Vindication Heads Ky. Cup Juvenile

(AP)Bob Baffert could have another Point Given.

Baffert will saddle Vindication, a $2.15 million Seattle Slew colt, in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III) at Turfway Park on Saturday.

Two years ago, Baffert used the Juvenile to test Point Given, who went on to become the 2001 Horse of the Year after winning the Preakness, Belmont, Haskell and Travers (all gr. I).

``Bob's pretty high on him,'' said exercise rider Mick Jenner, who represented Baffert at Thursday's draw for post positions. ``He wants him to get some experience for the Breeders' Cup.''

Indeed, Baffert introduced Vindication to reporters at this year's Kentucky Derby by saying, ``Here's next year's model.''

Baffert chose to send Vindication to Turfway rather than the $250,000 Del Mar Futurity on Wednesday, which he won with Icecoldbeeratreds. Baffert horses also ran second, third, fourth and sixth. Of the eight horses in that race, Baffert trains five.

Turfway oddsmaker Mike Battaglia thinks Vindication is better than any of those, and made Vindication the 6-5 favorite in the Juvenile.

``He is definitely one of the top 2-year-olds, and Bob really wants to stretch him out,'' Battaglia said.

The Juvenile, at 1 1-16 miles, is an opportunity to try a two-turn race. The Del Mar Futurity, at 7 furlongs, is around one turn. Vindication drew the No. 4 post in the eight-horse Juvenile and will be ridden by Mike Smith.

The Juvenile has been a key test not only for Point Given but for winners Repent (2001), Boston Harbor (1996) and Editor's Note (1995).

The race is one of three Grade III stakes on the Saturday program headed by the Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II), which Baffert has won three times with Captain Steve (2000), Silver Charm (1998) and Semoran (1997).

Second on the morning line is Private Gold at 9-5. Private Gold, a son of Seeking the Gold, was last seen winning the James C. Ellis Juvenile at Ellis Park on Aug. 17. Prior to that win at seven furlongs, Private Gold broke his maiden second time out going six furlongs at Churchill Downs on July 6. In both events he was a short-priced favorite. Private Gold is trained by Pat Byrne and is owned by Mountain Top Racing and Bob and Beverly Lewis.

Another juvenile that should get some support is Boston Park, who is coming off a third-place effort in the Sapling Stakes (gr. III) at Monmouth Park for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. An Overbrook Farm homebred son of Boston Harbor, Boston Park broke his maiden and won an an allowance race in back-to-back starts in June at Churchill Downs. He finished fifth in the Bashford Manor Stakes (gr. II) prior to his effort in the Sapling. Victor Espinoza will be aboard for the first time and they will break from post 6.

Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III), $100,000, 1 1/16 miles, 2-year-olds, 3:56 p.m. EDT
Post Horse Jockey Odds
1 Winaprize Justin Vitek 30-1
2 Private Gold Pat Day 9-5
3 Captain Amour Rodney Prescott 30-1
4 Vindication Mike Smith 6-5
5 Crowned King Chandra Rennie 20-1
6 Boston Park Victor Espinoza 5-2
7 Rapid Proof Calvin Borel 20-1
8 Tito's Beau Tony D'Amico 30-1