(Amanzi Yimpilo / Coady Photography)

(Second of July / Photo Courtesy of NYRA)

Race 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
BC Juvenile Turf Sprint
Golden Pal Second of July After Five Bodenheimer Amanzi Yimpilo Dirty Dangle

The 2020 Breeders’ Cup, which will be hosted for the second time by historic and beautiful Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, will kick start this Friday at approximately 2:30 p.m. ET with the G2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint. The race will be contested at 5.5 furlongs over the plush green, green grass of home, and, at this time of year, should be a tad on the “giving” side of things. What with the cooler and wetter weather that Fall brings to this area of the country, the sod has a tendency to be a bit soft. This will play to the Europeans that have decided to ship West for the occasion. And, in our handicapping efforts, we make a note to give a slight nod to those horses that have some experience over this type of grass course.

Here’s a look at our analysis:

  1. Golden Pal (Uncle Mo — Lady Shipman, by Midshipman): This February foal has a couple of months age on our second pick, and at this stage of the race career, that can make the difference and mean a lot. Plus, this one comes from a more upper crust pedigree, as well. The sire, Uncle Mo, is generally considered one of the best in the sport today. This year, Uncle Mo is the current leader in siring the leading number of Graded Stakes winners. He has 13, while Into Mischief is second with 11. Some of his best runners, to date, are Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist (who is off to a great freshman stallion season, in his own right), Unbridled Mo, Bast, Outwork, Laoban and many others. The dam, Lady Shipman, was no slouch on the racetrack, either. She was a Graded Stakes winner and compiled a record of 13 wins, 2 seconds and 2 thirds in 21 starts. She finished the racing career with over $900,000 in purse earnings. Interesting note: Lady Shipman ran 2nd in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (this same race) right here at Keeneland.  Golden Pal was offered for sale at the 2018 KEE September Yearling Sale by the Taylor Made Sales Agency. He did not bring the reserve price and was not sold for the final hammer price of $325,000. In three starts so far, Golden Pal has a win and 2 seconds and has earned over $73,000. The colt broke his maiden in the Skidmore Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 21. Led from start to finish that day and beat a well-respected runner-up in Fauci. Has not raced since then, but is trained by one of the gurus of the 2YO sector — Sir Wesley Ward.
  2. Second of July (Jack Milton — Wichita, by Curlin): This chap is already a gelding and is trained by Phillip Gleaves, who just so happens to be a former assistant of the late, great trainer Woody Stephens. This barn does not meet the definition of “mega-trainer” and the number of entires that it has at this level is relatively small. At the same time, it makes you want to root for the connections , too. The sire was an outstanding turf specialist in his own right, and experienced some great success over the Keeneland grass course, too. As a 3YO, Jack Milton won the G3 Transylvania Stakes here. As a 5YO, Jack Milton returned to win the G1 Maker’s Mark Mile over the Keeneland sod, too. This 2YO gelding is the best runner for the young stallion, who is a son of the highly successful War Front. Second of July is out of the dam Wichita, who was unraced but is by the highly respect broodmare sire Curlin. Wichita was sold at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2012 for $100,000. The second dam, Lady Dynasty, was a multiple Stakes-placed winner and earned over $140,000 in the career. Second of July broke the maiden in the career debut, pulling away late for a 3/4-length victory. He went off at odds of 68.25-to-1 that day. Came back to win the G3 Futurity at Belmont Park on Oct. 11, going 6 furlongs over the firm grass course. Came from off the pace to win by 1/2-length. Went off at odds of 15.50-to-1 in that one. Beat the Post Time favorite, After Five, who was closing from far off the pace that day, as well.
  3. After Five (The Factor — Idle Talk): This gray colt is another from the barn of Sir Wesley Ward, who reached in to purchase him at the Ocala Breeder’s Sale in March for $165,000. Just the October before — five months — this one sold for a rather modest $17,000. Nice pin hook. In just two starts to date, this one is still a maiden. He ran 2nd on debut at Kentucky Downs in mid-September. After breaking out at the start and losing a tremendous amount of ground, jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. was able to get him straightened out and headed forward. Closed to lose by a stinking nose to Trade Deal, another pupil of Wesley Ward. Came back to run 2nd to the Second of July in the Futurity last time out. Closed from well back in that one, too, having brushed the gate at the start and dropping to last at one point. Has run farther in both of those than the 5.5 furlongs that will be contested in the Breeders’ Cup. So, will need to be a bit sharper at the start. But this one may have the best closing kick of any in the race, too. The sire is another son of War Front and a classy individual who earned over $922,000 in just 13 career starts. The dam, Idle Talk, was Graded Stakes-placed and won over $312,000. Won 12 of 43 career starts.
  4. Bodenheimer (Atta Boy Roy — Beautiful Daniele): Has a Washington-bred ever won a Breeders’ Cup race? Interesting question. But the answer is no. This colt would be the first. Started the career at the little Canterbury Park in Minnesota. After winning that one, he moved out to Prairie Meadows. That is in Iowa. After a win there, he was travelled to Kentucky and a run at Kentucky Downs. Didn’t handle the hills and dales of that track, but Bodenheimer did return to his winning ways in the Indian Summer Stakes over the Keeneland sod on Oct. 4. He defeated 5 others that day, including Cowan, who is back to challenge him for more in this upcoming event. Interesting sort, to be sure. But will be battling a lot of good ones and history in this Breeders’ Cup Championship. Will take a lot of good fortune and luck to beat both.
  5. Amanzi Yimpilo (No Nay Never — Honourably): This is an Irish-bred filly, who will be called upon to defeat the boys in this Breeders’ Cup event. That is nothing new for her, though. She is coming off an impressive and stylish victory over the colts in the Speakeasy Stakes at Santa Anita on Sept. 26. Stalked the leaders and then put away her competition in that 5.5-furlong event — despite being bumped repeatedly on both sides. This gal is game as they can be and a bit salty, as well. Connections spent $300,000 to purchase her at the 2018 KEE September Yearling Sale, and she now has two wins and a third in the first 3 career starts. Another from the barn of Sir Wesley Ward, who often crosses the pond with his 2YO contingency to race at Royal Ascot. This one did not make the trip, though, and it is interesting why he picked this one to contest the boys, when he had a multitude of other fillies that could have done the same. But? This young sire is off to an amazing career in Ireland. The son of Scat Daddy has already produced the likes of Nay Lady Nay, Never Have I Ever, Vitalogy, and others. Amanzi is tough enough to stand her own here. We shall find out if she is good enough.
  6. Dirty Dangle (Not This Time — Chambray): This is another filly, who is both accomplished at the racetrack and appears to have been acquired privately after the last race — which was a win in the Woodbine Cares Stakes in Canada on Sept. 19. Was owned by Charles DeMizio and the trainer’s wife, Mary E. Biamonte, at that time. Now, the filly is under the tutelage of trainer Mark Casse and will tote the silks of new owners Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber. This one was originally sold for $8,000 at the 2018 KEE September Yearling Sale. Sold at the OBS-March In-Training Sale for a modest increase of $25,000. Now, she is a perfect 2-for-2 and could be headed to the Breeders’ Cup. Last workout, on Oct. 29 at Woodbine, was spot on. She won the last outing  by 11/4 lengths after trailing throughout. She broke the maiden by beating the even-money favorite from the barn of Casse. Looks to be an over-achiever, but could make a true name for herself soon. One to watch.

How Do We Play It?

We bet the top two across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. We will key the Top Two over/under the “all button.”