Based on his impressive victories in the grade III With Anticipation and Bourbon Stakes, Wertheimer and Frere’s Interactif was installed as the deserving 4-1 morning-line favorite in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IIT) on Nov. 7.
With his versatility and powerful turn of foot, Interactif, a homebred son of Broken Vow
trained by Todd Pletcher, certainly looms large in the one-mile contest. But anything can happen amongst inexperienced 2-year-olds and there are several starters that look intriguing—some of them that could be big prices on the tote board.
Many of the logical upset possibilities are European invaders, most notably John Gosden trainee Pounced
, who as the 9-2 second choice on the morning line won’t be among the big prices but is sure capable of winning. Pounced finished runner-up by a half-length in the group I Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere Oct. 4 at Longchamp in only his third start and will have top rider Frankie Dettori in the irons.
“I had (the Breeders’ Cup) in the back of my mind when he broke his maiden then he went to Longchamp and ran a huge race there,” Gosden said. “This was the logical place to come.
and the Aidan O’Brien-trained Viscount Nelson
, both 6-1 on the morning-line, each have stakes wins in Europe and have drawn high praise this week, especially Viscount Nelson. The son of Giant's Causeway
has not been off the board in four starts, including a solid runner-up effort in the DFS Champagne Stakes (Eng-II) Sept. 12 in his first try over a firmer type of turf course that he will likely experience at Santa Anita.
A couple of intriguing European horses who will be longer prices are King Ledley
and Awesome Act
. King Ledley, owned by Silverton Hill and trained by Darrin Miller, has not won since breaking his maiden in his debut in March, but has hit the board in five of seven starts since then, four of them in group stakes company.
Awesome Act might be one of the longest shots in the Juvenile Turf with only a maiden win to show from five starts and a poor ninth-place finish in the Dewhurst Stakes (Eng-I) Oct. 9 at Newmarket, but the Awesome Again
colt’s blood came back poor after that race which helps explain the effort. Trainer Jeremy Noseda expects Awesome Act to run much better on Nov. 6.
Other than Interactif, the top American-based horse is thought to be Melnyk Racing’s Bridgetown
, winner of Woodbine’s Summer Stakes (Can-IIIT) Sept. 19 in just his third start. A son of Speightstown
, Bridgetown has plenty of speed, but trainer Ken McPeek said he has been taught to race patiently.
“He’s very fast, so we’ve been trying to get him to rate behind horses,” said McPeek. “Of all mine, he’s probably the trickiest. He’s never been around turns, so this will be a new experience for him. But, there are some others in there that haven’t been two turns either.”
Also of interest are a pair of colts racing for leading owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, both of them by first-year sire Kitten's Joy
, who was runner-up in the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT). Becky's Kitten
, runner-up in that Summer Stakes, and Kera's Kitten
, undefeated in two starts, will break right next to each other (from post 10 and 9, respectively) in the one-mile event. Becky’s Kitten should be coming from off the pace, while Kera’s Kitten will be closer to the front.
In conclusion, Interactif seems like the most logical choice in the Juvenile Turf, but don't be surprised if there is an upset.