Sunday, December 13, 2009

California Juveniles Clash!

The CashCall Futurity, once named the Hollywood Futurity, has been one of California's premiere races for Juveniles since 1981, it's 28 year history is sprinkled with a star studded list of American Classic winners. Among those Classic winners are Belmont winner AP Indy, Preakness winner Snow Chief, Real Quite, who missed out on Triple Crown glory by a scant whisker, and Preakness and Belmont winner Point Given, who also went on to Haskell and Travers wins. Other horses that have their names engraved on the CashCall trophy are some of California's most highly esteemed colts, Derby runner up Pioneerofthe Nile, Best Pal, Declan's Moon, and Brother Derek. Captain Steve another great colt went on to win the coveted Dubai World Cup two years after his CashCall victory.

This year's CashCall Futurity displays a short, but power packed field, featuring Noble's Promise winner of the Breeders Futurity and third place in the Breeders Cup Juvenile. Todd Pletcher offers up his talented Eskendereya, whose talent is well know after a win in the Pilgrim Stakes, but a troubled ninth place in the Breeders Cup has pushed him off the radar for most people. Then comes the talented Get My Fix, who ran second to American Lion last out in the Hollywood Prevue Stakes. Looking at this field, one may already wonder how much deeper could it get, when all those I've named so far are graded stakes placed, one a proven grade one winner. The answer is a lot.

The last two CashCall potential starters are probably considered the best two Juveniles based in California. They are the Breeders Cup Juvenile runner up, Lookin At Lucky and the Hollywood Prevue victor American Lion. Lookin at Lucky has the more experience of the two and will be making his sixth start of the season to American Lion's forth. Lookin At Lucky as of now has every reason to be considered California's top dog, or horse. Before the Juvenile the talented Baffert trainee was running on a four race unbeaten streak, until he had everything that could possibly go wrong do just that, proving a nose to much for the gritty two year old to overcome. However this field is a lot less crowded than the 13 horse field in the Breeders Cup, which should make for a much better trip. Couple that with his professional attitude on the track and courageous heart, you may just have you CashCall Futurity winner

While Lookin At Lucky is mature, experience and professional while racing his nemesis American Lion is just the opposite. Being sired by the dual Breeders Cup Classic winner and having the prominent sire Storm Cat as his grandsire, on his dam's side, he not only grand in physique, but breeding as well. Running next to other colts his age, American Lion appears a men among boys. However his immature attitude on the track proves otherwise. In the Hollywood Prevue American Lion was under a hard drive coming out of the turn. It took quite a bit of urging before he managed to come out of second gear, but when he did the sight of the handsome colt soaring down the track was a thing of beauty. Though, shortly after he made the lead he displayed his inexperience again, as he started to ease up and play around, almost getting allowing the fast closing Get My Fix to blow right by him.

So, here we are, two starkly different colts both with the potential to go on and become stars on next year Triple Crown Trail. While the entries are not definite for the race, the possible starters listed certainly have the potential to give the field some extra spice. All I can say is that in a race filled with so much raw ability you can count nobody out. Expect on heck stretch battle coming down for the line, and may the best colt win!


  1. Eoin Hardy trains American Lion? Let's hope that his emotional soundness/racehorse maturity improves! I'm still getting over the promise never fulfilled by Mr. Hot Stuff. Does anyone know if Colonel John's full brother was sold at Keeneland? Or to whom?

    Lookin At Lucky all the way I say! Let's hope that all surface Smart Strike will let him transfer his synthetic skills to dirt. And in a brief homage to Pioneerof The Nile- that colt did transfer over to dirt by running 2nd in the Kentucky Derby. He danced every dance and only fizzled by the time the grind caught up with him in the Preakness. Let's not forget him so quickly. From Mott, from gate issues, to Baffert and overcoming the switch in surfaces. Now off to start his own stallion empire, or so we hope.

    Another turf runner for Pletcher on synthetics, like Brittle Road. I can't help but bet the trainers in this race. And that would put Bob Baffert on top.

  2. Anon,
    Don't know if your asking me specifically about American Lion being trained by Eoin Harty. I you are then, off the top of my head I do not know. On Mr. Hot Stuff, I don't know if he was sold, I know he was in an allowence race a few weeks, back but I never got to see it. The race before that he had finished second though.

    POTN was my favorite for the Derby this year, and I was so dissapointed to see that he had been retired. Personally I think part of the reason for the injury was the Preakness. A tired horse is prone to injury and he was most certainly feeling the wear and tear of trying first half of the season.

  3. LDP, there are some interesting comments about Pioneerof The Nile's campaign over at the Bloodstock In The Bluegrass blog right now. The topic is the legacy of Unbridled.

    I dismissed Pioneerof The Nile in the beginning, thinking he was consistent but not great. But you don't make 2nd in the Kentucky Derby without being exceptional. His dam being by Lord At War would seem to impart durability for his future sons and daughters.

    I insist on respecting owners and trainers wishes, but with no chance of the Triple Crown it would have been nice to see what he could have done skipping the Preakness and Belmont and resting up for the other Classics.

  4. Anon,
    I've read that blog fairly recently, it is really well done and a great read. One thing I notice is that had Borel not given MTB the dream trip POTN would not have been second, but first. His trip was the exact oppisite, sitting, what like five wide on each turn in the Derby. Had he gotten that inside trip he to would've had the energy to keep up that drive that catapulted him to the front, before tiring slightly. I also wish that his connections would have elected to skip the Preakness in favor of the Belmont. His running style fit the race to a T, and his breeding lent him the ablitity to run all day and night. A long deserved rest after that and there is not telling what he could've grown into....

  5. American Lion and Conveyance are both not running, I was especially looking forward to see what the twice unbeaten Conveyance would do. The son of Indian Charlie that looks like his maternal grandsire Holy Bull.

    I made some notes on this race but I want Lucky to win so I won't waste anyone's time rambling. Bloodhorse's poll has 64% of voters picking him too. It's another Smart Strike colt with a trainer many love to bash moving towards Derby 2010.

  6. Anon,
    This was just a preview before the entries were released, to view the potential top runners entering the race. It does surprise me that LAL is still running but AL is not. If either were to drop out I would have thought it would be Lucky. I have to say now that I've seen the entries I think it is still a tough field, but it is still Lucky's race to loose.