Friday
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BC Juvenile Turf
Mutasaabeq Outadore Abarta Gretzky the Great Fire At Will Sealiway

(Mutasaabeq / Coady Photography)

The G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf is one of the most intriguing, challenging and interesting races in the two days of Championships. For many of the youngsters — who may go on to greater accomplishments in the future — it is truly the first chance at the big stage and the initial opportunity to strut their turf hooves at a route of ground, as well.

It brings together some of the best from Europe.

It brings together some of the best from around the States.

It brings together some of the best and it tosses them into the fray to allow the horses to test both themselves and others and answer the ultimate question of just whom is the best. At least for one day. At the least for this one day.

Here’s our look and analysis:

  1. Mutasaabeq (Into Mischief — Downside Scenario, by Scat Daddy): I have absolutely no clue how you pronounce his name. I have to look at it several times just to be able to spell it. But I can tell you one thing. You might want to get use to hearing it. You may hear it a lot in the days and years to come. Lovingly. All one has to do to be impressed by this magnificent-looking 2YO colt is watch the replay of the G2 Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 4. Just cue up the video. Sit back. And, watch. You shall see that this one is lingering around in last of the 11/16-mile event for much of the race. You shall see that rider Luis Saez did not seem to be either too worried or too much in a hurry, either. And, you shall see one of the most powerful and impressive runs of the year. By any horse. Of any age. At any time. The son of the magnificent Into Mischief circle the field and went 8-wide at the top of the stretch. And, he must have found a piece of magical ground in doing so. The carpet ride to the finish was exhilarating, as he consumed the 10 others and ran off to a 21/4-length victory by wire time. I had a text message earlier in the day that gave me the heads up about this one. It instructed me that I could bet with both hands. My friend and the text were both correct. The colt’s conversion to the grass for trainer Todd Pletcher was simply magnificent. This colt sold for $425,000 as a weanling at the 2018 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale. Shadwell Farm purchased the colt at that time off the Taylor Made Sales Agency. It may turn out to be one of the best bargains of the sale. So far, the son of the world’s hottest sire has 2 wins and a third in the first three career starts and is a G2 Stakes winner. Has already earned nearly $190,000. The first dam was a modest winner of one race, breaking the maiden at the Fair Grounds in MSW company. Second dam was even less impressive on the track, winning just once in 7 career starts. But this guy looks like he may just bring some notoriety to the family. Well on his way.
  2. Outadore (Outwork — Adore You, by Tactical Cat): This guy was not birthed until May 14, 2018. But the late foal is certainly making up for lost time. So far, in just two starts, Outadore has posted two wins. The first came at Saratoga in July, when he whipped 7 others in a MSW event conducted at 5.5 furlongs. Drew off to win that one by nearly 3 lengths for trainer Sir Wesley Ward. Came right back to impress again in the 6.5-furlong KY Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint. After dropping off the pace a bit, the colt came with another big kick to rip away to a near 2-length win — finishing up the hill in pure style and grace. Beat both Fauci and Cowan in that one. Outadore has already passed through the Keeneland Sales ring twice. Sold as a weanling for $140,000. Came back nearly a year later to sell for $290,000 at the 2019 KEE September Yearling Sale. Now, he has already earned over $334,000 in just two starts. The sire ran only 5 times in the career, but the son of Uncle Mo won 3 of them and was second in another. The only time he was off the board was when he ran 14th in the 2016 Kentucky Derby — a race won by Nyquist that year. Outadore is his leading earning so far, but Outwork is off to a good start as one of the youngest on the roster at WinStar Farm in Versailles. The first dam won 8 of 47 starts and was Stakes-placed.
  3. Abarta (Into Mischief — Dame Marie, by Smart Strike): This colt catapults into high consideration for this Breeders’ Cup event by virtue of his fast-closing and high-velocity 2nd to the top pick Mutasaabeq in the G2 Bourbon Stakes. Abarta was next-to-last at about the same time as Mutasaabeq was last. They moved in a tandem. At least for a little while. Got beat by nearly 3, but that may be as close as anyone gets to the top pick in the Breeders’ Cup, too. Broke the maiden at first asking at Ellis Park on Aug. 28. Covered the 11/16-miles on the grass to get up by a nose over Tamanrassett. Went wide in the closing rally to do that, too. But this one is trained by Brad Cox, one of the hottest trainers alive today. Cost $200,000 at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale and now finds himself one big win away from a huge payoff. First dam of this one was Graded Stakes-placed and won 4 of 18. In her last start of the career, ran 2nd in the G2 Churchill Downs Turf Mile Stakes in 2014. Winner that day? Coffee Clique. Dame Marie whipped the likes of Centre Court in that one. Nice.
  4. Gretzky the Great (Nyquist — Pearl Turn, by Bernardini): Some times, the horses that come out of Canada don’t get the respect that they deserve. Some times, they get lost in the shuffle and the cards are stacked against them. Some times, we all make mistakes. Gretsky the Great is named after one of the greatest in hockey history — Wayne Gretzky. It will be hard as heck to live up to that name and reputation. But this 2YO son of Nyquist is trying to do just that. In 4 career starts to date — all at Woodbine — the May foal has 3 wins and a second. In his last start, Gretzky the Great won the G1 Summer Stakes by a commanding and demonstrative 31/4 lengths. Ticket. Stamped. Now, we will see how he fares against some of the world’s finest. The first dam started the career in Ireland. Finished the career as a multiple Stakes-placed winner of 3 races. This Ontario-bred cost $295,000 to purchase at the 2019 Fast-Tipton October Yearling Sale. Has already won back $252,000 in purses. More to come. I bet.
  5. Fire At Will (Declaration of War — Flirt, by Kitten’s Joy): This late April foal is coming into the Breeders’ Cup off two impressive Stakes wins in a row. The first came at Saratoga in the With Anticipation Stakes, and the latter was in the G2 Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont. The Saratoga win came over a sloppy track and against just three rivals. Beat the heavy favorite, but left a lot of questions to be answered. Some of those got answered in the Pilgrim, which was contested at 11/16-miles over a Belmont Park inner turf. Set the pace that day. Set the standard, too, galloping away to a 2-length. Beat the heavily favored Public Sector in that one, and really did it for fun. The young sire has already proven to be a pretty good daddy. His 3YO son Silver Prospector won a Graded Stakes over the dirt at Churchill Downs as a 2YO and just recently came back to win again in Louisville. Contender. Maybe.
  6. Sealiway (Galiway — Kensea, by Kendargent): This French-bred is a February foal and has a couple of months age experience on some of the main contenders. Comes into this one with a lot of experience on the track, too. Has already run 6 times and has 4 wins, a second and a third on the resume. Won a Group 1 at Longchamp in the last outing and certainly has the pedigree to be a tough out in this spot. If the grass is a bit more boggy than usual, this one is a must use for me.

How Do We Play It:

I’m all in on our top pick. Anything close to that last outing here? He lights them up again. But anytime you play a closer, you do so when some fear and trepidation. Must get a clean run. Must avoid traffic. Must not get trapped in and behind. Must. Must. Must. Still, I play Mutasaabeq to win/place/show and then key him over/under the “all button.” I will also key over the others listed above. The intriguing horses to me are Gretzky the Great and Sealiway. They both should be long prices, and they both may have a shot at hitting the board. I may team up Mutasaabeq with both of them, too.