ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) — It has been a chaotic week for Shanghai Bobby.
His flight from New York to the Breeders’ Cup was delayed by Hurricane Sandy. His ownership changed with the renowned Coolmore Stud spending an undisclosed sum to buy a 50 percent stake in the 2-year-old colt with the 4-for-4 record.
He gets the opportunity Saturday to nail down the division championship in the $2 million Juvenile, a race that stamps the winner as a leading contender for next season’s Triple Crown.
And he’ll have to do it without Lasix. The Breeders’ Cup has banned the diuretic commonly used to treat respiratory bleeding from all 2-year-old races. Shanghai Bobby ran on Lasix in all four starts.
“I don’t think that’s going to be a problem,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “It’s uncharted waters, but he’s never shown any sign of bleeding.”
It’s a lot to pile on a youngster. So far, Shanghai Bobby has taken everything in stride.
“He seems to be handling everything we throw at him, steps up in class, steps up in distance” Pletcher said. “So we’ll try one more time.”
The 2-1 favorite had his first gallop around Santa Anita on Thursday morning. Pletcher had booked a flight on Tuesday but the superstorm postponed the departure by a day.
Afterward, Pletcher reflected on the development of a colt who showed promise even before he ran. Pletcher sent Shanghai Bobby to his father, Jake, for early schooling in Ocala, Fla.
The reports all came back positive.
“He told me early on that he liked the colt, that he liked the way he was training,” Pletcher said. “We’ve found that’s a pretty good sign. When they handle their initial training well, are intelligent and sound and catch on to everything are often the best ones.”
Shanghai Bobby got an early start, winning his debut at Aqueduct in April. He hasn’t skipped a beat since, winning the Hopeful and Champagne Stakes in his last two races.
The only setback was a minor illness that knocked him out of the Saratoga Special in August.
“The morning of that race he got a temperature,” Pletcher said. “It cost us a couple of days, but now looking back on it, it was a blessing.”
Shanghai Bobby’s biggest asset is his willingness to listen to jockey Rosie Napravnik. Many talented babies are headstrong and insist on galloping along full tilt. Shanghai Bobby will sit behind horses and wait for Napravnik’s cue.
“He’s done it all while continuing to physically mature,” Pletcher said.
Pletcher is looking for his second Juvenile win. He won in 2010 with Uncle Mo, who was 3 for 3 after his Breeders’ Cup victory.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, a two-time Juvenile winner, sends out two runners in an effort to derail Shanghai Bobby. It could be an inside-outside double team.
While Shanghai Bobby breaks from post No. 4, Baffert has Title Contender, 6-1 on the rail and Power Broker, the 5-2 second choice from the outside stall, post No. 9.
Baffert said Title Contender will force the issue.
“He’s a high cruiser,” Baffert said. “He’s got that natural speed. We’re down in the 1-hole with him, so we’ve all but got to go.”
Power Broker was a dominant 6½-length winner from a similar outside post in his latest start, Santa Anita’s Front Runner Stakes.
NOTES: The Breeders’ Cup kicks off Friday with six stakes: the $500,000 Juvenile Sprint, the $500,000 Marathon, the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf, the $2 million Juvenile Fillies, the $2 million Filly & Mare Turf and the $2 million Ladies’ Classic. The first BC race goes at 4:06 EDT.
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