September 21, 2020

Horse-by-horse guide for Churchill Downs juvenile maidens on November 6

Shamrock Rose
(c) Churchill Downs/Coady Photography

Races with juveniles can be challenging to handicap and formulate opinions when the two-year-old talent has limited experience racing. Our writers have compiled talking points for each runner for most of such races for the fall meet.

Find Wednesday November 6th runners below for Churchill Downs!

Churchill Downs – Race 7: Maiden Special Weight

#1 PALACE COUP – Regally-bred colt was outrun going short in his debut, but stretchout and switch to turf nearly proved a winning combination during the September meet; from the family of prominent Canadian performers Eye of the Leopard, Deceptive Vision, and Desert Ride, he’s a potential Queen’s Plate candidate for next season and a logical contender here if he draws in.

#1A TOTAL DESTRUCTION – Half-brother to multiple G1-winning sprinter Ransom the Moon showed little in his debut at Keeneland; even though tag was hefty, it wasn’t exactly a vote of confidence to run him in a claimer right off the bat; entered for MTO despite some turf influences throughout the family; watching another.

#2 GAMBLER – Disappointed in that debut at Ellis as a 5-2 favorite and has since switched to the Catalano barn; by Quality Road, a 14% turf debut sire, he continues to flash speed in morning drills, most recently a near-bullet half-mile; better likely on the way.

#3 FINAL BREEZE – The addition of blinkers last time at Keeneland certainly sharpened his speed, but he faltered in the final eighth when the pressure increased late; a more effective finish first out when narrowly beaten by Sir Winsalot, subsequently an eye-catching allowance winner at Keeneland in the slop; can be thereabouts if he can avoid an early pace battle.

#4 DARK OAK – Switch to grass last time proved no disaster as he narrowly missed placing for a fourth consecutive time; however, it wasn’t as strong in comparison to his main track tries, specifically those at Indiana Grand; would arguably be a better fit on the dirt.

#5 QUERENCIA – Will Take Charge, champion 3yo colt of 2013, is a 10% turf debut sire; dam, a half to Grade 1 winners Roman Ruler and El Corredor, has produced multiple grass SW Sirenusa; Sharp barn gets 9% turf debut winners and 11% overall.

#6 LEMON DROP CANDY – Classic winner and champion Lemon Drop Kid an 11% debut sire with first turfers; dam was a stakes winner and placed in the Oak Leaf (G1) on dirt, though she did rear a Candy Ride colt who broke his maiden on the grass; $125K yearling hails from a barn that strikes at 6% first time on turf and overall.

#7 FAN FAVORITE – One of several in the field likely to show early zip, though removal of blinkers might temper his early enthusiasm; has earned some smaller checks in pair of turf outings, though horses that can’t graduate at Belterra not generally leading win candidates on this tougher circuit.

#8 CRUEL SUMMER – Only one placing to show from four starts thus far, and that was in an off-the-turf try at Ellis; failed to last this trip at Indiana Grand after setting a solid enough pace; the competition here will be stronger.

#9 SUMMER PALACE – Made up some ground late in that debut at Lingfield over an all-weather surface; familiar sire strikes at a 9% clip with first-time starters on the turf, while dam hails from the family of Irish champion Quarter Moon and her full sister, Irish 1000 Guineas (G1) and Breeders’ Cup-placer Yesterday; adds Lasix for strong T/J combo; likely threat.

#10 JUPESTAR – Little to recommend off that debut at the September meet; first-time turfers by G3-winning sire have struck at only 1%, though one of them was this colt’s full sister, Ambassador Luna, who’s won three times going 5f on the lawn including an N2X allowance here this past weekend.

#11 KIERKEGAARD – Only minor awards so far in a trio of outings, two of which were restricted to New York-breds; ostensibly a tougher race here, and gets fourth different rider; perhaps some improvement possible in first two-turn try, but leaning elsewhere for the top prize.

#12 KOKO STAR – Grass champ Kitten’s Joy a 13% turf debut sire; dam has produced the full siblings Csaba, a multiple G3 winner on dirt, and Kitten’s Queen, a G1-placed SW on the turf; the latter won on debut over the Matt Winn turf during the 2012 fall meet; undoubtedly worth a look if he gets in.

#13 LONGCLAW – Hard to argue with how solid that U.S. debut was in the KD Juvenile; beaten four lengths by Peace Achieved, who came back to win the Bourbon (G3), while runner-up Fenwick Station was a next-out Keeneland allowance winner on the grass; a leading threat if he draws in.

#14 CONQUISTADOR SHOW – Tizway a 15% turf debut sire and his graded-quality turf performers include Coasted, Ezmosh, and Way to Versailles; stakes-placed dam has reared a full sibling to this one, who won twice but not at all on the grass; few clues yielded from light worktab, though bullet gate work worthy of note.

#15 UNWAVERING – Received some support on the Stars of Tomorrow card, but quickly backed out around the far turn and trailed the field of 10; MTO candidate will add blinkers, but probably needs more than that here.