Updated on 09/17/2011 6:37PM

Tough-luck Buckram Oak back with two more good ones


A month before the 2003 Breeders' Cup Juvenile, few owners held a stronger hand than Mahmoud Fustok's Buckram Oak Farm, which had Hopeful winner Eurosilver and Lane's End Breeders' Futurity winner Silver Wagon.

Unfortunately, Silver Wagon got sick and Eurosilver bucked his shins, and Buckram Oak had to sit out the Juvenile.

This year, Buckram Oak is back with a pair of promising babies who will try to earn the right to compete in the $1.5 million Juvenile, to be run on Oct. 30 at Lone Star Park. Diamond Isle, who finished second in the Cradle Stakes last time out, will run in the $500,000 Breeders' Futurity, while Silver Train, a sharp maiden winner late in the Saratoga meet, will point for the $500,000 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park. Both races will be run on Oct. 9.

Diamond Isle, trained by Ken McPeek, is a son of 1992 BC Juvenile winner Gilded Time. After winning his maiden in his second start, Diamond Isle ran in the Cradle off a nine-week layoff. He finished 2 3/4 lengths behind Bellamy Road and a neck ahead of Scipion.

"He really wasn't expected to be 100 percent for the race,'' McPeek said. "We wanted to bring him back and see improvement from race to race with the third one hopefully being the best one.''

McPeek said Pat Day would replace Brice Blanc for the Breeders' Futurity, a race in which Diamond Isle will meet Bellamy Road and Scipion again as well as Flamenco, the third-place finisher from the Hopeful.

Silver Train, a son of Old Trieste, finished second in his debut at Calder and dead-heated for second despite a bad trip in a maiden race at Saratoga on Aug. 7. Three weeks later, on Travers Day, Silver Train won a 6 1/2-furlong maiden race by seven lengths.

Trainer George Mikhalides believes racing experience and added distance have helped Silver Train improve.

"He's a big colt. He needed a few races to improve,'' Mikhalides said. "He's got the quality to run in these races.''

The Champagne looks to be the toughest Juvenile prep around. It will feature East Coast leader Afleet Alex, Proud Accolade, Park Avenue Ball, Sun King, All Trumps, Fusaichi Rock Star, and possibly Galloping Grocer and Wallstreet Scandal.

Mohammed Moubarak, the racing manager for Buckram Oak, said if Diamond Isle or Silver Train prove worthy of a Breeders' Cup start, one or both would run.

"If there are three horses that would be favored over them, maybe you give it a shot,'' Moubarak said. "If there are seven horses ahead of them, why go through all of that? The Breeders' Cup is the end of the season, it's not the end of their racing careers.''

The marquee race in the division this weekend is Sunday's $250,000 Norfolk at Santa Anita, where Roman Ruler figures to be a standout favorite against Boston Glory and Littlebitofzip. Roman Ruler, who comes off a narrow loss to Declan's Moon in the Del Mar Futurity, will add blinkers to his equipment.

Juvenile Contenders
2-year-old colts & geldings, 1 1/16 miles. Purse: $1.5 million.

1Roman RulerB. Baffert9-5
Necked in Dmr Futurity at 1-9, but experience helps; blinkers on next
2Afleet AlexT. Ritchey6-1
His Hopeful win seemed to raise more questions than it answered
3Bellamy RoadM. Dickinson10-1
The first two-turn stakes winner on this list, and is in excellent hands
4Proud AccoladeT. Pletcher5-1
Romped in his first two; stakes next, and that will tell the story
5FlamencoT. Pletcher12-1
Showed at Saratoga that he has a lot of try in him; a 9% supplement
6Patriot ActN. Howard20-1
Narrowly beaten in a maiden race that was stronger than some stakes
7Park Avenue BallJ. Ryerson15-1
Clearly best in the Futurity, but against the clock, that race was soft
8Three Hour NapH. Robertson20-1
Gutsy win in Arlington-Washington Futurity made him 3 for 3
9Diamond IsleK. McPeek30-1
Chased Bellamy Road home in the Cradle; must really raise his game
10ScipionP. Biancone20-1
I believe he is terribly overrated, but he does have a license to improve

- The top 10 contenders for each of the eight Breeders' Cup races are ranked by Mike Watchmaker, who set the odds and wrote the comments. Actual Breeders' Cup fields will have up to 14 starters.