12/03/2014 1:10PM

Road to the Derby analysis: Breeders' Cup Juvenile

Barbara D. Livingston
Texas Red, who received a 104 Beyer Speed Figure for his win in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, appears well-suited to the longer distances he will face as a 3-year-old.

Grade 1, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, 1 1/16 miles, Santa Anita, Nov. 1, 2014

 (10 Derby qualifying points for a win, 4 for second, 2 for third, 1 for fourth)

 Winner: Texas Red

 Trainer: Keith Desormeaux

 Jockey: Kent Desormeaux

 Owner: Erich Brehm, Wayne Detmar, Lee Michaels, Keith Desormeaux, et al

 Beyer Speed Figure: 104

 This race lost much of its appeal when the acknowledged favorite, American Pharoah, had to be withdrawn earlier in week. Then, the morning of the race, Calculator came out, thus removing the first two finishers from the Del Mar Futurity and FrontRunner Stakes.

 After the scratches, a field of 11 remained, and TEXAS RED -- third behind American Pharoah and Calculator in the FrontRunner -- took advantage of their absences, plus a wickedly fast pace that set up his stretch run, to win the richest race of the year for 2-year-olds.

:: ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays

 The pace of the race was insane, with an opening quarter in 22.37 seconds, a half in 45.66, and six furlongs in 1:10.17. It had rained overnight into the morning of the races, and the track was drying out. When the longshot Take Charge Brandi won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies earlier in the day, there was sentiment that the track was speed biased, and that had to impact the way this race unfolded, with several riders seemingly trying to make the top at all costs. The beneficiary was Texas Red.

 Texas Red dropped back to last, well behind the scalding pace, knifed between the tiring Daredevil and rallying Carpe Diem on the far turn, and then came five lanes wide into the lane, hit the front soon after straightening away in the stretch, and kicked clear.

 The race shape certainly flattered Texas Red’s style, but he has shown steady improvement since being sent around two turns. The distances he will be asked to run at age 3 should not pose a problem.

 CARPE DIEM was wide on the first turn and was forced to go extremely wide on the far turn when rallying, but still left enough room for Texas Red to whoosh past him from the inside. Carpe Diem was fanned six paths wide into the lane, then re-engaged after straightening away in the stretch and rallied for second. It was his first loss, and he was clearly second best, but he ran like a horse who will benefit from experience.

 UPSTART, who finished third, broke a bit awkwardly from the outside post, was able to drop in to the three or four path around the first turn, made a big move to go after the leaders while four paths wide on the far turn, and just did get touched out late for the place in an encouraging performance.

THE GREAT WAR, trying dirt for the first time, was covered up just behind the leaders who were setting the fast pace, had to wait in traffic at the quarter pole, ducked to the inside for the stretch run, then remained on his left lead and could not quicken with the first three finishers while finishing fourth.

 MR Z, who was fifth, raced three paths wide on both turns while pressing the hot pace and just did get nosed out for fourth by The Great War. He finished the best of the horses who had the first three spots midway through the race.

 ONE LUCKY DANE, who was sixth, was fanned five paths wide in the scrum on the first turn, eased out of that jam soon after turning into the backstretch but remained wide, followed Upstart around the far turn and into the lane, but lacked any rally.

 SOUPER COLOSSAL bobbled a bit leaving the gate but was quick to his feet and set after the lead, volleyed for the lead for six furlongs, but the fractions took their toll and he faded to seventh.

LUCKY PLAYER, who was eighth, really should have made a much bigger impact considering the race shape. He was back with Carpe Diem and Texas Red early but never got involved.

PRIVATE PROSPECT, who was ninth, sat on the rail just behind the leaders and could not keep up once the field reached the far turn.

 BLUE DANCER, who was on top through the torrid opening quarter and half, understandably weakened and finished 10th.

 DAREDEVIL, who finished 11th and last, was caught six paths wide on the first turn and five paths wide on the far turn while pressing the hot pace, then stopped. He’s a difficult horse to evaluate. He did not have an easy time of it here, but this was his first race on a dry track and first start around two turns, so there’s the possibility the Champagne winner may prefer one-turn races and/or an off track.