The weather looks perfect as the 37th Breeders’ Cup gets underway on Friday at Keeneland with five races making up Future Stars Friday.
The juveniles will take center stage, and we will find the early betting favorites for next spring’s Kentucky Derby (G1) and Kentucky Oaks (G1) and we will get an early indication on how the Europeans will fare in this year’s two-day championship event.
The $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) kicks things off on Future Stars Friday, the sixth race on Keeneland’s 10 race card that starts with five stakes races.
Trainer Wesley Ward, who won this race last year with Four Wheel Drive sends out four runners including the 8-5 morning line favorite Golden Pal. The colt was beaten a neck in the Norfolk Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot and returned to the U.S. and won the Skidmore at Saratoga on Aug. 21.
Euros Strong in Juvenile Turf
The Europeans have won 9 of the 13 editions of the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) and are well represented this year with eight runners in the 14-horse field.
Among the major players that are Euro invaders include the Aiden O’Brien trained Battleground (6-1) who won the Vintage Stakes (G2) at Goodwood in July in his last start. O’Brien has won the Juvenile Turf a record four times.
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The Todd Pletcher trained Mutassabeq is the 5-1 morning line favorite. The colt won the Bourbon (G2) over the Keeneland turf in his last outing, which was his first career trip on grass.
A live longshot is The Lir Jet (20-1), a Euro invader who will be going a route of ground for the first time in his career. He won the Norfolk Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot back in June.
The $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) drew the smallest field at seven but it features three G1 winners including Princess Noor (9-5) from the Bob Baffert barn. Baffert has won this race twice, with Silverbulletday in 1998 and Indian Blessing in 2007.
The undefeated Simply Ravishing (5-2) won the Alcibiades (G1) over the Keeneland main track in her last start and Frizette (G1) winner Dayoutoftheoffice is perfect in her three starts.
Home Team Dominates Juvenile Fillies Turf
The $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) has been dominated by the U.S. based runners, taking 10 of the 12 editions. Trainer Chad Brown has won this race a record five times and sends out Editor At Large (12-1) who drew the 14 post and appears to be a live longshot.
The Brad Cox trained Aunt Pearl is the 3-1 morning line favorite. The filly won the Jessamine (G2) over the Keeneland turf in her last outing on Oct. 7.
Christophe Clement will saddle Miss Grillo (G2) winner Plum Ali (4-1). The Miss Grillo has produced five winners of the Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Jackie’s Warrior Wins Champagne
All eyes will be on Jackie’s Warrior (7-5) in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). The Steve Asmussen trainee is undefeated in four career starts and is the early betting favorite for the 2021 Kentucky Derby at BUSR.
The colt comes into this year’s race off back to back G1 wins, taking the Hopeful at seven furlongs and the Champagne at a one turn mile. He is giving every indication two turns will not pose a problem but he figures to be a short price.
The Chad Brown trained Reinvestment Risk (9-2) could not keep up with the favorite in his last two starts but attempts to turn the tables. Brown won the Juvenile in 2017 with Good Magic.
The NBC Sports Network covers the action on Friday from 2:00 to 6:00 ET.