Breeders' Cup Juvenile Maiden Watch: Fierceness stuns at Saratoga
Did we see the 2023 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner debut at Saratoga last Friday?
Everyone is abuzz about the spectacular debut of Fierceness, a two-year-old son of Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner City of Light conditioned by three-time Breeders’ Cup Juvenile-winning trainer Todd Pletcher. Fierceness started as the 11-10 favorite in a six-furlong maiden special weight and left no doubt about his superiority, setting stiff fractions of :22.02 and :44.65 over a muddy track before powering clear in the homestretch to dominate by 11 1/4 lengths in 1:09.56.
Pletcher has the Oct. 7 Champagne (G1) at Aqueduct in mind as the next start for Fierceness. The prestigious one-mile contest awards a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and also serves as a Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifier. If Fierceness prevails in the Champagne, you can bet he’ll be a popular choice come Breeders’ Cup time.
The following day at Gulfstream Park, Pletcher saddled another two-year-old debut winner. Self Sufficient, a son of Preservationist, pounced from just off the pace to win a six-furlong maiden special weight by 2 1/2 lengths in 1:11.62.
Getting back to Saratoga, the Friday card also featured a one-mile maiden special weight that was rained off the turf. Global Perspective, coming off a third-place finish in his debut sprinting over the Saratoga main track, didn’t mind the change. The Chad Brown-trained son of Tapit tracked slow splits of :24.99, :49.00, and 1:13.04 over the muddy track before taking command in the final furlong to score by 2 3/4 lengths in 1:38.93.
At Ellis Park, a pair of six-furlong maiden special weights on Sunday produced noteworthy winners. Awesome Road won by far the faster division, dueling through fractions of :22.48 and :45.64 on his way to victory by 2 3/4 lengths in 1:10.80. The stoutly bred son of Quality Road out of the A.P. Indy mare Orate has the pedigree to improve with maturity and thrive running long for two-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Brad Cox.
The other division went to The Process, a Cherie DeVaux trainee who dueled through splits of :22.99 and :46.69 before edging clear to win by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:12.45. The son of More Than Ready was produced by the Bernardini mare Eblouissante, a half-sister to legendary 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta and the dam of 2023 Rebel (G2) winner and Kentucky Derby (G1) participant Confidence Game.
#9 The Process wins on debut in R5 at Ellis Park, making it back-to-back wins for both trainer @reredevaux and @cristiantorr64! 💪— TwinSpires Racing 🏇 (@TwinSpires) August 27, 2023
This 2-year-old colt is a half-brother to @KentuckyDerby starter Confidence Game!
🎥 #TwinSpiresReplay pic.twitter.com/tvcxpggA2T
We’ll also highlight Rothschild, who proved much the best in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight on Friday at Del Mar. The son of 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Uncle Mo carved out fractions of :22.95 and :46.80 before kicking clear in the homestretch to score by 5 1/4 lengths in 1:18.07. Tim Yakteen conditions the bay colt, who debuted with a fifth-place finish in a five-furlong maiden special weight at Del Mar last month.