Trainer Aidan O'Brien and the Coolmore contingent of Michael Tabor, Susan Magnier, and Derrick Smith have won the last two runnings of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT). Not taking a rest, they're poised for a three-peat in the Nov. 1 renewal with a pair of youngsters from Ballydoyle in Ireland.
Two years ago, Wrote rallied from seventh to win the one-mile Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs under Ryan Moore at 11-1. Last year at Santa Anita Park, Moore piloted 9-1 shot George Vancouver to a 1 1/4-length victory over Noble Tune.
For this year's Juvenile Turf, O'Brien has a formidable pair in Giovanni Boldini (7-2 on the morning line; post 2) and Wilshire Boulevard (8-1; post 9). Both have group I experience under their belt.
"Both of them like fast ground and we think both of them should get a mile," O'Brien said Oct. 30 at Santa Anita. "They are coming out of solid races and they both haven't had busy campaigns. They are both good travelers and are very similar. They are two straightforward horses."
Giovanni Boldini may have the better form. After breaking his maiden on a synthetic surface at Dundalk, he ran third to the good Toormore in the Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes (Ire-I) Sept. 15 at the Curragh. He then won a listed stakes at seven furlongs back on synthetic Oct. 11 at Dundalk. Moore will have the call in the Juvenile Turf.
A son of the red-hot War Front , Giovani Boldini is the fourth foal out of the Old Trieste mare Dancing Trieste. Bred in West Virginia by Charles Woodson Jr., Giovanni Boldini was a $675,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale yearling last summer.
War Front is the fifth-leading sire on the general sire list with 18 stakes winners and more than $8.7 in progeny earnings. He ranks second on the 2-year-old sire list and has four stakes winners headed by War Command, winner of the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes (Eng-I) and Royal Ascot's Coventry Stakes (Eng-II). War Front is also the sire of fellow Juvenile Turf runner Bashart, Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) hopeful Diamond Bachelor, and Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) contenderDeclaration of War .
Dancing Trieste is out of a full sister to La Galerie (by Southern Halo), who was a champion 2-year-old filly in Argentina.
Wilshire Boulevard has made seven starts, the last three in group company. He won the six-furlong Jebel Ali Racecourse's Anglesey Stakes (Ire-III), ran second in the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes (Ire-II,) and was fourth at Longchamp in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (Fr-I).
By Coolmore stallion Holy Roman Emperor, Wilshire Boulevard is out of Tyranny, a daughter of Machiavellian (Mr. Prospector). Wilshire Boulevard is a half brother to Zoffany, an Irish highweight at 3 and winner of the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes (Ire-I). A son of Dansili, Zoffany ran ninth in the 2011 Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT).
O'Brien wouldn't tip his hat as to which one he favored.
"The fast ground should help them both," he said. "Giovanni should have no problem and Wilshire Boulevard has run on softish ground and should handle this better."
Take your pick.