There is no doubt who the 5,000-pound gorilla is in the juvenile division 45 days out from the Breeders' Cup. Officer is perfect in four starts, including wins by six, eight, and seven lengths in his first three races. In his most recent effort, the Sept. 5 Del Mar Futurity (gr. II), Officer won, as geared down as he could possibly be, by 1 1/2 lengths.
Came Home left home to get away from Officer, and seems the clear-cut second choice in the division right now. The East Coast-based juveniles have yet to sort themselves out, but we will find out a lot more over the next three weeks.
Belmont Park reopened Sept. 19 in the wake of the destruction of the World Trade Center. The $200,000 Futurity Stakes (gr. I) scheduled for last weekend was cancelled. The one-mile contest would not have seen the present heavy-hitters of the division, who are either waiting for the $500,000 Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at 8 1/2 furlongs Oct. 6, or the Sept. 29 $250,000 Norfolk Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita over a mile.
Officer, the Bob Baffert trainee, will likely ship east for the Champagne, where he will meet, among others, Jump Start, the Saratoga Special (gr. II) winner. The A.P. Indy colt is trained by D. Wayne Lukas.
Came Home, who journeyed from his California camp to annex the Hopeful (gr. I) at Saratoga Sept. 1 over seven furlongs, is likely to stay in the Golden State until the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, according to his co-owner John Toffan. "We're leaning toward the Norfolk," Toffan said. "It gives us an extra week before the Juvenile. We already went east and won. Let the other guys do that now and we'll meet in the Breeders' Cup.
Kentucky Cup Day at Turfway Park Sept. 22 will see the running of the grade III $100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile Stakes at 8 1/2 furlongs. Arlington Park hosts the grade II Arlington-Washington Futurity Sept. 29, a $150,000 race over one mile.