By Marcus Hersh DRF
Todd Pletcher will take two swings at a second win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs.
Churchill was the site of Pletcher’s only previous success in the race, with Pluck in 2010, and this year Pletcher has Opry and Current for the one-mile race around Churchill’s tight grass course.
Pluck came out of the Summer Stakes at Woodbine to register his Juvenile Turf win, but this year’s models have traveled different routes. Opry captured the Grade 3 With Anticipation at Saratoga to earn his Juvenile Turf chance and probably is better than his fourth-place finish Sept. 29 in the Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont.
But he might not be better than Current. Current debuted in a turf sprint and finished second to the vastly talented but sidelined colt Fog of War, and since has turned in two very encouraging turf route races. On Sept. 8 at Belmont, he tracked a slow pacesetter and finished strongly, registering a three-length maiden win. On Sunday at Keeneland, Current closed with a rush to win the Grade 3 Bourbon Stakes – a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race linked to the Juvenile Turf – by a nose. Current still was only sixth, trailing the leader by more than five lengths, at the stretch call before unleashing a furious rally.
“At the eighth pole watching it you wouldn’t have picked him out as the winner,” Pletcher said Tuesday.
Current, owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Robert LaPenta, is a son of Curlin and Crosswinds, by Storm Cat, and was purchased at auction for $725,000. Though he has raced only on turf, Current, Pletcher said, trains like a decent horse on dirt, too, and could try the main track at some point. Pletcher said that while the Juvenile Turf remains Current’s target, there’s a chance he could be cross-entered in the BC Juvenile.