J. B.'s Thunder earned his way into the Breeders' Cup Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) (VIDEO) with a front-running romp in the $400,000 Dixiana Breeders' Futurity (gr. I) at Keeneland Oct. 9.
Sent off at 5-1, J. B.'s Thunder widened his advantage on the final turn of the 1 1/16-mile test for 2-year-olds and cruised to a four-length victory for jockey Shaun Bridgmohan.
Al Stall Jr. trains the winning son of Thunder Gulch --Rebridled Dreams, by Unbridled's Song, for owner Columbine Stable. J. B.'s Thunder is unbeaten in two starts, having broken his maiden on the Saratoga turf at 1 1/16 miles Aug. 21.
"I had a feeling he’d leave on his toes today. He had been so sharp," Stall said. "He had a chance to school around here and get comfortable. Obviously he did, and Shaun just took it to ‘em."
In spite of his easy win, Stall said running in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs "is very much 50-50 at best.
“We’ll probably go to Fair Grounds and point for the Delta (Downs) Jackpot (gr. III) or the Lecomte (gr. III)."
The Jackpot is Nov. 20 at Delta Downs while the Lecomte is Jan. 22 at Fair Grounds.
Favored Major Gain recovered from a hard bump at the half-mile pole to launch a bid before fading to fifth.
J. B.'s Thunder took the lead soon after the start for Bridgmohan, setting the pace from off the rail over Brickyard Fast, Silver Medallion and Typhoon Slew early. J. B.'s Thunder maintained at least a length's advantage over Typhoon Slew, who moved into second on the outside for Julien Leparoux with Major Gain and Rough Sailing also in striking position. The splits -- :24.19, :48.,64 and 1:13.40 -- were ordinary and J. B.'s Thunder inched away rounding the turn to take a commanding lead coming into the stretch.
Asked for more in upper stretch, J. B.'s Thunder extended his control to three lengths at the eighth pole and he came home under a steady drive from Bridgmohan.
“He’s a versatile horse, smart head on his shoulder," Bridgmohan said. "It just happened that he inherited the lead, and we just nursed it around there.”
Maiden Santiva, 10th early for Javier Castellano after bearing in at the start and bumping Conservative Value, made a five-wide bid on the final turn and finished up strongly to pip Willcox Inn, ridden along the inside by Garrett Gomez, for second.
Because of the poor break, Castellano said he little choice but to make one run with Santiva. "When I asked him he passed a lot horses at one time and he finished so good today,” he said.
Typhoon Slew was 1 1/4 lengths back in fourth. He was followed by Major Gain, Rough Sailing, Silver Medallion, Maybesomaybenot, Lou Brissie, Conservative Value and Brickyard Fast.
“I don’t have too much excuse with my horse," jockey Junior Alvarado said of the 5-2 choice Major Gain, who won the Arlington-Washington Futurity (gr. III) in his previous start. "He broke real sharp and took up a real nice position all the way. When I started asking he just responded. He went steady all the way, but it wasn’t enough.”
The winning purse of $240,000 pushed J. B.'s Thunder's bankroll to $270,600. The bay colt, a $42,000 Keeneland yearling buy in September 2009, was bred in Kentucky by Coffeepot Stable.
The second choice in the field of 11 at equal weights of 121 pounds, J. B.'s Thunder paid $13.60, $7.20 and $5 and keyed an $80 exacta. Santiva, with two seconds and a third in three lifetime starts for trainer Todd Pletcher, returned $7.80 and $5.20 in his stakes debut. Willcox Inn, who defeated maidens in his only previous start for trainer Michael Stidham, was $5.60 to show.Ã¢â‚¬Â¨