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The G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf has often been fertile ground for the European raiders and Ireland has two major players in Unquestionable and River Tiber, both already on the board at G1 level and representing last year’s successful barn. The home team is led by G1 winner Carson’s Run, with G2 scorers Agate Road and Can Group and unbeaten G3 winner Endlessly backing up the defense in Friday’s contest. Here the Juvenile Turf future book Odds at JazzSports.

Breeders Cup Odds

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf

G1, $1m, 1m turf, 2yo males, Santa Anita, Friday 4.40pm PT

As with all turf races at the Breeders’ Cup, the place to start is the European challenge, as shippers have won six of the last ten runnings of the BC Juvenile Turf including the last two. The tourists this year come from just one place, Aidan O’Brien’s superpower barn in Ireland, and they dominate the top of the betting market.

Aidan O’Brien has won the race a record five times, although this year his very best juvenile colts are staying at home. Such is his strength in the division, though, that even his second echelon is high-class and Unquestionable (+150) is a worthy favourite, and arguably a better horse than O’Brien’s 2022 winner of this race.

Unquestionable has only won a maiden but his performances in defeat at G1 level give him a class edge. He was trying seven furlongs for the first time in the prestigious 2023 Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp and improved for the extra yardage, surging clear a furlong out and keeping on well but caught close home and beaten a length by a very good rival.

The fast turf should not be an issue and the likelihood is that stretching out again will bring further progress. His barnmate River Tiber (+400) is also going longer for the first time here, having done all his best work over six furlongs including when running out a tough-guy winner of the 2023 G2 Coventry at Royal Ascot.

He has more natural speed than Unquestionable and has also hit the board at G1 level, latterly in the six-furlong 2023 Middle Park at Newmarket when third behind Europe’s top sprint juvenile. If he can go a mile he will have just as solid a chance as the favourite, and O’Brien has a long history of getting the job done with an apparent second-string. On European ratings, there is nothing between the pair.

O’Brien’s third wheel Mountain Bear (+1000) lacks the class of his barnmates, and was zero-for-four in G2/G3 company before winning a seven-furlong stakes on the synthetic surface at Dundalk last time. The extra furlong should suit, however.

Carson’s ready to run

If the Europeans are all about stretching out their speed, the deep home defence has stamina in the bank – although that may make them vulnerable to those pacier shippers.

The only G1 winner in the field is Carson’s Run (+600), although that top-level score came in the 2023 Summer over a mile at Woodbine and Canadian form does not often stack up below the border. He was impressive, though, surging back-to-front to grab the lead and then pull away to beat the front-running My Boy Prince (+1300), for whom the mile may have been a step too far, by two and a quarter lengths.

It was a soft G1, but Carson’s Run had earlier missed by just a half-length in the 2023 G3 With Anticipation at Saratoga over a mile-sixteenth. He will be coming late on the scene and you know he will keep coming.

That goes too for Agate Road (+900), who needed every yard of the mile-sixteenth at Aqueduct when grinding out victory on his stakes debut in the 2023 G2 Pilgrim. He picked them up late and pulled a length and a quarter clear at the wire, turning back fellow closer Fulmineo (+2800) with the longshot Liam’s Journey (+5000) – a three-race maiden – a neck back in third after racing closer to the speed.

The close-up presence of Liam’s Journey suggests the form may not be that strong, and it is possible that Agate Road may find everything happening too quickly for him against sharper rivals.

With these immature types previous track experience can be a big positive, and the unbeaten Endlessly (+1000) – the only one here with a perfect record – has that safely under his belt after stretching his streak to three in the 2023 G3 Zuma Beach over this course and distance.

He did all his best work late, coming through to get the money by two and a quarter lengths with Grand Mo The First (+4500) a never-nearer third, beaten a further length and a quarter, and given that he is unbeaten there is no knowing his limit at this stage.

The other main prep was the 2023 G2 Bourbon at Keeneland over a mile-sixteenth, and that went the way of the 27-1 longshot Can Group (+1300), who is unbeaten in two since switching to the lawn.

He was making his stakes debut and stretching out beyond seven furlongs for the first time and the extra yardage was just what the doctor ordered. He finished off like a locomotive to beat the buzzer by a nose, with Tok Tok (+4500) a slightly unlucky fifth, two lengths further back after struggling for racing room at a vital stage, which may make Tok Tok an interesting possibility for ‘Hail Mary’ exotics players.

The question with every longshot winner is ‘can they do it again or was it just blind luck?’ and whichever is the case here, Can Group will still need to find further improvement if he is to figure.

Stay Hot (+3000) broke his maiden at the third attempt over course and distance but goes right in at the deep end now and could sink rather than swim, while Air Recruit (+3500) was visually very impressive when hauling off to win a mile-sixteenth stakes at Laurel Park by five and a half lengths, but it was a slow time and he makes little appeal given this mighty class hike.

2023 Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf Early Betting Prediction

Nothing leaps off the page from the home team and the Irish contingent look superior. Unquestionable has the better form but RIVER TIBER stretches right out for the first time and that may be the key to an improved performance.

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