2020 Breeders’ Cup Starts Friday with Juveniles Taking Center Stage at Keeneland

Posted on: November 5, 2020, 11:57h. 

Last updated on: November 6, 2020, 10:09h.

The future stars of horse racing will take to the track Friday at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky., for the first day of the 2020 Breeders’ Cup.

Breeders Cup
Jackie’s Warrior, shown here winning last month’s Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park, is the morning-line favorite in Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland. (Image: Janet Garaguso/NYRA Photo)

The first five races of the two-day world championship horse racing event feature the top 2-year-old colts and fillies. The top races are the Juvenile Fillies, which features a field of seven, and the Juvenile, which will showcase 14 colts.

Like other major horse racing events, the Breeders’ Cup races will not go off in front of fans because of COVID-19. That’s a shame, because Saturday’s card features some ridiculously deep fields, highlighted by a loaded Classic, the main event of Saturday’s nine-race card.

The big fields will likely lead to some lucrative betting opportunities, and the Breeders’ Cup is sweetening the pot by offering several guaranteed jackpots. On Friday, the five Breeders’ Cup races will be part of a $1 million Pick 5. In addition, the final four races will be part of a $1 million Pick 4.

Friday’s Pick 6, which will include an undercard race, as well as the Pick 5 and the Jackpot Super High 5 – which is where bettors pick the top five finishers in order – all can carryover to Saturday. Those jackpots will then be mandatory payouts on Saturday.

NBC Sports will broadcast Friday’s Breeders’ Cup races. The Juvenile Fillies will run at 3:50 pm ET, and the Juvenile will race at 5:15 pm.

Undefeated Fillies Face Off

In the Juvenile Fillies, trainer Bob Baffert fields the morning-line favorite. Princess Noor has won all three races this year, including a pair of graded stakes. In her last race, the Chandelier Stakes at Santa Anita, she cruised to an 8-1/4-length win.

Victor Espinoza gets the mount on Princess Noor, who will break from the far gate. Her morning-line odds are 9-5.

At 5-2 are a pair of contenders. The first is Simply Ravishing, trained by Kenny McPeek, which drew the inside post. She’s also 3-for-3 this year, and won her last race a month ago at Keeneland in the Darley Alcibiades Stakes. In that race, she led wire-to-wire and pulled away to a 6-1/4-length win. Luis Saez, who rode her to that win, will have the mount.

The other co-second choice on the morning-line is Dayoutoftheoffice. The Tim Hamm-trained filly is also 3-for-3 and is coming off a two-length win in the Frizette Stakes at Belmont Park last month. With Junior Alvarado on the mount, she’ll break from the third gate.

Whereas Princess Noor and Simply Ravishing have run their three races each since August, Hamm, who co-owns Dayoutoftheoffice, has spread his filly’s races over a longer period. He’s given her a couple months between starts.

She’s a big, scopey filly, and I wanted to have some horse for the end of the year,” Hamm said after the Frizette. “The plan was to have a fresh horse for this time of the year. We wanted to just train her a little lightly and have her fresh for the fall run. Everything went according to plan.”

The winner of the 1-1/16-mile race will likely find herself entering the spring racing season as the favorite for the 2021 Kentucky Oaks. The full field can be found here.

Jackie’s Warrior Heavy Favorite in Juvenile

The Juvenile isn’t a good predictor for the following year’s Kentucky Derby. In 36 years, only twice has the winner gone on to win the Run for the Roses, with 2016 Derby winner Nyquist the last one.

The top two colts on the morning line both have won races at Churchill Downs. Steve Asmussen trains the favorite, Jackie’s Warrior. With 7-5 odds, the colt comes into Keeneland 4-for-4, with three graded stakes wins. Joel Rosario gets the mount, and the horse will break from the seventh gate.

“He’s a beautiful horse. A big horse, and it looks like everything he does is easy for him,” said Rosario after he rode him to a 5-1/2-length win in the Champagne Stakes at Belmont last month.

Brad Cox trains the 4-1 second choice, Essential Quality. Sired by Tapit, the colt has raced just twice, but won a month ago at Keeneland in the Breeders’ Futurity. Saez rode him to a 3-1/4-length victory in that race.

Saez gets the mount again, and Essential Quality will break from the fifth gate.

The only other entry in the field with single-digit odds is Reinvestment Risk at 9-2. Trained by Chad Brown and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., the colt has a win and two seconds this year. Most recently, he finished behind Jackie’s Warrior in the Champagne.

The full field can be found here.