2018 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Expert Predictions and Betting Odds
The Breeders' Cup has always struggled to figure out how to schedule their event. They have changed the order of the races and relegated the Juvenile to the Friday. It's a terrible move - this is the race that creates Kentucky Derby contenders, and they deserve better. Really, they need to find a way to make it all happen on one day to avoid these issues. My solution is to use two tracks - one for dirt and one for turf, perhaps - but that's a debate for another day. The point here is that a race that should be on Saturday is on Friday, so we have one less day to handicap it. Here are the highlights of the race, which is scheduled to go off at 6:05 pm ET and features a full field of 14 runners. (Horse, trainer, jockey, morning line odds):
Game Winner, Bob Baffert, Joel Rosario, 8/5: Baffert has made the Triple Crown his own personal playground over the last few years, but none of his superstars have won here, and none of his three winners of this race - New Year's Day in 2013, Midshipman in 2008 and Vindication in 2002 - have gone on to be major stars. In fact, both Vindication and New Year's Day were injured and never raced again after their Juvenile victory. Game Winner is unquestionably the best two-year-old in California at this point - there are two Grade 1 stakes for juveniles in the state, and this colt won both of them. He debuted only on August 18 and won all three starts between then and the end of August. He has improved in each outing and has been working like a machine since that last race. I am a sucker for Baffert horses - have been since seeing Cavonnier narrowly miss at the 1996 Derby - and this horse certainly isn't changing that. The travel across the country is a concern for youngsters, but the horse is the real deal, and if he gets beat then I will, too.
Complexity, Chad Brown, Jose Ortiz, 5/2: This colt is the best of the East Coast contenders, having won the Champagne Stakes in his stakes debut at the beginning of August. Brown knows this path well - he won the Juvenile last year with Good Magic after finishing second in the Champagne. But Complexity has run at the front in both of his races, and I'm concerned about his need to do that here. I'm also worried about his ability to go around two turns. I respect Brown immensely, but I will pass on this one.
Code of Honor, Shug McGaughey, John Velazquez, 5/1: This colt was an impressive winner in his debut at Saratoga and then finished second behind Complexity in the Champagne. As we said before, the winner of the Juvenile last year was second in the Champagne. Velazquez rode him in the opener, didn't in the stakes, and is back now. That's a good sign. I like the price better than Complexity's, but Game Winner still looms as too tough in my eyes.
Gunmetal Gray, Jerry Hollendorfer, Flavien Prat, 10/1: It feels hard to believe, but the legendary Hollendorfer is making his Juvenile debut with this colt and 20/1 shot Dueling. Both colts have finished second to Game Winner, with this one's chance coming more impressively in the Grade 1 American Pharoah. The colt needs to take a big step forward, and my big concern is that he will have to pass Game Winner, who was far better in their last meeting. I'm not a believer.
Standard Deviation, Chad Brown, Javier Castellano, 12/1: This colt not only shares a trainer with Complexity, but also an owner. And he is a son of Curlin, which always gets my attention. He won his maiden at Saratoga nicely and then was third in the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland. That is an odd race - winner Knicks Go is here in the Juvenile at 30/1, while runner-up Signalman is at 20/1 here. I like the breeding and connections here, and will be watching this horse going forward, but this feels like too much too soon at this point.
Well Defined, Kathleen O'Connell, Mike Smith, 20/1: This colt is interesting only because of who is on board - Smith is the best of big-race riders. He previously rode Dueling, and he can typically ride any Baffert horse he wants, so the fact he is on this colt says something about his loyalty, but it also says something about the horse. He ran in a stakes in Florida last time out. That's a big step down from this race, but he was the dominant winner. There is talent here. The colt has improved each time and will improve more with Smith on board for the first time. He's a long shot to watch.
Doc's Sports is offering $60 worth of member's picks absolutely free - no obligation, no sales people - you don't even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit any way you please for any handicapper and any sport on Doc's Sports list of expert sports handicappers. Get $60 worth of premium members' picks free .
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
Most Recent Horse Race Betting and Handicapping
- Will There Be A Triple Crown Winner in 2020? Expert Horse Racing Tips and Predictions
- 2020 Belmont Stakes Predictions
- Belmont Stakes Odds - Live Horse Racing Betting Odds Updated
- 2020 Arkansas Derby Predictions with Morning Line Betting Odds
- 2020 Louisiana Derby Predictions with Odds and Expert Betting Picks
- 2020 Rebel Stakes Predictions with Odds and Expert Betting Picks
- 2019 Breeders' Cup Betting Tips: Horses to Watch
- 2019 Breeders Cup Long Shots: High-Value Horses to Watch
- 2019 Breeders' Cup Classic Predictions and Expert Betting Picks
- 2019 Breeders' Cup Mile Predictions and Expert Betting Picks