Game Winner and Joel Rosario capture the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Churchill Downs (c) Rickelle Nelson/Horsephotos.com
A full field of 14 went postward in the Juvenile (G1) on Friday, and even-money favorite Game Winner justified his status with a convincing score. The unbeaten and presumptive champion two-year-old was wide every step of the way but it didn’t matter, as he wore down the brave Knicks Go late to move his perfect mark to four. The Bob Baffert trainee was 2 1/4 lengths best while completing 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.67 under Joel Rosario.
Knicks Go took the lead turning for home and held it to midstretch, but he couldn’t withstand the run from the winner. Signalman got the dreaded 14 post but closed with fine energy to be third, his second consecutive Grade 1 placing.
With his Juvenile win, Game Winner will be the early Kentucky Derby (G1) favorite heading into 2019.
In earlier Breeders’ Cup races on the card, the Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) was over soon after the start. Klaravich Stables Inc. Newspaperofrecord took command from the break and put on a dazzling display over the yielding turf course in silencing her rivals.
The Chad Brown trainee was never under any duress and spurted clear when given her cue by Irad Ortiz Jr., driving home a facile 6 3/4-length winner as the 3-5 prohibitive choice. The outstanding two-year-old lass endured one mile in 1:39 to remain unbeaten from three lifetime showings. East and Stellar Agent finished for the minor awards.
The Irish-bred Newspaperforrecord, who waltzed home in the Miss Grillo Stakes (G2) most recently, has yet to be tested in winning her trio of races by a combined 20 lengths. She is sure to garner attention at season’s end for divisional honors.
In the Juvenile Fillies (G1), Jaywalk established an early edge and never looked back en route to a stylish, 5 1/2-length victory. The Frizette Stakes (G1) queen set reasonable fractions of :23.23, :46.76 and 1:11.48 for the opening six furlongs while maintaining a one-length lead.
Jockey Joel Rosario then asked the filly for her best at the top of the lane and she responded, putting away her foes and eventually finishing off 1 1/16 miles on the fast main oval in 1:43.62. The John Servis trainee was the 5-1 fourth choice and was followed under the wire by 3-1 second choice Restless Rider and 35-1 long shot Vibrance.
Line of Duty had to overcome a stewards’ inquiry in the Juvenile Turf (G1), but the correct decision was made. The Charlie Appleby trainee rated near midpack early on, moved to the clear heading for home and got the better of Uncle Benny after a bump inside the final furlong.
The 7-2 second choice was piloted home by William Buick and clocked a mile on the yielding course in 1:40.06. Uncle Betty and Somelikeithotbrown completed the top three.
In the inaugural Juvenile Turf Sprint, Bulletin seized the lead from the break and fought off a stubborn foe to post a 2 3/4-length triumph for conditioner Todd Pletcher. The speedy son of City Zip picked up a second stakes win from as many starts while stopping the teletimer for five panels on the yielding turf in 1:05.54 under Javier Castellano.
Bulletin went postward as the 4-1 second choice and was followed under the wire by Wesley Ward’s Chelsea Cloisters and Euro invader So Perfect.