11/06/2009 12:00AM

Interactif must overcome difficult post

Barbara D. Livingston
Interactif, winner of the With Anticipation and Bourbon stakes, will start from post 11 in Saturday's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.

ARCADIA, Calif. - All was going well for Interactif leading up to Saturday's $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, until Tuesday's post position draw when he was saddled with post 11.

"It would have been my 11th choice, but it is what it is," Todd Pletcher, the trainer of Interactif, said.

Post position notwithstanding, Pletcher is extremely excited about running Interactif in the Juvenile Turf, which is the second race of the card Saturday but the first of eight Breeders' Cup races. The race drew an overflow field of 14, but will run with 12.

After making his first two starts on dirt, Interactif was tried in a workout on the Saratoga training turf course in mid-August. Pletcher was so impressed with what he saw, that he entered him in the Grade 3 With Anticipation Stakes, a race he won by 4 1/4 lengths at odds of 15-1. Five weeks later, he won the Grade 3 Bourbon at Keeneland, rallying from next-to-last over yielding turf.

"I think he's an exceptional colt on the grass," said Pletcher, who will give a leg up to Kent Desormeaux. "I thought his two wins have been dominant. Most of the time, you don't see dominating performances on the grass, it kind of brings them closer together. He's pretty much separated himself from the ones he's faced in Kentucky and in New York."

Pletcher doesn't feel the post will be too much of a hindrance, because Interactif has shown versatility in his two turf wins.

"He can be close, he can be back, he's handy enough that he should be able to find himself a real good spot going to the first turn," Pletcher said.

While Interactif may be the best North American horse in the field, he will be facing five European-based colts in Pounced, Viscount Nelson, King Ledley, Awesome Act, and Buzzword.

Pounced, a Kentucky-bred son of Rahy, hails from the barn of John Gosden, who won this race last year with Donativum. Gosden said Pounced and Donativum are "similar-type" horses, though Donativum had two more races under his belt. Pounced won a seven-furlong maiden race at Newbury from a stalking position. In his most recent start, the Group 1 Prix-Luc Lagardere, he finished second after setting the pace.

"He's happy on or off of it," Gosden said. "I would have thought with the speed of horses from the gate here in America, he'll be off the pace like the horse that won last year."

Frankie Dettori, who rode Donativum to victory, is aboard Pounced from post 4.

Viscount Nelson, trained by Aidan O'Brien, made his first three starts on soft or yielding ground, winning twice. But O'Brien believes the horse prefers firm ground, noting how well he ran when he finished second in the Group 2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster.

"Very happy with the mile and very happy with the [firm] surface," O'Brien said. "I think that's what he wants. We were always worried about soft ground."

Bridgetown enters the Juvenile Turf coming off a maiden win at Saratoga and the Grade 3 Summer Stakes at Woodbine on Sept. 19. Trainer Ken McPeek doesn't mind the seven weeks between races for this colt as Bridgetown's maiden win at Saratoga came seven weeks after he finished second in his debut. Robert Landry rides from post 7.

Owner Ken Ramsey had three entered in the Juvenile Turf, but on Friday morning he and trainer Mike Maker , allowing Dean's Kitten to draw into the race from the also-eligible list.

Becky's Kitten, trained by Wesley Ward, is the third Ramsey entrant. After winning a maiden race at Saratoga, Becky's Kitten finished a late-running second to Bridgetown in the Summer Stakes. He has worked very well twice over the Santa Anita turf.



:: MORE: Visit the