War Pass capped off his perfect season Jan. 21 with championship honors as the leading 2-year-old male. The son of Cherokee Run, out of Vue (by Mr. Prospector), became a lock for an Eclipse Award after taking the Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) by 4 3/4 lengths. War Pass was bred by Cherry Valley Farm and is owned by Robert LaPenta, who purchased the colt for $180,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling sale under the name of his Whitehorse Stables.
Trained by Nick Zito, War Pass broke his maiden the first time out, taking a $62,000 maiden special weight at Saratoga by 2 3/4 lengths. The colt next won a $75,000 optional claiming race by 5 1/2 lengths also at Saratoga. His first challenge in graded stakes company came in the Champagne Stakes (gr. I), in which he defeated graded stakes winners Majestic Warrior and Ready’s Image. In the 1 1/16-mile Juvenile, jockey Cornelio Velasquez and War Pass grabbed the lead quickly and then rolled easily down the stretch, stopping the timer in 1:42.76. Zito has said War Pass is the fastest juvenile he’s ever trained.