My favorite BC Juvenile is the one I actually got to see in person. Or close to it. I attended the 2006 BC at Churchill Downs, where it was cold but sunny, and Bernardini got his ass handed to him by INVASOR. In true Infield fashion (or close to it, since the actual Infield was not open on BC day), I got up at the crack of dawn and stood in line an hour to snag a prime spot on the rail of the paddock. I even got a bench! Wooot! All day long, I stood on the bench, leaned on the back of it, even balanced precipitously on its very top to take slightly blurry photos of the contenders as they walked around the ring.
Before the 2nd race, I spied Carl Nafzger in the paddock, waayy over to the side in the #1 saddling box. I snapped a quick picture of him getting Street Sense ready and then turned my attention to Great Hunter, who I was rooting for after his win in the Keeneland Lane’s End Futurity. Somewhere in all my scads of pictures I have the one of Carl.
I stood on the bench as the horses went to post, and watched (the paddock jumbotron) with glee as the horse from the #1 hole galloped away with the whole thing. Street Sense had won so easily, Calvin Borel loved him so much, I just fell in love with the colt, too! Great Hunter remained a favorite of mine, despite his 3rd place finish, but I vowed to return to Churchill the next spring to watch Street Sense try and break the Juvy Jinx.
I kept my promise, and 6 months after his rail-skimming Juvy victory, Street Sense repeated that trip in the Kentucky Derby, in front of 150,000+ people, me in the infield, and the Queen in the grandstand. It was awesome. I cashed a nice ticket with him, too.
Street Sense tried to break another jinx as well, the BC Juvy-BC Classic jinx, but he faltered last fall, running 4th to Curlin in the slop at Monmouth. He now resides at Darley in Lexington KY. One of these days I’ll get around to see him again, and tell him I was there for his 2 best trips around Churchill Downs!