Watch the 2019 Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita live on Sky Sports Racing (Sky 415 | Virgin 535) on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd November.
By Peter Fornatale
As with the distaff equivalent, a few races stand out as important trials for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. The best trial of recent times appears to be the American Pharoah Stakes, which was previously known as the FrontRunner Stakes. Run at Santa Anita over the Juvenile course and distance, it will be no surprise if this race one more has a huge bearing on the outcome of this year's Juvenile.
This year's winner looks like he ticks all of the boxes. Not only is Eight Rings trained by Bob Baffert, the winning-most trainer in the history of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, but he also won the American Pharoah in style, scoring by eight lengths.
The son of Empire Maker set a fast tempo from the outset, possibly going a shade quickly at some points, but rolled on relentlessly and had his rivals strung out all across California. The 87 Beyer he recorded there is not his fastest, but it was good to see him back on track having lost his jockey on his second start. He has shown that a strongly run race holds no terrors and couldn't be in better hands.
American Theorem finished runner-up there having given game chase and should step forward again given that he was only having his second start in the American Pharoah. He will do well to overturn the form, however, as will Shoplifted and Storm The Court, who finished even further behind.
Also exciting is Dennis' Moment, who is unbeaten in completed starts having lost his jockey on debut. He humiliated an overmatched field on his maiden at lowly Ellis Park, running a huge 97 Beyer in the process, and took the hefty rise in grade in his stride in the Grade 3 Iroqouis. Dennis' Moment made relentless headway on the back stretch to challenge three wide and quickly asserted at the top of the lane, gearing down late with matters well in hand. He looked a serious horse there and has looked fantastic in the mornings as well.
Runner-up in the Iroqouis, Scabbard is getting better with every run and will not be found out for stamina. He is the type who could run into a place at big odds and is worth keeping in mind for underneath in vertical exotic wagers like the trifecta and superfecta.
The Del Mar Futurity stands out as a strong trial for the Juvenile, but this year's winner Nucky isn't entered having blown out badly behind Eight Rings in the American Pharoah. Futurity runner-up Wrecking Crew looks likely to take his chance, however, and had performed well enough the last twice running on off strong paces. He hasn't done enough to suggest he can win a race like the Juvenile, however, and will need more.
VERDICT: I believe that DENNIS’ MOMENT has the right combination of speed and stamina to excel in this race.