The Road to the Kentucky Derby makes an important stop at Keeneland for Friday's $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1). The 1 1/16-mile race typically crowns the champion 2-year-old male of the year, and because of its significance on the national racing calendar, the Juvenile awards Kentucky Derby qualification points to the top four finishers on a 20-8-4-2 basis.

Camp Hope
Total 1 start(s)
Wins:
1
Place:
0
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(88) when winning his debut at Churchill Downs.
Total Earnings:
$49,092
Owner:
Walking L Thoroughbreds
Breeder:
Bret Jones
Trainer:
Kenny McPeek
Jockey:
Robby Albarado
Sire:
Summer Front
Dam:
Praising
Color:
Bay

Promising Kenny McPeek trainee made a great impression in his debut on Oct. 25 at Churchill Downs, tracking a slow pace before seizing command and powered away to win eased up by four lengths. Camp Hope finished fast, earning an eye-catching 104 Brisnet Late Pace rating, but can he fight for victory while stepping up sharply in class and running back on short rest?

King Fury
Total 3 start(s)
Wins:
2
Place:
0
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(93) when rallying to victory in the Street Sense S.
Total Earnings:
$116,979
Owner:
Three Chimneys Farm and Fern Circle Stable
Breeder:
Heider Family Stables
Trainer:
Kenny McPeek
Jockey:
Brian Hernandez
Sire:
Curlin
Dam:
Taris
Color:
Chestnut

The second Kenny McPeek trainee in the Juvenile field, King Fury is a beautifully-bred son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin out of the Grade 1-winning mare Taris. Sold for $950,000 as a yearling, King Fury overcame a wide trip to win his debut at Churchill Downs, but subsequently faltered to finish eighth in the Breeders' Futurity (G1) over the same track and distance as the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He bounced right back to win the 1 1/16-mile Street Sense S. at Churchill Downs with a gutsy late rally, earning a 106 Brisnet Late Pace rating, but can King Fury bring his A-game while stepping back up the class ladder just 12 days later?

Reinvestment Risk
Total 3 start(s)
Wins:
1
Place:
2
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(96) when winning his debut at Saratoga.
Total Earnings:
$139,600
Owner:
Klaravich Stables
Breeder:
Aschinger Bloodstock Holdings
Trainer:
Chad Brown
Jockey:
Irad Ortiz
Sire:
Upstart
Dam:
Ridingwiththedevil
Color:
Bay

Conditioned by Chad Brown, who won the 2017 Breeders' Cup Juvenile with Good Magic, Reinvestment Risk impressively won his debut at Saratoga before finishing second in the Hopeful (G1) and Champagne (G1). On both occasions, Reinvestment Risk was compromised by pressuring front-running winner Jackie's Warrior in the early going, leaving Reinvestment Risk tired for the homestretch drive. There's considerably more speed entered in the Juvenile, so if someone else engages Jackie's Warrior in a battle for early supremacy, Reinvestment Risk can settle off the pace and produce a stronger rally down the lane.

Likeable
Total 2 start(s)
Wins:
1
Place:
1
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(88) when breaking his maiden at Belmont Park.
Total Earnings:
$49,050
Owner:
Repole Stable, St. Elias Stable, and Stonestreet Stables
Breeder:
Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings
Trainer:
Todd Pletcher
Jockey:
John Velazquez
Sire:
Frosted
Dam:
Dashing Debby
Color:
Bay

After finishing second by a head in his debut sprinting at Saratoga, Likeable stepped up to a mile at Belmont Park and showed significant improvement, leading all the way to win by 8 1/4 lengths. Conditioned by two-time Breeders' Cup Juvenile-winning trainer Todd Pletcher, Likeable is progressing in the right direction and is bred to handle 1 1/16 miles just fine. But he'll need to improve upon the 88 Brisnet Speed rating he posted in his maiden win.

Essential Quality
Total 2 start(s)
Wins:
2
Place:
0
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(92) when prevailing in the Breeders' Futurity (G1).
Total Earnings:
$295,144
Owner:
Godolphin
Breeder:
Godolphin
Trainer:
Brad Cox
Jockey:
Luis Saez
Sire:
Tapit
Dam:
Delightful Quality
Color:
Gray/roan

This undefeated son of Tapit overcame a troubled trip to crush his debut at Churchill Downs by four lengths, showing signs of serious talent. He reiterated his abundant ability in the Breeders' Futurity (G1) over the same track and distance as the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, pressing the pace before pulling away to score by 3 1/4 lengths. Jockey Luis Saez and trainer Brad Cox have been ultra-hot at Keeneland, and Essential Quality has shown versatility in terms of running style, giving him options for working out a clean trip on Friday. He's a logical contender to vie for victory.

Keepmeinmind
Total 2 start(s)
Wins:
0
Place:
2
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(88) when finishing second in the Breeders' Futurity (G1).
Total Earnings:
$95,280
Owner:
Cypress Creek and Arnold Bennewith
Breeder:
Southern Equine Stables
Trainer:
Robertino Diodoro
Jockey:
Jose Ortiz
Sire:
Laoban
Dam:
Inclination
Color:
Bay

Although Keepmeinmind has yet to win a race, he did rally to finish second behind Essential Quality in the Breeders' Futurity (G1), proving his ability to handle the track and distance of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He's training sharply for high-percentage trainer Robertino Diodoro and will add blinkers for the Juvenile, but with a career-best 88 Brisnet Speed rating to his credit, Keepmeinmind will need improvement to challenge for a top-four finish.

Jackie's Warrior
Total 4 start(s)
Wins:
4
Place:
0
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(101) when dominating the Champagne (G1).
Total Earnings:
$402,564
Owner:
J. Kirk and Judy Robison
Breeder:
J & J Stables
Trainer:
Steve Asmussen
Jockey:
Joel Rosario
Sire:
Maclean's Music
Dam:
Unicorn Girl
Color:
Bay

Undefeated in four starts for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, Jackie's Warrior displayed front-running brilliance during the summer and fall, wiring the Saratoga Special (G2), Hopeful (G1), and Champagne (G1) by margins ranging from 2 1/4 lengths to 5 1/2 lengths. His romp in the 1-mile Champagne was particularly impressive, producing a 101 Brisnet Speed rating. Jackie's Warrior has yet to compete in a two-turn race, but if he shakes loose up front in the Juvenile, he'll be tough to run down in the homestretch.

Classier
Total 1 start(s)
Wins:
1
Place:
0
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(91) when dominating his debut at Santa Anita.
Total Earnings:
$33,000
Owner:
SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Golconda Stables, Siena Farm, Robert E. Masterson
Breeder:
Mary A. Sullivan
Trainer:
Bob Baffert
Jockey:
Florent Geroux
Sire:
Empire Maker
Dam:
Class Will Tell
Color:
Bay

Arguably the biggest wildcard in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile field is Classier, who never got out of first gear when dominating a 6 1/2-furlong maiden race at Santa Anita by four lengths. Conditioned by four-time Juvenile-winning trainer Bob Baffert, Classier is a son of Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Empire Maker out of a mare by Preakness (G1) winner Bernardini, so stretching out over 1 1/16 miles shouldn't be an issue. But Classier is stepping up sharply in class while running back just 13 days after his maiden win, two significant obstacles for this $775,000 yearling acquisition to overcome.

Sittin On Go
Total 2 start(s)
Wins:
2
Place:
0
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(90) when rallying to victory in the Iroquois (G3).
Total Earnings:
$145,520
Owner:
Albaugh Family Stables
Breeder:
Wynnstay
Trainer:
Dale Romans
Jockey:
Corey Lanerie
Sire:
Brody's Cause
Dam:
Set'n On Ready
Color:
Chestnut

One of the strongest late runners in the Juvenile field, Sittin On Go unleashed a furious finish to win his debut sprinting at Ellis Park, then proved his effort wasn't a fluke by dominating the 1-mile Iroquois (G3) at Churchill Downs by 2 1/2 lengths. A son of the early-maturing Brody's Cause, who won two Grade 1 races at Keeneland, Sittin On Go isn't quite as fast on paper as some of his rivals, but he looms as a primary threat from off the pace and would benefit from a rapid early tempo.

Dreamer's Disease
Total 4 start(s)
Wins:
2
Place:
0
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(91) when cruising to victory in a Keeneland allowance race.
Total Earnings:
$46,540
Owner:
Laoban
Breeder:
Marketplace
Trainer:
Robertino Diodoro
Jockey:
David Cohen
Sire:
Laoban
Dam:
Marketplace
Color:
Bay

The second of two runners conditioned by hot trainer Robertino Diodoro, Dreamer's Disease has struggled to consistently produce his A-game, but enters the Juvenile off a sharp allowance victory at Keeneland. The son of Laoban led throughout to win the 1-mile event by 4 1/2 lengths over next-out winner Ultimate Badger, an encouraging bit of form. But Dreamer's Disease did benefit from securing an uncontested lead through slow fractions, and he'll surely face more pace pressure on Friday.

Next
Total 3 start(s)
Wins:
2
Place:
0
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(93) when dominating a Keeneland allowance race.
Total Earnings:
$96,894
Owner:
Silverton Hill
Breeder:
Silverton Hill
Trainer:
Wesley Ward
Jockey:
Gerardo Corrales
Sire:
Not This Time
Dam:
Bahia Beach
Color:
Gray/roan

After breaking his maiden second-time out over the Kentucky Downs turf course, Next displayed a clear affinity for the track and distance of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, leading all the way to dominate an allowance race by 11 3/4 lengths. The 93 Brisnet Speed rating her posted fits well in the Juvenile field, and hot jockey Gerardo Corrales (a 25% winner at Keeneland) stays aboard. The big question is whether Next has the class to knock heads with Jackie's Warrior early on and keep going down the homestretch.

Hot Rod Charlie
Total 4 start(s)
Wins:
1
Place:
0
Show:
1
Top Speed Rating:
(84) when battling to victory in a Santa Anita maiden race.
Total Earnings:
$43,700
Owner:
Roadrunner Racing, Boat Racing, and Strauss Bros Racing
Breeder:
Edward A. Cox Jr.
Trainer:
Doug O'Neill
Jockey:
Tyler Gaffalione
Sire:
Oxbow
Dam:
Indian Miss
Color:
Dark bay/brown

Although Hot Rod Charlie finished no better than third in his first three starts, the son of Preakness (G1) winner Oxbow showed improvement in his first run traveling two turns on dirt, battling to a narrow victory in a 1-mile maiden race at Santa Anita. Hot Rod Charlie finished fast after pressing a slow pace, earning a 105 Brisnet Late Pace rating, and runner-up Parnelli pulled 16 1/2 lengths clear of the rest. Hot jockey Tyler Gaffalione takes the mount, but Hot Rod Charlie's career-best 84 Brisnet Speed rating looks a bit slow against this caliber of competition.

Rombauer
Total 3 start(s)
Wins:
1
Place:
1
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(89) when finishing second in the American Pharoah (G1).
Total Earnings:
$90,500
Owner:
John and Diane Fradkin
Breeder:
John and Diane Fradkin
Trainer:
Michael McCarthy
Jockey:
Javier Castellano
Sire:
Twirling Candy
Dam:
Cashmere
Color:
Bay

After showing promise in his first two starts on dirt, Rombauer took a noteworthy step forward in his dirt debut, rallying late to finish second in the American Pharoah (G1) at Santa Anita. The son of Twirling Candy handles 1 1/16 miles just fine and picks up hot jockey Javier Castellano (a 26% winner at Keeneland) for his stiffest test to date. But Rombauer has yet to crack the 90 Brisnet Speed rating plateau, so a spot in the top four might be the ceiling for his potential. 

Calibrate
Total 2 start(s)
Wins:
1
Place:
0
Show:
0
Top Speed Rating:
(87) when dominated his debut at Saratoga.
Total Earnings:
$41,600
Owner:
Winchell Thoroughbreds
Breeder:
Don Alberto Corporation
Trainer:
Steve Asmussen
Jockey:
Ricardo Santana
Sire:
Distorted Humor
Dam:
Glamour and Style
Color:
Bay

A beautifully-bred son of Distorted Humor out of a Dynaformer mare, Calibrate showed promise in his debut at Saratoga, wiring a 6 1/2-furlong maiden sprint by 4 1/2 lengths. He subsequently failed to fire in the Breeders' Futurity (G1), racing off the pace before finishing 13 1/4 lengths behind Essential Quality in sixth place. But Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen is showing confidence running Calibrate right back in the Juvenile, so if you draw a line through Calibrate's no-show in the Breeders' Futurity, the bay colt intrigues as a candidate to outrun expectations.