2012 Breeders' Cup: Juvenile Turf preview

Dundonnell - Alan Crowhurst

Dundonnell leads a classy group of European invaders.

Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf
1 Mile, Turf
Two-year-olds
$1,000,000

Day: Saturday, Nov. 3rd
Post Time: 11:50am Pacific
TV: NBCSN

The Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf is another race that requires the handicapper to evaluate the strength of a contingent of European horses shipping to North America. This year's race features six shippers from across the Atlantic: 2-Artigiano (8/1), 3-George Vancouver (8/1), 5-Fantastic Moon (GB) (12/1), 6-Dundonnell (4/1), 14-Lines of Battle (12/1), and 15AE-Rising Legend (GB) (20/1).

Of the Europeans entered in the Juvenile Turf, Lines of Battle and Rising Legend are probably the weakest of the group. However, it's incredibly risky to toss any foreign horse in the turf races as some improve dramatically when running on firmer ground or under different racing conditions. Still, we've got to make cuts somewhere and Lines of Battle and Rising Legend are a good place to start.

Dundonnell's form over firmer ground in Europe along with his tactical speed makes him a tough customer in this field. He won the G3-Acomb Stakes at York in late August and was a good second to Toronado in the G2-Champagne Stakes at Doncaster in mid-September.

Fantastic Moon did run particularly well in his most recent start, a 5th place finish in the G2-Royal Lodge, but he's a Group 3 winner and his best form has come over firmer ground.

Looking at the North American contingent, 4-Gervinho (15/1), 8-Balance the Books (8/1) and 9-Noble Tune (6/1) are all coming into the race off of strong performances against graded stakes competition. Both Balance the Books and Noble Tune are trained by the scorching hot Chad Brown.

The Pick

The European horses appear to have the edge in the Juvenile Turf but, honestly, this race could be won by any number of runners. With a big field and only a mile run around the course, avoiding trouble becomes incredibly important to any horse's chances of victory.

Dundonnell is in good form, he's reportedly done very well since shipping to Santa Anita, and he might be sitting on a big effort if he gets a smooth trip on Saturday.

Balance the Books comes into the race off a strong win in the G3-Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland and is piloted by experienced turf jockey Julien Leparoux. If this turns into a riders race, Leparoux is the man to have in the irons.

6-Dundonnell (4/1)
8-Balance the Books (8/1)
5-Fantastic Moon (GB) (12/1)

The Field

Post Horse Jockey Trainer ML Odds
1 Summit Country C. Nakatani D. Romans 30/1
2 Artigiano F. Dettori M. Al Zarooni 8/1
3 George Vancouver R. Moore A. O'Brien 8/1
4 Gervinho R. Bejarano C. Gaines 15/1
5 Fantastic Moon (GB) K. Fallon J. Noseda 12/1
6 Dundonnell J. Doyle R. Charlton 4/1
7 Brown Almighty K. Desormeaux T. Ice 20/1
8 Balance the Books J. Leparoux C. Brown 8/1
9 Noble Tune R. Dominguez C. Brown 6/1
10 Joha J. Castellano M. Maker 6/1
11 Dry Summer J. Talamo J. Mullins 10/1
12 I'm Boundtoscore S. Rook T. Rankin 20/1
13 Know More G. Gomez D. O'Neill 8/1
14 Lines of Battle R. Hughes A. O'Brien 12/1
AE Riding Legend (GB) J. Rosario J. Sadler 20/1

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