Eight Rings winning the American Pharoah Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita - © BENOIT PHOTO

Eight Rings winning the American Pharoah Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita – © BENOIT PHOTO

The $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) is shaping up to be a stellar race.

There are plenty of promising 2-year-olds targeting the November 2 championship race at Santa Anita. Just last week we witnessed a couple impressive performances from up-and-coming youngsters with the pedigrees to succeed over classic distances.

It’s a testament to the quality of the division that a horse as fast and accomplished as Dennis’ Moment can be ranked third in my latest Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Top 5. Am I crazy? Check out my latest rankings and decide for yourself.

  1. Eight Rings

Eight Rings might be a little quirky, but he has also shown flashes of brilliance. His frontrunning victory in the American Pharoah Stakes (G1) over the same track and distance as the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile was a step in the right direction. He cruised home by six lengths, posted a solid 87 Beyer, and his frontrunning speed is an asset over the tiring, speed-favoring track at Santa Anita.

  1. Maxfield

Maxfield looked spectacular when he won the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland. After a slow break the son of Street Sense unleashed a sensational rally on the extreme outside an swept past rivals with astonishing speed to strike the front at the top of the stretch. From there he powered clear to score by 5 1/2 lengths with an 86 Beyer. Unleashing such a bold rally and sustaining it through the stretch speaks volumes for Maxfield’s stamina and ability.

  1. Dennis’ Moment

With a 97 Beyer in his maiden win and a 90 Beyer from his victory in the Iroquois Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs, Dennis’ Moment ranks as the fastest member of his foal crop. He was actually eased up at the finish of the Iroquois, so his 1 3/4-length margin of victory might have been greater if he’d been hard-ridden to the wire. He’s shown some versatility in terms of running style and should adapt to any pace scenario in the Juvenile.

  1. Scabbard

While he advanced up the rail in the Iroquois Stakes, Scabbard encountered traffic on the far turn and had to steady sharply, which caused him to fall from three lengths off the pace to at least six lengths back. Despite this obstacle Scabbard re-rallied strongly to finish clearly second best. This was an improvement off his runner-up effort in the Saratoga Special (G2) at 6 1/2 furlongs, and with a clean trip in the Juvenile, Scabbard might take another step forward.

  1. American Theorem

Although he was no match for Eight Rings in the American Pharoah Stakes, American Theorem took a nice step forward off his debut win at Del Mar. He gamely chased the favorite all the way around the track to finish second, and it’s possible 1 1/16 miles is stretching the limits of American Theorem’s stamina. He lost ground through the final furlong of the American Pharoah, but he has shown a lot of talent and could improve now that he has a run around two turns under his belt.