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Flightline, with jockey Flavien Prat, wins The Hill ‘N’ Dale Metropolitan horse race before the Belmont Stakes on June 11, 2022, at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Flightline, with jockey Flavien Prat, wins The Hill ‘N’ Dale Metropolitan horse race before the Belmont Stakes on June 11, 2022, at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Only 14 days until the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland begins with Juvenile Friday, the day the 2-year-olds get the opportunity to shine.

There are many intriguing matches on tap for the two-day event that started as a one-day affair in 1984 at Hollywood Park: Flightline vs. Life Is Good and Epicenter in the $6 million Classic; the Nest vs. Malathaat showdown in the Distaff; and War Like Goddess against the boys in the Turf.

Here are the 10 horses I’m most excited to see run this year at Keeneland, starting the Terrific Ten with No. 10 and counting down to the horse I’m most excited to see run:

10. Speed Boat Beach

This guy epitomizes the word fast, and if he breaks well in the Juvenile Turf Sprint, he figures to be long gone. One interested observer believes this colt’s best race was his debut on dirt when he set the 5½-furlong record at Del Mar by winning in 1:01.86 on Sept. 10.

9. Hot Rod Charlie

A model of consistency, the 4-year-old son of Oxbow has finished in the money in 12 of his 16 starts. The Classic will be the toughest field he’s faced and he belongs in everyone’s exotic bets, including exactas, trifectas and superfectas.

8. Going to Vegas

This is the swan song for the 5-year-old mare who will give the Filly and Mare Turf a try again after finishing a disappointing 12th last fall at Del Mar. She’s scheduled to be part of the Fasig-Tipton sale after the Breeders’ Cup.

7. C Z Rocket

The 8-year-old gelding has still got it, finishing a strong second in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship on Oct. 1 at Santa Anita. Trainer Peter Miller told the Daily Racing Form he will cross-enter C Z Rocket in the Sprint and Dirt Mile, but he’s leaning heavily toward the Sprint.

6. War Like Goddess

A 5-year-old daughter of English Channel, the Bill Mott-trained mare has won three of four starts this year with a second thrown in. Was third in last year’s Filly and Mare Turf and this year will step up and take on the boys in the Turf.

5. Malathaat

The 2001 Kentucky Oaks winner, third in last year’s Distaff, is a year older and figures to be one of the ones to beat at Keeneland on Nov. 5. Trained by Todd Pletcher, she has won three of five in 2022 with two seconds.

4. Taiba

This guy has a ton of talent, winning the Santa Anita Derby in only his second start, finishing 12th in the Kentucky Derby and putting it all together with a second in the Haskell and a victory in the Travers. He’s in tough in the Classic, but definitely is a strong bet to finish in the money.

3. Nest

This year’s Kentucky Oaks winner, she figures to go postward as the favorite in the Distaff, where she’ll meet Malathaat. Trained by Pletcher, she’s won three of five this year, including three consecutive.

2. Cave Rock

He could very well be the Kentucky Derby favorite next spring, judging by how he’s won his first three races, including the Grade I Del Mar Futurity and Grade I American Pharoah Stakes, by a combined 16½ lengths. He could be something special.

1. Flightline

Speaking of special, this 4-year-old son of Tapit has won his five races by a combined 62¾ lengths. If he is anywhere near as dominant against what is shaping up as a talented Classic as he was in the Pacific Classic, he’ll go down as one of the greatest to ever run.

Follow Art Wilson at @Sham73

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