A pair of two-year-olds moved one-step closer to a start in the upcoming Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) with sharp Grade 1 tallies on Labor Day. At Saratoga, six went postward in the $350,000 Hopeful S. (G1) and Steve Asmussen was responsible for half of the field, pulling off the trifecta in a superb training feat.
Jackpot Farm’s BASIN took the lead in early stretch and powered home to an emphatic 6 ½-length win under Jose Ortiz. The son of Liam’s Map splashed his way through seven furlongs in 1:23.48 over the sloppy and sealed surface. Bred in the Bluegrass State, the $150,000 yearling buy earned a hearty 96 BRIS Speed number for his fine work.
Late-running Shoplifted rallied from the back to finish a neck clear of race favorite Gozilla for place honors. Morning line favorite Green Light Go was scratched after the track came up sloppy.
In a roughly run edition of the $301,053 Del Mar Futurity (G1), the Peter Miller-trained NUCKY earned his second consecutive win with a 2 ¾-length tally beneath Norberto Arroyo Jr. The Rockingham Ranch color bearer got seven-eighths over the fast main strip in 1:25.52 while never challenged late. The dark bay son of Ghostzapper was awarded an 88 BRIS Speed figure in picking up his first stakes victory.
Stable companion Wrecking Crew finished next, with 37-1 outsider Defense Wins garnering show honors.
The race was eventful for sure, although no major injuries to horses or jockeys were reported. Eight Rings, the 1-2 favorite, and Storm the Court from the rail, both unseated their pilots early on and didn’t finish the contest.
On Sunday at Monmouth Park, Colts Neck Stables, LLC’s BIG CITY BOB surged to the lead and held on late to bag the $104,000 Sapling at 26-1 odds. The two-year-old son of Shanghai Bobby defeated a solid field en route to his initial stakes triumph.
Trained by Jorge Duarte, Jr. and guided home by Chris DeCarlo, the colt negotiated one-mile on the fast oval in 1:39.29 in his victory. Big City Bob posted an 87 BRIS Speed number in the process.
Skyscanner came next in second and was followed by 2-1 second choice Mischievous Alex.
Here is my current top six for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile:
1. Green Light Go — Hard Spun colt a man among boys in Saratoga Special
2. Basin — Hopeful romper super-impressive on closing day at The Spa
3. Letmeno — Ellis Park Juvenile S. second has high ceiling for Wilkes
4. Express Train — 14-length maiden victor could be star in the making
5. Dennis’ Moment — Electric Ellis Park graduate gearing up for initial stakes try
6. Tap It To Win — Recent maiden winner will only improve with added distance