Jockey Julien Leparoux had a great day Friday with a first-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, a first-place in the Filly and Mare Sprint and a third-place in the Filly and Mare Turf. Hopefully, Leparoux will be primed for another great day Saturday and that should bode well for Aspire who is my longshot pick to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
I think that Leparoux is a good fit with Aspire. He rode him in his first two starts and regains the mount for the Juvenile.
In three starts, Aspire (20-1) has never been out of the money and although he has yet to win a Graded Stakes race he has been racing in good company. He has a second-place finish in the Hopeful (G1) and a third-place finish in the Champagne Stakes (G1).
Aspire had a nice work out over the track surface earlier this week and his Brisnet Speed Figures have steadily improved with each race. His 97 in the Champagne is his best yet and he could be ready for a big move forward.
Hall of Fame Trainer Bob Baffert is hoping to claim his third Juvenile victory with Lookin At Lucky who is the prohibitive 8-5 morning line favorite. Undefeated in four starts, Lookin At Lucky has a stakes win in the Best Pal (G2), the Del Mar Futurity (G1) and the Norfolk Stakes (G1).
D’ Funnybone is the 5-2 second choice. D’Funnybone has yet to run in a route race and he comes into the Juvenile with impressive performances in the Saratoga Special (G2) and Futurity Stakes (G2). D’Funnybone has two triple-digit Brisnet Speed Figures and if he can carry that speed to a route race, he most likely will be the winner.
Another horse that I believe needs to be included in the exotics is Noble’s Promise (8-1). He was the impressive winner of the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland last month and he has the speed to be competitive in the Juvenile.
In addition to the win, place, wager on Aspire, I’ll use him with Lookin At Lucky, D’Funnybone and Noble’s Promise in the exotic wagers.
In the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, I like Codoy (15-1) for my longshot pick. He’s never been out of the money in five starts and in his last outing he was gaining on Interactif in the Bourbon Stakes (G3) at Keeneland. His 93 Brisnet Speed Figure last out was his best yet and he could be ready for another move forward.
Bridgetown (8-1) went gate-to-wire in the Summer Stakes (G3) last out and I would not be surprised to see him do that in the Juvenile Turf. Bridgetown comes in the the racer with a 2-1-0 record in threee starts. With Speightstown as his sire and Tabasco Cat as his damsire, he has the speed and stamina to be a very competitive middle-distance runner.
Interactif (4-1) now has a win in the With Anticipation Stakes (G3) and Bourbon Stakes (G3) on both firm and yielding ground. He’s recorded his best speed figures since switching to the turf and I expect him to be in the money in the Juvenile Turf.
Of the European invaders, I like Viscount Nelson (6-1). He’s never been out of the money in four starts and he comes into the race with a narrow defeat in the Champagne Stakes (G3) at Doncaster. I expect that jockey Johnny Murtagh will have Viscount Nelson in the mix at the finish.