Breeders’ Cup 2018
Breeders’ Cup 2018 kicks off on Friday with five races at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
Dubbed “Future Stars Friday” by the organisers after a shake-up in the format, each of Friday’s races will feature two-year-olds.
The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint is the newest addition to the timetable and will open proceedings.
NBC Sports and NBCSN will provide comprehensive coverage of both days of the festival.
Here is the full schedule for the opening day of action at the home of the Kentucky Derby, along with full post positions:
3:21 p.m. ET: Juvenile Turf Sprint
1. Strike Silver (Mark Casse)
2. Soldier’s Call (Archie Watson)
3. Well Done Fox (Richard Hannon)
4. Stillwater Cove (Wesley Ward)
5. Bulletin (Todd Pletcher)
6. Moonlight Romance (Wesley Ward)
7. Shang Shang Shang (Wesley Ward)
8. Sergei Prokofiev (Aidan O’Brien)
9. Chelsea Cloisters (Wesley Ward)
10. So Perfect (Aidan O’Brien)
11. Queen of Bermuda (William John Haggas)
12. Pocket Dynamo (Robert Cowell)
4 p.m. ET: Juvenile Fillies Turf
1. Concrete Rose (George Arnold)
2. The Mackem Bullet (Brian Ellison)
3. Lily’s Candle (Fabrice Vermeulen)
4. Just Wonderful (Aidan O’Brien)
5. La Pelosa (Charlie Appleby)
6. Newspaperofrecord (Chad Brown)
7. Stellar Agent (Jorge Abreu)
8. Belle Laura (Norm Casse)
9. Varenka (Graham Motion)
10. Pakhet (Todd Pletcher)
11. Lady Prancealot (Richard Baltas)
12. Summering (Thomas Proctor)
13. My Gal Betty (Roger Attfield)
14. East (Kevin Ryan)
4:40 p.m. ET: Juvenile Fillies
1. Reflect (Keith Desormeaux)
2. Serengeti Empress (Thomas Amoss)
3. Vibrance (Michael McCarthy)
4. Restless Rider (Kenneth McPeek)
5. Cassies Dreamer (Barclay Tagg)
6. Baby Nina (Anthony Quartarolo)
7. Jaywalk (John Servis)
8. Sippican Harbor (Gary Contessa)
9. Splashy Kisses (Doug O’Neill)
10. Bellafina (Simon Callaghan)
5:22 p.m. ET: Juvenile Turf
1. Arthur Kitt (Tom Dascombe)
2. Uncle Benny (Jason Servis)
3. Much Better (Bob Baffert)
4. Forty Under (Jeremiah Englehart)
5. Line of Duty (Charlie Appleby)
6. Henley’s Joy (Mike Maker)
7. Somelikeithotbrown (Mike Maker)
8. Opry (Todd Pletcher)
9. The Black Album (Jane Soubagne)
10. War of Will (Mark Casse)
11. King of Speed (Jeffrey Bonde)
12. Current (Todd Pletcher)
13. Marie’s Diamond (Mark Steven Johnston)
14. Anthony Van Dyck (Aidan O’Brien)
6:05 p.m. ET: Sentient Jet Juvenile
1. Dueling (Jerry Hollendorfer)
2. Mr. Money (Bret Calhoun)
3. Derby Date (D. Wayne Lukas)
4. Tight Ten (Steven Asmussen)
5. Well Defined (Kathleen O’Connell)
6. Complexity (Chad Brown)
7. Mind Control (Gregory Sacco)
8. Standard Deviation (Chad Brown)
9. Game Winner (Bob Baffert)
10. Knicks Go (Ben Colebrook)
11. Code of Honor (Claude McGaughey)
12. Gunmetal Gray (Jerry Hollendorfer)
13. Topper T (William Mott)
14. Signalman (Kenneth McPeek)
Trainer Wesley Ward has four runners in the inaugural Juvenile Turf Sprint, and it would be little surprise were he to pick up a winner in Friday’s opener.
Shang Shang Shang is the pick of his quartet and claimed a narrow win in the Norfolk Stakes at Ascot back in June.
Her main competitors are likely to be Mark Casse’s Strike Silver and Archie Watson’s Soldier’s Call, although the former will need to battle with the rail after drawing the inside post.
The final race of the day is the Sentient Jet Juvenile. The 14-strong field is headed by the unbeaten Game Winner, who has claimed three victories since debuting in August.
Most recently the Bob Baffert-trained colt shone at Santa Anita in September as he won the American Pharoah Stakes over eight-and-a-half furlongs, the same distance as the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
A decent draw placed Game Winner in post No. 9, three outside of Chad Brown’s well-fancied Complexity.
Brown claimed his first Breeders’ Cup Juvenile triumph last year with Good Magic. Baffert has trained three former winners of the race, most recently New Year’s Day in 2013.
Complexity is unbeaten in two starts and is likely to push Game Winner all the way, potentially along with Code of Honor.
While the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile has historically failed to produce future Kentucky Derby winners in their droves—only two have ever gone on to win the Run for the Roses—that trend has recently looked like changing.
Nyquist matched Street Sense in 2016 by following up a Juvenile triumph with a Derby win.
And 2016’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner, Classic Empire, subsequently went off as favourite in the 2017 Kentucky Derby, only to finish fourth, before Good Magic was second to Justify at Churchill Downs earlier this year.
As such, whichever horse triumphs in Friday’s headline race could well be in the running come next year’s Derby.