Munnings and That Bird Seek BC Glory

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All three of the Maiden Watch girls (Renda, Be Smart, and C. S. Silk) were pace factors on Friday, but none were around at the finish. The best showing was C. S. Silk's 7th place finish in the Juvenile Fillies.

So, it's up to Munnings and Mine That Bird to secure Breeders' Cup glory for Maiden Watch.

Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I)
October 25, 2008

Oak Tree at Santa Anita Race 5
1 1/16 miles
2-year Olds
Post Time: 3:55 PM ET ESPN

P Horse
1. Munnings
2. Gallant Son
3. Terrain
4. Square Eddie
5. Azul Leon
6. Silent Valor
scr Elusive Bluff
8. Street Hero
9. Mine That Bird
10. Pioneerof the Nile
11. Midshipman
12. Bushranger (IRE)
13. West Side Bernie

Munnings (Speightstown - La Comete by Holy Bull) broke his maiden impressively first time out at Saratoga on July 26. He then finished 3rd in the Hopeful (gr. I), after stumbling at the start, on September 1, and then 2nd in the Champagne (gr. I) on October 4. Since then, he has had one work at Santa Anita on October 19. On that day, he worked 5 furlongs in :59.60 in company with his stablemate Silent Valor. Munnings got the best of Silent Valor in that work. From his number 1 post, I would expect Munnings to set the early pace.

Mine That Bird (Birdstone - Mining My Own by Smart Strike) finished 5th in his debut on July 20, coming out slowing and then passing a couple of tired ones. Since then, he has rolled off 4 straight wins, including victories in the Silver Deputy, the Swynford, and the Grey Stakes (Can-III). The last race was at 1 1/16 miles, the same distance as the Juvenile. All of his races were over the Woodbine Polytrack. Mine That Bird worked at Santa Anita on October 20, going 5 furlongs in :59.80. Mine That Bird gets little respect on the morning line, but he will be running late and we have already seen how closers have prospered in the Breeders' Cup. Chantal Sutherland, who has ridden in him all three of his stakes wins, retains the mount.

Another runner with 4 wins who will get little attention at the windows is Gallant Son (Malabar Gold - Explicitly by Exploit), who has done all of his running at Emerald Downs. He broke his maiden in his 2nd start, and then won three straight stakes (does this sound familiar?), the Premio Esmeraldo, the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Lads Stakes, and the Gottstein Futurity on September 27. The last race was a mile and a sixteenth. He has worked twice at Santa Anita since his last win, including a bullet six furlong work on October 19. He certainly is the best the Northwest has to offer, but is that good enough to get the Breeders' Cup victory?

The only other entrant with 4 wins is the Irish colt, Bushranger (Danetime (IRE) - Danz Danz (GB) by Efisio (GB)). Bushranger won his debut on June 5 and has faced nothing but stakes company since. His last three starts have been in group I company, as he finished 3rd in the Independent Waterford Wedgwood Phoenix on July 27, and then won the Darley Prix Morny on August 24, and the Shadwell Middle Park Stakes on October 3. Finishing behind him in the Darley Prix Morny was Lord Shanakill (Speightstown). Bushranger has never been on a synthetic track, but he has won on firm and yielding turf. He has also never been farther than 6 furlongs.

Square Eddie (Smart Strike - Forty Gran by El Gran Senor), who was bred in Ontario, Canada, also did his early running in Europe. He broke his maiden in his 3rd start at 6 furlongs on the turf on July 22. He then ran 2nd in the Toteswinger Sirenia Stakes (Eng-III) on the all-weather surface at Kempton Park on September 6. Square Eddie then came to America, making his next start in the mile and a sixteenth Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. I) at Keeneland on October 4. In that race, he romped by 4. Since that race, he's had one work at Santa Anita, at 6 furlongs on October 18. In Europe, Bushranger was held in much higher regard than Square Eddie. Does that mean that Bushranger will romp in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile? Or, is Square Eddie a different animal stretching out on the all-weather surface?

Finishing 2nd and 3rd in Square Eddie's Lane's End Breeders' Futurity were Terrain (Sky Mesa - Minery by Forty Niner) and Pioneerof the Nile (Empire Maker - Star of Goshen by Lord At War (ARG)). Terrain was undefeated before the Breeders' Futurity. He broke his maiden at Churchill Downs on July 3, and then won the Mountaineer Juvenile Stakes on August 2. His third victory came via disqualification, as he was awarded the win in the Arlington-Washington Futurity after crossing the line in 3rd. He has had one work since the Breeders' Futurity, working 4 furlongs in :48.40 at Keeneland on October 18. Pioneerof the Nile's previous 2 starts were on the Saratoga turf. In his debut on August 4, he was 4th behind deadheat winners Ninth Client and Skipadate. Ninth Client and Skipadate are entered in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. Pioneerof the Nile's maiden victory came August 25. He has worked once since the Breeders' Futurity, going 5 furlongs at Keeneland in 1:00.40.

Street Hero (Street Cry (IRE) - Squall Linda by Summer Squall) and Midshipman (Unbridled's Song - Fleet Lady by Avenue of Flags), the leading West Coast contenders, have faced off three times. Midshipman won the first two meetings, a maiden race at Del Mar on August 17, and the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) on September 3. However, in the Norfolk (gr. I) at Santa Anita on September 28, Street Hero finished in front. That was Street Hero's frist and only victory, although he has finished in the money in all 5 of his starts. Street Hero last worked on October 19 at Santa Anita. Midshipman, whose only defeat was in the Norfolk, worked 6 furlongs in 1:12.20 on October 19 at Santa Anita.

Also coming out of the Norfolk are Silent Valor (Lion Heart - Few Choice Words by Valid Appeal), who was 5th and Azul Leon (Lion Heart - Quick Blue by Cure the Blues) who was 6th. Both of these are by first-crop sire Lion Heart. Silent Valor made his debut back on April 18 at Keeneland, where he was defeated by Run Away and Hide, who went on to win Kentucky Stakes (gr. III) and the Saratoga Special (gr. II). Silent Valor then broke his maiden by 6 in the slop at Belmont on May 16 and took the Sapling Stakes (gr. III) at Monmouth on August 31. He may improve in his second start on the Pro-Ride, but he was outworked by his stablemate Munnings on October 19. Azul Leon was undefeated before the Norfolk. After taking his maiden on May 8 at Hollywood, he won the Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes (gr. III) on July 5. He was then awarded the victory in the Best Pal at Del Mar on August 10, after the disqualification of Kelly Leak. Azul Leon has had two works since the Norfolk, including 6 furlongs in 1:14.40 at Santa Anita on October 18.

Completing the field is the undefeated West Side Bernie (Bernstein - Time Honored by Gilded Time), who won his debut on August 28 at Monmouth Park, and then scored in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile at Turfway Park on September 27. Second in that race was Retap, who was also second to Terrain in the Mountaineer Juvenile Stakes. West Side Bernie has worked a couple of times at Santa Anita, including 4 furlongs in :47.60 on October 18.

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