Breeders’ Cup Picks for Friday: Handicapping the 5-Race Juvenile Card at Keeneland

Day 1 of the 2022 Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland is intriguing because it highlights the stars of tomorrow.

Known as Future Stars Friday, it is a package of five races totaling $7 million in purse money. Two races have $2 million in purses, three offer $1 million.

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Here is a look at them, in order of when they run.

Races begin at 3 p.m. ET and run approximately every 40 minutes.

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint: $1 million, 5 1-2 furlongs, turf

American Apple embodies the spirt of the Breeders’ Cup, winning the Matron Stakes at 47-to-1 odds last month.

Nagirroc got up to win the $150,000 Futurity at Belmont at six furlongs, but has half a furlong less to work with here.

Private Creed sports more than $500,000 career earnings and has the advantage of a brilliant rallying victory over the Keeneland turf in October.

Platinum Queen is another fine British invader with more than $400,000 earnings in seven starts.]

Speed Boat Beach was sired by 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Bayern. He set a Del Mar track record on the dirt and then captured a turf spring in his first two outings. Stepping up in class, but has a 104 Beyer speed figure. That ties him for the top of the 2-year-old circuit with Cave Rock, who runs in the Juvenile.

Beyer speed figures provide a performance number based on a horse’s time compared to the track record and racing surface (speed-favoring or tiring), among other factors.

A number above 100 always gains betting respect.

On paper, Private Creed and Platinum Queen look very strong. And the Beyer figure for Speed Boat Beach should be respected.

Also read: Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup picks | Breeders’ Cup Classic Analysis from Vegas Expert

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies: $2 million, 1 1-16 miles

The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies race is loaded, and unpredictable.

Among the contenders, Wonder Wheel and Chop Chop have excellent performances over the track. In the $500,000 Darley Alcibiades at Keeneland, Wonder Wheel got the nod and Chop Chop was a just-missed second. The race over the track is an edge for them.

Atomically has a win in the $400,000 Frizette Stakes in the slop, at Aqueduct. You’re My Girl was a well-meant second.

And Tell Me Nolies prevailed in a $200,000 Chandelier and the $300,000 Debutante at Del Mar in California.

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf: $1 million, 1 mile

Meditate is the field’s earnings leader with $342,00. She has a string of impressive performances and distances ranging from five to seven furlongs in England and Ireland. Must ship to the United States and stretch out to 1 mile.

Last Call won the $500,000 Natalma Stakes at Woodbine at a 21-to-2 price. She put on an explosive burst and outgunned Cairo Consort to the wire. That performance bodes well for this race. Oddsmakers are not respecting that effort, establishing her at 20-to-1 on the morning line.

Delight wired the field in the Jessamine Stakes over this track. That proved to be an omen in 2020, when the Breeders’ Cup was also at Keeneland. Aunt Pearl, who had won the Jessamine Stakes prep, went on to win the Juvenile Turf.

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile: $2 million, 1 1-16 miles

At $2 million, the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Juvenile is the richest two-year-old race in North America.

Cave Rock has dominated the California realm, romping as a 2-to-5 favorite in the American Pharoah Stakes in just his second outing. He is trained by Bob Baffert and is an offspring to 2016 Breeders Cup Classic Arrogate. He’s also been 1 1-6 miles. There is much to like.

Blazing Sevens rides the momentum of class, capturing the $500,000 Champagne Stakes at Aqueduct in just his third race. He rallied to overtake front-runners in the slop at a substantial 8-to-1 price.

Forte has a victory over the track and the distance in the Breeders’ Futurity in October.

Irad Ortiz, Forte, Breeders Cup picks
Irad Ortiz Jr. rides Forte in the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz)

Although his Beyer was 92, 12 points below Cave Rock and five below National Treasure, another entry in this race, the victory over the track is significant.

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf: $1 million, 1 mile

Andthewinneris made a terrific move from the back of the pack, overtaking the field and setting a stakes record in the Castle & Key Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland. Perfect setup for this.

Packs a Wahlop won the Zuma Beach Stakes at Del Mar in California and will gain some betting attention.

That’s the American side of the equation. A slew of European invaders, none of whom sport the earnings of their American counterparts, will make the race interesting.

Silver Knott has wins in the 2022 Autumn Stakes and the 2022 Solario Stakes. Trained by Charles Appleby, one of the most highly-regarded names in the Breeders’ Cup winners circle. Bettors will keep a keen eye on any turf horse entered by Appleby.

Webslinger, who won the $500,000 Nownownow at Monmouth Park in New Jersey, is not being given much respect at 20-1. Maybe he should get some.

Picks for Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Card

In the Breeders’ Cup, there are few toss-outs. Bettors are almost always getting an exceptional horse. Gambling is a matter of which angle you like.

(Don’t let any written piece, anywhere, steer you off of your convictions. Analysis can be used to fortify your handicapping).

I like horses who have proven themselves at this track and will use that angle.

There is no need to bet every race, but this time there is something intriguing in all five.

That’s why I’ll place some money:

Juvenile Turf Sprint: Private Creed

Juvenile Fillies: Wonder Wheel

Juvenile Fillies Turf: Delight, in an exacta box with Meditate and Last Call

Juvenile: Forte, in an exacta box with Cave Rock

Juvenile Turf: In the finale, Appleby’s horse (Silver Knott) will be the play, but I have to put Webslinger, along with Andthewinneris, into some tickets too.

In many cases, I will put the top European horse into the mix with turf races.

Good luck with your angles.

About the Author
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo is an award-winning writer and broadcaster, who has covered the sports industry since the 1970s. He won the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Boxing Broadcasting by the Boxing Writers Association of America in 1997, and is in the New Jersey and Atlantic City Boxing Halls of Fame. Bontempo has broadcast major fights all over the world. The advent of legalized sports wagering shifted his focus to this exciting new industry in 2018.

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