11/02/2006 1:00AM

Juvenile analysis



Despite being stopped twice in the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity (into the far turn, again at the quarter pole), GREAT HUNTER drew off convincingly. Proven at a route, able to overcome adversity, and facing distance-challenged foes, he is the most probable winner on the card. Great Hunter outran STORMELLO twice previously. Stormello validated his Del Mar form when he won the Grade 2 Norfolk with a career-best figure while three wide in his first route. Stormello is improving, though he benefited from the Santa Anita speed bias last out. His post 2 is perhaps not bad, because speedster PEGASUS WIND will gun and spread out the field. KING OF THE ROXY is not bred to route, but he is a good, fast horse who will finish. Graded-stakes-placed TEUFLESBERG is the knockout. He ran fast in summer, and is cycling back to his best off a maiden win last out.


SCAT DADDY was seventh early and wore down the speed to win the Champagne. He will find plenty of pace to flatter his move today, and can kick past the tiring leaders to take it all. I give PRINCIPLE SECRET a strong pace rating for his second-place finish in the Norfolk. If he can rate more kindly today, he will be formidable. KING OF THE ROXY pressed a sprint pace that was slow early then fast late when he outkicked his opponents in the Futurity. Continued improvement will make him a contender. STORMELLO was helped by the fast pace when he won the Norfolk. GREAT HUNTER rallied from off the pace to win the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland, and deserves respect. STREET SENSE made a premature move, then was outkicked late at Keeneland. A well-timed ride would make him a factor in the exotics.


SCAT DADDY showed brilliance winning first out, then went to school at Saratoga, where he won the Sanford with an impressive last-second surge and returned closing day in the Hopeful to be a brutal-trip second to stablemate CIRCULAR QUAY, who took advantage of a blistering pace battle and a perfect setup. Judging from his breakthrough performance running midpack early and overtaking a slow pace in the Champagne, he has learned his lessons well. GREAT HUNTER ran second in sprints to three different rivals after being acquired and brought to California, then finally broke through when stretched out to win the Breeders' Futurity despite being stopped in the midst of a rally on far turn; never taken a backward step on figures. PRINCIPLE SECRET set a strong pace and held determinedly vs. STORMELLO first time going two turns off eight-week layoff; primed.


PRINCIPLE SECRET ran big when narrowly beaten in the Norfolk, his first loss. He set a fast pace, and was only caught late in what was his first start in two months. There is other speed here for him to deal with, but I don't believe he must be on the front end to win going long. STORMELLO was the one who caught the pick in the Norfolk. His victory was a surprise, but it was still a solid effort as he was wide every step of the way. GREAT HUNTER flattered the Southern California 2-year-olds when, after finishing second in three straight stakes there, he won the Breeders' Futurity. The question is, how much of that win was attributable to Keeneland's Polytrack? CIRCULAR QUAY was flat at 2-5 when second to Great Hunter most recently. Maybe it was Polytrack, or it could be he's best as a closing sprinter.