This year the Breeders’ Cup makes a format change which will showcase two-year-old races on Friday with the Sentient Jet Juvenile replacing the Distaff as the featured race on the first day of the two-day World Championships.
Billed as “Future Stars Friday”, there will be five juvenile Breeders’ Cup races on Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs — the first time the home of the Kentucky Derby will have hosted the event since 2011.
Where there were previously four juvenile races — the Juvenile, the Juvenile Turf, the Juvenile Fillies, and the Juvenile Fillies Turf — this year, there is a turf sprint for two-year-olds with the addition of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint. The race is open to all sexes and will be contested at five and a half furlongs on the Churchill turf course.
While the official order of races will be made public roughly a week before the event, the inaugural Juvenile Turf Sprint appears to be slated as the first Breeders’ Cup race on the Friday card, with a post time of approximately 3:21 p.m. ET.
Four horses have earned a spot in the starting gate by virtue of winning races designated as “Win And You’re In” as part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series. Its Gonna Hurt, Shang Shang Shang, Strike Silver and Uncle Benny will be entered into the race if their connections wish to take part in the $1,000,000 non-graded stakes event.
The following are possible contenders for the Juvenile Turf Sprint, their sires, damsires, trainers, jockeys, records, and notes about how they have fared on various turf conditions:
None of the contenders have ever run a race over the Churchill Downs turf course. Only two horses have even run in Louisville — Backtohisroots, on the main track in his debut on June 28 where he finished second in a five-furlong sprint for $50,000 maiden claimers, and Strike Silver, who won a $51,000 maiden special weight five-furlong sprint on the dirt on June 14.
The turf course has relatively sharp turns, so outside posts could be at a disadvantage. There is a very good chance that the turf course isn’t firm the first weekend of November, so it is important to note how well each horse does on less-than-ideal grass footing.
There is also a chance that we may see some horses cross-entered in this race and others.
The following are some videos of the major contenders, including the winners of the WAYI races:
SHANG SHANG SHANG
ITS GONNA HURT
SIGNORA CABELLA (IRE)
Ryan Dickey is a full-time firefighter in Dearborn, MI, and a life-long horse racing fan. He is a handicapper and contributor to prominent horse racing Websites as well as a freelance sportswriter/photojournalist. He covers local high school sports and community events for multiple outlets, including bi-weekly newspapers and has over 200 works published to date.
Having lived in Las Vegas for six years and working in the sports gaming industry, Ryan knows sports handicapping from “both sides of the counter.” Feel free to contact him on Twitter (@rdickey249) for questions, comments, criticisms, or critiques.