2013 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Predictions and Betting Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 10/29/2013
The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile isn’t the most-watched race, but for my money it’s the most exciting. These youngsters are absolutely packed with potential. For now they are just trying to figure out how to race, but through the winter and into the spring some of them will become the top contenders for the Kentucky Derby — the best two minutes in sports. This race is like a window into the future.
Last year the field was small, and that was largely due to a new ban of the anti-bleeding drug Lasix for this race. Lasix is not allowed here again, but trainers have had more time to adjust, so the field is larger again. From all 14 runners entered, here are seven that stand out as the most serious challengers for my 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile predictions (post position and morning line odds in parenthesis):
Havana (Post position 13, 5/2): The likely post-time favorite comes from the barn of super trainer Todd Pletcher — the same stable that produced last year’s winner Shanghai Bobby. He’s unbeaten, but that’s not saying much since he has only run twice. He won his maiden race at Saratoga and then pulled off a win in the Champagne at Belmont early in October by a neck. He has not yet run two turns, and the lack of experience is a concern given the trip across the country. Still, his breeding is good, his talent is obvious, and he has higher speed ratings than anyone in the field. The biggest knock against him is that the price is going to be low given the connections and the record. That means value will be in short supply, but it’s hard to discount the horse. He’s the horse to beat.
Tap It Rich (PP 6, 6/1): Compared to this horse, Havana is a seasoned veteran. Tap It Rich has run only once, and that just came on Oct. 12. He won a two-turn race at Santa Anita, though, so we have few concerns about either the distance or the track. He was stunningly dominant in that effort and quickly became the top horse on the West Coast in the eyes of many — including me. What was most impressive about that effort is all that he overcame. He was very slow out of the gate and got forced four wide around the first turn. Young horses just plain don’t overcome things like that, but this horse was completely unbothered. He oozes class, is bred well, and has a very good jockey combo in Bob Baffert and Mike Smith. If he were to go off at around 5/1, he would be an outstanding value — though he has to try to become the first-ever winner of this race coming off of just one career start.
Bond Holder (PP 5, 8/1): This horse comes from the stable of Doug O’Neill, who trained Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another last year. He was unimpressive in his first four races. Those all came on synthetic surfaces, though. When he switched to dirt last time out and stretched out to the same mile and a sixteenth distance as this race, though, he was a totally different horse. He won the Front Runner here at Santa Anita at 13/1. That race wasn’t fast, but he won easily and obviously liked the track and distance. He likely won’t get the attention of the favorites, so he could go off at a nice price, and he is clearly improving.
Strong Mandate (PP 14, 6/1): Trainer D. Wayne Lukas is about 700 years old, but his career is on a definite uptick — as his Preakness win this year proved. He has always been strong with youngsters and has won this race five times, but he has a head-scratcher of a horse here. In the Hopeful at Saratoga, he was incredibly dominant, winning by almost 10 lengths. It seemed like a star was born. But then he came back in the Champagne, never fired, and was a very ugly seventh. So, which horse are we going to see here? He didn’t have an obvious excuse in the last race, so it takes a leap of faith to back him here.
Dance With Fate (PP 2, 8/1): He was the favorite in the Front Runner that Bond Holder won, and he wound up second. He led at the top of the stretch but couldn’t hold off the charge. He would need to be dramatically better here, and his breeding is far from the best. He’s in the mix, but it’s tough to see him as an elite contender. The price would need to be much better than the morning line to make him attractive.
New Year’s Day (PP 4, 8/1): The second Baffert horse in the field is even tougher to assess than Tap It Rich. He has only run twice and both times in just maiden races. He has only run on synthetic surfaces and hasn’t run since August — though he beat Bond Holder last time out. His breeding is excellent, though, and he clearly improved the second time out when he ran further. He has also been working exceptionally well at Santa Anita — he has fired bullets in each of his last three works. Both of Baffert’s horses are more than inspiring.
Mexikoma (PP 3, 12/1): This is an intriguing horse here — more for the off-the-track storylines. He made his debut at Saratoga on the turf and was lousy. In mid-September he tried again, this time on dirt at Delaware. He was a beast, winning by more than 14 lengths. That sparked a bidding frenzy, and Team Valor — the partnership that owned Derby winner Animal Kingdom — wound up buying him. They probably value next year’s Derby more than this race, but they aren’t here just for kicks. The horse has a new trainer, and that can be a boost for a lot of horses first time out. He’s going to be an intriguing contender at what should be a fat price.
Doc’s Sports has had a winning tradition for more than four decades? Don’t believe us? Try us out for free, and we are convinced you will be a believer. Get $60 worth of free sports picks – members’ picks just like our paying clients get – here.
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
Most Recent Breeders' Cup Handicapping
- 2015 Breeders' Cup Predictions
- 2015 Breeders' Cup Top Prop Bet Picks for Head-to-Head Matchups
- 2015 Breeders' Cup Handicapping Advice: the Trainers
- Handicapping the 2015 Breeders' Cup Jockeys
- Breeders' Cup Betting Advice 2015: Horses to Watch
- Breeders' Cup Long Shots with Betting Value for Underdog Profits
- 2015 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Picks and Predictions with Opening Betting Odds
- 2015 Breeders' Cup Sprint Picks and Predictions with Opening Betting Odds
- 2015 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Picks and Predictions with Opening Betting Odds
- 2015 Breeders' Cup Distaff Picks and Predictions with Opening Betting Odds