Can Anyone Usurp The Godfather in BC Juvenile Turf?

The 15th Running of the G1 BC Juvenile Turf

November 5, 2021 18:35

DMR Race #12 $1,000.000 1-Mile Turf

2YOs 122 Lbs

Track Record-1:32.22 (Bound For Victory-2012)

Stakes Record-1:33.10 (Exultant-2014)

The G1 BC Juvenile Turf will be held for the 15th time (2nd at DMR) on Friday.  The $1,000.000 1-mile grass event has drawn a championship-level field of 14 of the best juvenile runners in all of HRP and all will carry 122 lbs.  The powerful barn of Mb Stables qualified the maximum number of runners for one stable and is well represented with his three entries.  Other BC-winning trainers Aer Stables, Nakamura Stables, D J C Racing Stables, and Smokey Stover have all entered a runner and you know they aren’t here to just be here.  The seven trainers hoping to win their first BC race should be emboldened by this race’s history as there are several “small barns” in the list of previous winners.  Barcelona Farms (2009, 2011, 2015) has been especially tough in this event and has three wins to their credit, but they do not have a runner in this year’s field.  On the other hand, R.J. Albarado will be looking to score his fourth victory in this event and he is booked to ride Search Engine for Hippyheart.

This year’s field is a nice mix of confirmed turf runners as well as those who found success in their only turf start.  Half of the field enters off of a win, five horses are coming of either a second or third-place finish, and two will return after off-the-board finishes in their latest.  Here’s a look at each horse (and one man’s opinion on their chances) in the 2021 edition of the G1 BC Juvenile Turf at DMR:

 1   Keenness (El Primero Rodeo/P. Morales): $51.000 purchase in July has two impressive wins in two turf starts for the new conditioner.  Scored an emphatic 5-length victory over DMR MSW foes in debut for the new barn before punching his ticket for this event in the G2 Bourbon.  The KEE win is even more impressive when you consider he started in stall 11 and was never less than 3-4 wide the entire trip.  Retains the jock from his latest effort and looks to be well-meant for this.

 2   Polish Power (Mb Stables/C.J. Hernandez): First of three in here for this outfit enters off of two near misses against stakes company.  Lone win came against state-bred MSW foes at GP in his first start on grass, but he’s less than two lengths away from being undefeated on the lawn.  Still, he has to make up ground on the three who’ve finished in front of him in his last two and deal with some high-quality individuals he has yet to face.  He’s capable, but feel others may offer a bit more.  

 3   Mr Insurrection (Aer Stables/D. Saenz): Visited the vet after two races and has won both starts since the ultimate equipment change.  The maiden-breaker came in the slop at the Spa before taking his first spin on grass in the $100.000 Armed Forces.  The win in that race got him into this field, but he shouldn’t get the soft ground like he did in that one.  Trainer has a penchant for showing-up on these big days; however, the BC is a tough place to be asked to do something for the first time.  Reserve the right to change course if the track is off, but siding with others right now.

 4   Winery Refinery (Woogaloo/M.J. Sanchez): Our third horse returning after the G2 Bourbon, this guy did not fare as well as the boys occupying the first two stalls.  Prior to that effort, he did take the $100.000 OT Juvenile Turf with a run from off of the pace.  Work tab doesn’t reveal much recently; however, he was working 1:10.21 all the way back in July and one can assume he is better than his latest effort.  If that race is indeed a throwout, this guy may be good enough to bring home a hefty check, but understand if anyone chooses to look elsewhere.

 5   Deactivation (Mb Stables/T. Gaffalione): Winner on debut back in April at TUP, but only beat two horses at BTP in the $75.000 Hoover in his second start.  Aer Stables signed the deed over to the new barn after a $225.000 offer and he was sent long on the grass.  Just missed after leading throughout in OT Juvenile Turf and then changed tactics and came home a winner in the $200.000 Zuma Beach Stakes.  He retains the jock’s services from that race and looks to have plenty of options for how he decides to tackle this assignment.  

 6   Distinctive Edge (Nakamura Stables/V.R. Carrasco): We have found the pace-setter…at least on paper.  Broke his maiden on the front-end at FP before making his first start in $500.000 Nownownow at MTH.  Trainer didn’t try to fix what wasn’t broken and he wired that group as well.  Horses with speed and the ability to carry that speed a distance of ground are a very hot commodity in the land of HRP.  Gets a positive jock switch as the trainer calls his main man into service and looks a legitimate threat to take them the whole way.

 7   The Tonight Show (Rock Creek/S.X. Bridgmohan): First two efforts were good enough to bring a $185.000 purchase price and was sent to a G1 engagement for his first start for the current barn.  Just missed-out on the photo, but he could definitely show improvement off of that first try over a distance of ground.  He was fast enough to be close to the pace going 5f in a stake, so this is another guy that appears to have options for this task.  The G1 Summer winner will break from post 12 in here, so this mid-gate draw should help his cause with that rival. 

 8   Yang Gang (D J C Racing Stables/J.A. Vargas Jr): The first of two in here with multiple graded tries under his belt, he found it hard to make up ground at WO, but ran a bang-up second at KEE.  This fella broke his maiden in the $120.000 Skidmore going 5.5f, so he could have gone in the juvie turf sprint if he wanted.  Jockey with the call for this has been aboard for this gelding’s two best efforts and the fact that he chose this are both positive signs.  Can’t talk anyone out of backing him, but this post makes forecasting a winning trip extremely difficult.  Going to pass on him this time.

 9   High Time (Oquinn Farm/J.R. Velazquez): Horse has been photographed more than anyone else in the field and is one of only two in here that has claimed two stakes victories.  Four-time winner has gotten it done dirt/turf and dry/wet in his five starts.  Looks to drop back a bit and let the race take shape before making his move so it will be interesting to see how far back he drops and how wide he has to go.  Horses that win…and win…and win are tough to go against; especially so when your trainer is winning at the rate this guy’s is.  Putting him on top.

10  Triple Spirit (Mb Stables/E. Jaramillo): G3 With Anticipation winner went purse-chasing in his latest, but his performance in the $400.000 FLSS-In Reality at GP should not be viewed as a negative here.  The G3 win is his only turf start, but daylight wins in graded races demand respect.  Think he was always going to end up in this race after that effort, but can’t fault trying the state-bred foes in his latest.  If he uses similar tactics to his first turf run, he shouldn’t get caught too far wide; however, the problem with that is he is only going the flat mile here and he will have to run down really good horses.  Tough call.

11  Oh Brother (Rampage Stable/J. Rosario): Really ran well when second to the top choice in his latest.  That was his first start vs winners after a DMR state-bred MSW daylight victory.  Maybe he doesn’t win the G2 Pilgrim, but it would have been nice to see what would have happened if the jock had been more assertive and moved sooner.  By waiting, he allowed the eventual winner to get the jump; if he’s learned his lesson, it isn’t out of the realm that he could turn the tables.  Think he doesn’t embarrass himself on Friday.

12  The Godfather (Smokey Stover/Mario Gutierrez): One of the likely favorites, he looked like a good thing winning the G1 Summer in what was his first turf start.  Showed enough promise on dirt that trainer put him in a G2 off of a maiden win almost four months prior.  With the track configuration at DMR, he may not have to blast out of the gate in order to grab some prime real estate closer to the rail; however, being drawn out this wide still presents a puzzle that the trainer has to solve.  Maybe he is aptly named and he’s just the boss of all bosses, but taking a stand against him.

13  Search Engine (Hippyheart/R.J. Albarado): Retains the services of the only jockey to bag three of these prizes and should not be in the picture long after the break.  He’s been six-lengths back at first call of every race in his four-start career, but he’s also made his run in all four efforts.  Have no doubt that he will be making up ground as they come down the lane, but not sure how many of these he will be able to run down.  You know he’s going to encounter some traffic, but maybe he completes the SH 5?

14  Twenty Twenty (Threshold/F. Pennington): Trainer made a comment in the forums that he was happy with the draw, but he was just being cheeky.  This is a serious racehorse with three wins in four starts and he is the leading earner in the field by a fair amount.  Comes west after two big-money wins at KD and WO where he came from different positions at first call.  Usually it’s either drop or push when parked this wide, but, if he can somehow work out a trip, he can do some damage.  Post positions still matter and he will have to be more than much the best to take the top prize.  If he is good enough to earn a check from this post against this field, then his trainer should be licking his chops for later engagements.

Final Analysis: Mb Stables has a very strong hand.  Any of his three entrants could win this.  Smokey Stover has the probable (deserved) favorite.  Multiple trainers with BC wins to their credit are well-represented.  All that being said, give me the horse that only knows how to win.  They’ll cross the wire 9-1-6 in the 2021 G1 BC Juvenile Turf at DMR.  Good luck to everyone involved and let’s enjoy Championship Weekend!


Categories: BC 2021-2022, Grade I, Races, STAKES ARTICLES, THE BREEDERS CUP

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