plan ahead," Biancone said. "We hope the operation goes well, we hope he comes out of it in good shape, and we'll do everything in our power to bring him back to the races next year."

Mayakovsky figured to be the major challenger to Officer in the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont on Oct. 6. Officer, unbeaten in four starts, will try to earn his first Grade 1 against a short field that is expected to include Saratoga Special winner Jump Start, allowance winner Heavyweight Champ,

Hopeful third-place finisher Thunder Days, and recent maiden winner Saarland.

Heavyweight Champ earned his trip to the Champagne with an 8 1/2-length victory in a seven-furlong allowance race on Sept. 19.

Heavyweight Champ, a Maryland-bred son of Two Punch, is not nominated to the Breeders' Cup and would have to be supplemented for a fee of $90,000, which trainer John Terranova said "we'd have to talk about" with owner Keith Jones.

"I'm just going one race at a time with him and see how we do in a route," said Terranova.

Trainer Bob Baffert reiterated this week that he is sending Officer to New York for the Champagne because "it's a Grade 1 race. We think he deserves to run in a Grade 1." Officer is expected to ship to Belmont on Tuesday.

With Officer coming East, Came Home will stay home and run in Sunday's Grade 2 Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita. Came Home is 3 for 3, including a victory in the Grade 1 Hopeful at Saratoga. The Norfolk, run at a mile, will be Came Home's first start around two turns.

"I think he's going to be fine," trainer Paco Gonzalez said. "I've been working this horse long, and he's finished his works strong. He looks like he could go long. I don't think this horse has any problems going two turns for a mile."

Came Home figures to be a short price in a field that is expected to include the Godolphin entry of Essence of Dubai and Ibn Al Hathim, Roman Dancer, Metatron, Historic Speech, and Trademark.

In an effort to avoid Officer and Came Home, California-based juveniles Kamsack and Siph`onic are headed to Kentucky for next Saturday's Lane's End Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland. Also expected to run in the Futurity are Ecstatic, an undefeated stablemate of Officer, and Harlan's Holiday, the winner of the Cradle Stakes at Thistledown on Sept 3.

Harlan's Holiday is one of two horses trainer Ken McPeek hopes to run in the Juvenile. The other is Repent, a son of Louis Quatorze who won last Saturday's Kentucky Cup Juvenile by 1 1/2 lengths. After running three times

in a month, Repent will simply train up to the Juvenile, McPeek said.

Godolphin figures to have the favorite for Saturday's Arlington-Washington Futurity with Dubai Squire, a winner of his last two starts.