Del Mar, Calif.
On a night when Breeders’ Cup-eve parties were in full swing in and around San Diego, a shockwave that was not of the natural variety in southern California created a big ripple in conversations ahead of U.S. racing’s biggest autumn event.
Jack Christopher, whose 2-for-2 record and big speed figures made him the morning-line favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, suffered a left-shin injury and will not be able to compete in Friday’s race at Del Mar, according to a social media announcement posted on behalf of the championships.
“BC Juvenile – Scratch #1 Jack Christopher,” said the Tweet posted on the Breeders’ Cup account Thursday at 10:19 p.m. EDT.
“Jack Christopher will be fine,” said a Thursday night Tweet from Bradley Weisbord representing the Bakke family, the lead partners in the horse. “Gutted for the ownership group led by the Bakke family, Liz Crow, (trainer) Chad Brown’s entire team and (jockey) José Ortiz.”
It was the second injury scratch in a matter of hours for one of Brown’s horses for the Breeders’ Cup. Also Thursday, Domestic Spending (4-1), a short-priced contender in the $4 million Turf, was sidelined with an inflammation in his left leg.
Jack Christopher came to Southern California on the momentum of the perfect start to his career in New York. After winning his six-furlong debut by 8 3/4 lengths at Saratoga, he scored again with his two-and-a-quarter-length triumph in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park. He came to Del Mar with a best Beyer Speed Figure of 102, according to Daily Racing Form, tops in the division.
The late exit means Corniche (5-2), the second morning-line choice who is widely regarded as trainer Bob Baffert’s best 2-year-old, will inherit the favorite’s role for the Juvenile. He still starts from the outside post against a field narrowed to 10 rivals.
The Juvenile is the ninth race on Friday’s card at Del Mar, which features five Breeders’ Cup races for 2-year-olds. The other nine races for older horses will be run Saturday.
Ron Flatter’s racing column is available every Friday at VSiN.com with more frequent articles this week during the Breeders’ Cup. The Ron Flatter Racing Pod is also available at VSiN.com/podcasts. This week features a pop-up episode available now with Las Vegas bookmakers Chris Andrews, Johnny Avello and Duane Colucci handicapping all 14 championship races. Friday’s regular episode features jockey Mike Smith, trainers Chad Brown, Brad Cox and Bill Mott, workout analyst Bruno de Julio and XBTV’s Zoe Cadman and Jeff Siegel. The RFRP is available for free subscription at iHeart, Apple, Google, Spotify and Stitcher. It is sponsored by 1/ST BET.