Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:01 AM

At the Gate - Friday

The Breeders’ Cup is finally here, and as I write this late Wednesday night the forecast calls for rain right up until about 5:00 on Thursday.

The main track at Churchill Downs tends to dry out quickly, but likely will still have plenty of moisture in it for Friday’s card. The turf course figures to be yielding to soft and we have three Breeders’ Cup races on Friday on the grass.

All the juvenile races have been moved to Friday this year, and things kicks off with the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, the newest addition to the championship event.

As expected the race drew an overflowing field and looks like a complete crapshoot. Trainer Wesley Ward is considered the best trainer in the U.S. with turf sprinters and he will send out four of the 12 runners in the field.

The $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) is next up and it drew a full field of 14 that will go one mile. Trainer Chad Brown has saddled the winners of three of the last four editions of the race.

Brown sends out Newspaperofrecord, who won the Miss Grillo (G2) by 6 ½ lengths and figures to be a solid betting favorite. The betting favorites have only won this race once in 10 runnings and the U.S. holds an 8-2 edge over the Euro invaders.

The $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) drew 10 led by Bellafina, the 2-1 morning line favorite. She drew the 10 post and is coming off a smart win in the Chandelier (G1) at Santa Anita in her last outing.

The $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) drew a field of 14, and while the filly’s version of this race has been dominated by the home team, in this race the Euro invaders hold a 7-4 edge.

With boggy conditions likely, that might swing things even farther in the direction of the Euros. There are five in the field with the main contender being Anthony Van Dyck.

He is trained by Aiden O’Brien, who has won this race four times, but the colt is going to have to overcome breaking from the 14 post.

The $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) is the marquee event on Friday and drew a field of 14. The Bob Baffert trained Game Winner and the Chad Brown trained Complexity are the main two contenders. The winner will emerge as the early betting favorite for the Kentucky Derby (G1) next spring.

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Here is the opener from Churchill Downs to get the day off to a good start:

CD Race 1 OClm $80,000N3X (12:55 ET)

2 Sweet Legacy 7-2

1 Mo's M V P 7-2

4 Dutch Parrot 3-1

5 Entrall 5-2

Analysis: Sweet Legacy was outrun early and made a mild late bid to finish fifth in the Pink Ribbons at Charles Town going two turn seven furlongs over the tight turns. It was the third straight race this mare has been beaten double digit lengths, two back on turf and three back here checking in fifth behind repeat winner Champagne Problems. That foe won the Groupie Doll, then ran second in the Locust Grove (G3) and the Spinster (G1). Four back at this condition our top pick was a good second at the spring Keeneland meeting. She has some speed and there is not much early pace signed up to go here and she is bred to handle a wet track which she might catch today.

Mo's M V P should also be forwardly placed with the rail draw. The filly came in and was bumped coming out of the gate, tracked the early pace and weakened to finish third at Keeneland in his last effort. She beat Alw-2 optional claimers two back on the fake stuff at Arlington Park in a race taken off the turf. The filly passed her first allowance condition in the slop at Keeneland last fall and has a strong off track pedigree. She gets a jock upgrade here to Lanerie and her best puts her in the mix in this spot.

WIN: #2 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 1,2 / 1,2,4
TRI: no play

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Churchill Downs:

CD Race 9 The BC Juvenile G1 (6:05 ET)

8 Standard Deviation 12-1

6 Complexity 5-2

11 Code of Honor 5-1

9 Game Winner 8-5

Analysis: Standard Deviation is Chad Brown's second runner in here and is going to be a decent price. The colt was a smart looking maiden winner in his debut at seven furlongs over a wet track in a race taken off the turf. He came back in the Breeders' Futurity where Knicks Go was sable to set moderate early fractions and take the field gate to wire at 70-1. Our top pick was outrun early while four wide, was fanned out seven wide making a good rally and flattened out late, checking in third while beaten 6 1/4 lengths. He will appreciate the longer stretch here. He comes back with blinkers added, the barn 31% winners (with a +ROI) when adding the hood for the first time. The colt was a $450,000 Keeneland purchase and will appreciate it if the track is still wet. He is by Curlin out of a A.P. Indy mare that has dropped three other winners. Brown won this race last year with Good Magic and has a good shot of winning back to back. The Breeders' Futurity has produced two of the last five Juvenile winners here at Churchill Downs.

Complexity is the other Brown runner and likely second choice. He took the field gate to wire to break his maiden in his debut at the Spa going six furlongs. he came back to wire the field in the Champagne (G1) by three lengths last out at a one turn mile. The Champagne has produced nine winners of this race including two that were run here, Uncle Mo in '10 the most recent. This guy was a $375,000 Keeneland purchase, out of a Yes It's True mare that has dropped three other winners including stakes winner Valadorna ($669,920). He owns solid early and mid pace numbers but with Ortiz up I expect to see him tracking the early pace, which could be brisk. Horse on or near the led have performed well in this race over the last decade.

Code of Honor stumbled coming out of the gate in the Champagne and made a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot, beaten three lengths while three clear of the rest of the field He broke his maiden in gate to wire fashion going six furlongs two back at the Spa for the Shug barn that usually does not have them fully cranked first time out. The cot has made a good impression here this week. He is by Noble Vision out of the stakes winner Reunited ($326,771) who has dropped six other foals to race, all winners, top earner Big League ($216,680). The colt should get a good pace set up and reunites with Johnny V. who was aboard for his debut win. Shug won this race in 1989 with Rhythm.

WIN: #8 to win at 8-1 or better.
EX: 6,8 / 6,8,9,11
TRI: 6,8 / 6,8,9,11 / 5,6,8,9,11,12

Good luck today!

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