10/16/2006 11:00PM

Five look live for BC Juvenile


NEW YORK - Scat Daddy, whose speed powered him to a victory in the Sanford Stakes, showed a new dimension in rallying from off the pace to win the Champagne Stakes and further muddled the picture for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

Scat Daddy is the biggest money earner from Johannesburg's first crop, and it helped extend Johannesburg's tenuous lead over Officer for top freshman sire honors. One of the most impressive juvenile champions in recent years when he was undefeated in seven starts and won Group or Grade 1 stakes in four countries (England, France, Ireland, and the U.S.), Johannesburg was an authoritative winner of the 2001 Breeders' Cup Juvenile and was a champion in four countries.

Scat Daddy is out of the Mr. Prospector mare Love Style, and his second dam, Likeable Style (Nijinsky II), won the Las Virgenes, Santa Ysabel, and Senorita BC stakes as well as the Honeymoon Handicap.

His ability to finish at one mile bodes well for his chances in the BC Juvenile, but he must contend with his stablemate, Circular Quay, who thrashed him in the Hopeful Stakes. Previously undefeated, Circular Quay finished a closing second as the heavy favorite behind Great Hunter in the Breeders' Futurity on Oct. 7, but since he is a son of Thunder Gulch who has shown a devastating late kick, that race may have been a perfect prep for the bigger prize at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4.

It is too soon to categorize Circular Quay as merely a closing sprinter. The Polytrack surface at Keeneland has produced some stunning results, and I expect a big race from Circular Quay in the BC Juvenile over natural dirt.

Nobiz Like Shobiz, who ran a game second to the more experienced Scat Daddy in the Champagne, also should move forward with that race under his belt. Winner of his only start at a mile, Nobiz Like Shobiz was giving away plenty of seasoning to Scat Daddy, and he should turn the tables on that rival if they meet again in the Juvenile. A magnificent physical specimen, Nobiz Like Shobiz has tactical speed but should benefit from what might well be a fast early pace in the two-turn Juvenile. Far and away the best runner sired to date by the multiple stakes winner Albert the Great, Nobiz Like Shobiz could become the new poster child for the Rasmussen Factor (RF), since he is inbred 5x4 to the superior female Swoon's Tune, through her daughters Song Sparrow (Tudor Minstrel) and Lilt (Herbager). Last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner and 2-year-old champion, Stevie Wonderboy, is also an RF, as he is inbred 3x3 to Weekend Surprise, through her sons A.P. Indy and Summer Squall.

Great Hunter is from the second crop of Aptitude, who was one of A.P. Indy's best offspring. Aptitude blossomed for Bobby Frankel in the spring of 2000. He won a maiden race on Jan. 1 at Santa Anita, was second off a three-month layoff in the Gotham, and then ran third in the Wood Memorial. He was a strong second to Fusaichi Pegasus in the Kentucky Derby, but was a disappointment in the Belmont Stakes, finishing an uninspired second to the longshot Commendable.

Aptitude's first crop of 3-year-olds includes Steppenwolfer, who was third in the Kentucky Derby after runner-up finishes in both the Arkansas Derby and Southwest Stakes. Aptitude is also the sire of the grass stakes winner Outperformance, who won the Hill Prince Stakes and ran second last weekend behind the exceptional Showing Up in the Jamaica Breeders' Cup Handicap.

Great Hunter was second in the Del Mar Futurity, Best Pal, and Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes - and his performance in the Breeders' Futurity was not unexpected as he was bred to relish the two-turn, 1 1/16-mile distance. Of course, he may also be one of many horses who benefit from the Polytrack surface. His dam, Zenith (Roy), was a stakes winner who won 4 of 24 starts. His Brookmeade Stables female line traces to the stakes winner and producer Wise Nurse.

Principle Secret still best out West

The West Coast juvenile colts appear to be an ordinary group this year. Stormello (Stormy Atlantic), who is better bred for turf, upset Principle Secret by a neck in the Norfolk Breeders' Cup, but he may have been aided by Principle Secret's two-month layoff. Leading almost every step of the way, Principle Secret was game in defeat, just yielding to Stormello in the final yards. While he should benefit from that effort, Principle Secret will not win the BC Juvenile leading wire to wire.

There will be plenty of speed in the Juvenile, and once again it should play to the 2-year-olds who have shown an ability to close and who have pedigrees to prosper at distances beyond a mile. The big disappointment in the Norfolk was Horse Greeley, the Del Mar Futurity winner, who was slammed at the start and never got into the race. He came out of the race with a sore ankle and will miss the BC Juvenile.

With the BC Juvenile just a little over two weeks away, it figures to come down to Circular Quay, Nobiz Like Shobiz, Great Hunter, Principle Secret, and Scat Daddy.

Showing Up belongs in BC Mile

Showing Up is not just a good 3-year-old turf stakes winner - he is something special. And he deserves to showcase his talent in the BC Mile. Aside from a game third-place effort against older runners at a distance that was beyond his best in the Man o' War Stakes, he is undefeated on turf this year, and the one-mile distance suits him perfectly. With attention in the Mile focused on Aragorn, Gorella (if she opts for this race and not the Filly and Mare Turf), and George Washington (if he opts for this race and not the Classic), Showing Up could be overlooked in the wagering despite his stellar record.