Talented Alpha Can Outrun Odds in Juvenile

The Bernardini colt finished second to Union Rags in the Champagne Stakes.

Godolphin Racing’s Alpha  may be 15-1 on the morning line for the $2 million Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I), but his connections believe he can outrun those odds if he moves forward from his last start in the Oct. 8 Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park.

Alpha, a Bernardini  colt bred by Darley, won his debut impressively at Saratoga Sept. 3, and was the 2-1 second choice behind Union Rags  in the Champagne. Alpha didn’t have the best of starts in the Champagne but rallied from last to finish second, 5 1/4 lengths behind Union Rags.

Chadds Ford Stable’s Union Rags, by Dixie Union, is three-for-three thus far and the 2-1 morning-line choice for the Nov. 5 Juvenile at 1 1/16 miles. Like Alpha he will make his first start around two turns.

“He didn’t break well, and having him that far back was something we obviously didn’t want to happen,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said of Alpha’s race in the Champagne. “I hope he breaks better and is a lot closer. I really think he’ll improve off the Champagne.

“I’m hoping he’ll improve a good seven lengths.”

Alpha arrived from Belmont by van Nov. 1 and was expected on the Churchill track Nov. 2. He drew post 9 in the Juvenile, just inside of Union Rags and figures to be well-placed just off the speed.

One Juvenile entrant with two-turn experience is Jacks or Better Farm’s Fort Loudon, who won the 1 1/16-mile Florida Stallion Stakes at Calder Casino & Race Course Oct. 15. The Awesome Of Course colt drew post 12, which is fine with trainer Stanley Gold.

“I’d rather be outside than in and not have to worry about getting crunched down on the inside,” Gold said. “And he has tactical speed, so he should have no problem getting out and finding his spot early.”

Fort Loudon, who worked at Calder Oct. 26 and is galloping up to the Juvenile, swept the Florida Stallion Stakes. All seven of his starts have come at Calder, but last year Gold won the Grey Goose Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) with Awesome Feather, who followed a similar path.

“He has been getting smarter and stronger as he matures, and he will let the rider tell him what to do,” Gold said. “Don’t get me wrong, he’s still a little immature; he’s still out there playing around some. But he looks the part and acts the part, and I’m excited to give him a chance against the best.”

Luis Jurado, who has ridden Fort Loudon in his last three races, has the call at 20-1.