Start of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup Photo)
On a Breeders’ Cup day when outsiders ruled the roost, it was perhaps no surprise that a maiden won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and the shortest-priced favorite of the day couldn’t get up.
Bolt D’Oro was a 7-10 favorite for the Juvenile, and was expected to show enough that he might ensure he was the favorite for the first Kentucky Derby Future Wager at the end of November.
He might still be favorite after his third-place finish, which came after he raced very wide on both turns thanks to his wide barrier gate, and yet still made up more ground than any other runner – an impressive run in the circumstances. But it will not be such a certainty after his defeat at Del Mar.
It proved to be Good Magic’s day, and in some style. He got out of gate six well, was able to slot in behind pace-setting U S Navy Flag, and sprinted away in the stretch for an impressive 4 ¼-length victory. Solomini, who sat outside U S Navy Flag in the running, held second by a length and made it an exacta for their sire Curlin.
Though he hadn’t won a race, Good Magic was well-respected at 11-1 after finishing second in his maiden behind fellow Juvenile contestant Hazit, and then running second to Firenze Fire in the Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park.
Bred by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, Good Magic attracted attention well before he hit the track. He was a $1 million yearling purchase at the Keeneland September yearling sale for E5 Racing, which races him along with Stonestreet.
Good Magic has two of the principals from the 2007 Kentucky Derby close-up in his pedigree. He is by Curlin, the third-place finisher in the Derby who subsequently won the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the Dubai World Cup at 1 ¼ miles. His progeny include 2016 Derby runner-up Exaggerator and Travers Stakes winner Keen Ice, who both clearly stayed 1 ¼ miles.
Good Magic’s dam, the stakes-winning mare Glinda the Good, is by Hard Spun, who finished ahead of Curlin when second to Street Sense in the 2007 Derby, and subsequently finished second to Curlin in the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic. His progeny include Hard Aces, whose best performances were past 1 ¼ miles, top filly Hard Not to Like, and Travers Stakes runner-up Wicked Strong. Again, it suggests stamina should not be a problem.
Solomini should also have some potential to stay 1 ¼ miles – he is out of an unraced daughter of Fleet Lady, winner of the 1 1⁄8-mile La Canada Stakes. She is also the dam of 2008 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Midshipman, who was prevented from taking his place in the Derby through injury.
It’s hard to get excited about those that finished behind Bolt d’Oro, as he was more than eight lengths ahead of the rest of the field. However, Del Mar doesn’t seem to be a track that all dirt horses like, so don’t rule out some of them bouncing back into Derby contention next year.
Without a doubt the favorite to win the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile is Bolt d’Oro, the undefeated colt who has stormed through the 2017 Del Mar Futurity and FrontRunner Stakes without worry. It’s been getting easier to grade this race from a handicapping standpoint over the last few years, especially since the last two favorites won convincingly.
However, Bolt d’Oro has plenty of worthy challengers.
The largest threat is Free Drop Billy, the standalone 5⁄1 second choice in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. This son of Union Rags has a noted grace to his step, that allows him to reach speeds that nobody else seems capable of touching. He ran clear in the 2017 Breeders’ Futurity after narrowly placing second in the Hopeful and Sanford. Free Drop Billy is the kind of horse that has required discipline, but seems untouchable at this kind of distance. There will be many backers here.
Both Firenze Fire and Solomini slide in as third choices with 6⁄1 odds. The better bet between the two is Firenze Fire. At 3-0-0 in four starts, this two-year-old won the 2017 Champagn and the 2017 Sanford. His fourth place finish in the Hopeful is totally understandable, given that the top-four finishers all finished within a length of each other.
Solomini is a nice competitor all around but hasn’t shown the ability to close out a race. There is too much experience in the Juvenile to warrant a play here.
Speaking of experience, it’s time we touched on U S Navy Flag, a War Front colt who won the 2017 Dewhurst Stakes to go an astonishing 4-1-2 out of 10 starts this season. He’s picked up three consecutive wins now, which also include the 2017 Round Tower Stakes and the Middle Park Stakes as well. Since he has flown under the radar for most of the season, despite competing so much, U S Navy Flag is a dark horse but even the oddsmakers are showing the experienced juvenile respect at 8⁄1.
Also in play is Good Magic, who also comes in at 8⁄1. Placing second to Hazit in a maiden special weight and second again to Firenze Fire in the 2017 Champagne have cooled expectations on this well regarded colt overall.
The longshots rounding out the field are Givemeaminit, The Tabulator, Bahamian, Hazit, Golden Dragon and Hollywood Star. As his 15⁄1 odds would suggest, Hollywood Star is the most favorable bet of those horses.
It’s been rare that the Breedser’ Cup Juvenile has been this competitive. Free Drop Billy has the makings of a true star if he can reign in his devilish personality, but Bolt d’Oro is as strong of a bet as they come. Expect the race to come between these two, with Firenze Fire showing his trademark fight down the stretch to come third.
|6||Good Magic 11-1||$25.00||$9.40||$5.60|
|11||Bolt d'Oro 3-5||$2.60|