Kentucky Derby aspirants vie in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile [Horse Racing]

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After breaking his maiden in April, Shanghai Bobby took a couple of months off before returning to win the Track Barron at Belmont (Jun. 27) and earned a Brisnet speed figure of 103. After another two-month layoff, the son of Harlan’s Holiday returned to take the Hopeful Stakes (G2) (Sept. 3) by nearly four lengths over fellow-Breeders’ Cup Juvenile contender, Fortify. In his last start, the Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont (Oct. 6), Shanghai Bobby beat his nearest rival by five lengths in the one mile test. Jockey Rosie Napravnik, who has been aboard for all four victories, retains the mount.

Fortify, who has faced Shanghai Bobby in two of his three lifetime starts, may have the upper-hand in Saturday’s meeting. For the first time, all runners in Breeders ‘Cup juvenile races will not be allowed to use any race-day medication, most notably the anti-bleeder medication Lasix. According to a statement Pletcher made in a national media call last month, Shanghai Bobby hasn’t trained without Lasix, much less ran a race without it. Fortify, on the other hand, has never used it.

Fortify has never finished off the board and has appeared in two stakes, the Champagne and the Hopeful where he met his fate to Shanghai Bobby. Although trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has found Breeders’ Cup victory in the past (Lahudood, 2007 and Invasor, 2006), he finished second in his only Breeders’ Cup Juvenile attempt (Henny Hughes, 2005). Jockey Ramon Dominguez will be in the irons as Fortify tries to give McLaughlin his first Breeders’ Cup Juvenile victory.

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