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2023 Kentucky Derby Hopefuls: Forte Thrives In Breeders Cup While Others Struggle

The 2023 Kentucky Derby is still six months away, but several “Race for the Roses” hopefuls participated in the Breeders Cup. How did they fare?

2023 Kentucky Derby Hopefuls: Forte Thrives In Breeders Cup While Others Struggle

The 2023 Kentucky Derby is six months away. However, the Breeders Cup “Future Stars Friday” usually gives handicappers a sneak peek of some potential leading candidates to fill the 20 posts for “The Run for the Roses.” “Future Stars Friday” is a group of World Championship races for 2-year-olds, headlined by the Breeders Cup Juvenile.

The Kentucky Derby, of course, is the first major event for the top 3-year-olds. The 149th running of the Derby is set for May 6, 2023, at Churchill Downs (Lexington, KY).

This year the Road to the Kentucky Derby consists of 37 races, which is one more than last year. Twenty-one of the races will be part of the Kentucky Derby Prep Season, and 16 races for the Kentucky Derby Championship Season. The following are the results of yesterday’s Breeders Cup 2-year-old races.

 

Grade I Breeders Cup Turf Sprint

Irish-bred Mischief Magic overcame a slow start and was fifth in the stretch before overtaking fellow Irish horse Dramatised to win the first Breeders Cup race for 2-years in the Turf Sprint. Private Creed was the first American horse to cross the finish line, missing second place by a neck.

Speed Boat Beach, a potential Kentucky Derby participant, finished ninth. The son of Bayern got out of the gate quickly and pressed the pace but was bumped near the five-sixteenth pole and faded. Before the race, Speed Boat Beach won his previous two races, including Speakeasy Stakes (listed).

 

Grade 1 NetJets Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies

Wonder Wheel used an absolutely eye-catching rail rally, settling into 11th place after breaking from the gate before pulling away down the stretch to pull off an upset win. Wonder Wheel, who went off at 6.5-to-1 odds, has yet to finish worse than second in five starts, including four wins and two Grade I victories. 25-1 long shot Leave No Trace finished second, and Raging Sea was third.

 

Grade II Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf

Meditate gave the Europeans its second win of the Breeders Cup, with both coming on the grass. The Irish horse, a 2-to-1 favorite, shot up from eighth place to take the lead near the furlong marker and then drew clear.

Meditate won by over two furlongs and was followed by Pleasant Passage, who was ninth in the stretch. Cairo Consort edged out Irish horse Midnight Mile by a head for third.

 

Grade I FanDuel’s Breeders Cup Juvenile

The Breeders Cup Juvenile is the most important of the World Championships for the Kentucky Derby, as there is a rolling point system for the top five finishers. The points for the Juvenile were increased this year from 20-8-4-2 to 30-12-9-6-3.

Forte, who won the Breeders Cup Futurity, outdueled Cabe Rock down the stretch and crossed the finish line one and one-half lengths ahead of the overwhelming favorite. With the victory, Forte now leads the Road to Kentucky Derby standings with 40 points, as he already had 10 points for winning the Breeders’ Futurity last month.

Despite the disappointing finish, Cave Rock still picked up 12 points. It was his first loss in four career starts. National Treasure (9 points) finished third and was followed by Blazing Sevens and Curly Jack.

Blazing Sevens now has 16 points, as he won the Champagne Stakes in early October, and Curly Jack has 13 points. Verifying couldn’t add to his four points as he finished sixth in the race.

 

Grade I Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf

Irish colt Victoria Road took the rubber match of the afternoon as he out-finished Great Britain-bred Silver Knot to give the Europeans a 3-2 edge over their American counterparts in the five 2-year-old races on Friday. Victoria Road won by a nose.

There were several potential 2023 Kentucky Derby participants in the race. Nagirroc ran pretty well and finished third. Meanwhile, not much distance separated fourth place Mo Stash, fifth-place Battle of Normandy, sixth place Gaslight Dancer, seventh place Andthewinneris, eighth place PacksaWahlop, ninth place Major Dude, and 10 place I’m Very Busy.

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