Power Cap

Power cap- existential handicapping

18 June 2011

Add another one to the books

Time for more saturation of the already over populated two day and now 15 race Breeders Cup program. The new race on the schedule is the Juvenile Sprint that is open to the colts, geldings, and fillies. It also carries a $500,000 purse which doubles or triples all other juvenile races around that time period including the Iroquois and Pocahontas from Churchill and the already depleted stakes races of the Nashua and Tempted stakes from Aqueduct. Thus drawing away from even more stakes races run in the fall. This isn’t even the interesting part of the story; there were two remarks that were made that stuck out from this stub of an article.

“A six furlong sprint race for Juveniles has the potential to provide highly competitive fields in this new division.”
-David Willmot

“In discussions with horsemen on selecting a new race, an overwhelming majority requested that we add a Juvenile Sprint to the Championships program. There are a number of talented 2-year-old sprinters around the world who are not suited or may not be ready to run the two turns at 1 1/16 miles of the Juvenile or Juvenile Fillies in early November. The Juvenile Sprint provides horsemen with an alternative.”
-Clem Murphy

First off the comment by Mr. Willmot, the juvenile division is just the juvenile division. There was no split between the sprinters and routers at this point like their older counterparts featured in the other races. Most of the races around this point in the year are seven furlongs or longer as well, there is very little in the way of established sprint races for the newly minted thoroughbred runners. NYRA used to have a pair of sprint races that they ran in October called the Cowdin and Astarita; they were discontinued due to the Breeder’s Cup and a lack of entries. Do you know what this race will feature? Mostly horses that just broke their maidens and are Breeders’ Cup nominated. More than likely it will be a highly pursed n1x allowance.

Murphy mentioned that there is a group of juveniles that are not ready to go two turns or the 8-½ furlongs that the two mainstay juvenile races are established at. Doesn’t that apply to 90% of the horse population at this point their career anyway? Even the established routers from late in the season last year turned into busts this year Uncle Mo, To Honor and Serve, and Awesome Feather did not transfer their form to this year after showing two turn prowess last year. Two out of the last three Derby winners were turf or synthetic winners as two-year-olds in addition to this. If distance were such an issue it would make more sense to shorten the big two back to a one-turn mile or seven furlongs. The 7/8 of a mile distance seems to be a stretch for most of the horses entered in the two mainstay juvenile races anyway.

Lastly, the two day 15 race mega-card of the Breeders’ Cup probably has a few too many races. The Marathon was added as a way to “encourage” racetracks to add long distance races to their programs. From the looks of it, the effort made by racing secretaries is minimal. There is little in the way of recognizable long distance races outside of the Brooklyn and the Greenwood Cup Handicap. If there was any kind of effort put in by the major tracks there would be at least two competitive options a month for runners at this distance. This race is seen as an afterthought where a trainer will throw a runner if they ran good in a lesser prep or were beaten badly in one of the major preps. Back in 2005 there were only eight races featuring the best of the best, an overload of races and a burnout of the races that act as preps for the big day have diluted the Breeders’ Cup program. Adding even more races will not fix this problem.

1 comment:

Amateurcapper said...


The Juvenile Sprint is a travesty...yet another excuse to award breeders and owners infatuated by precocity and speed in a young horse. If any of these speed types had any class, they'd have been ready for the graded sprints in the summer. What they're doing is watering down a division that suffers from too many injuries trying to make the BC Juvenile anyway.

As a small-time player, all it does is refocus me to wager on races that I only have a strong opinion on. When it was just 7 races, I'd have tried to bet them all. Now that it's 15, I'll probably stick to 4 or 5 races.