Breeders’ Cup Juvenile favorite Jack Christopher won’t run in Friday’s $2 million Juvenile, according to the Breeders’ Cup, which announced the scratch on Twitter late Thursday night.

Jack Christopher BC scratch
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile favorite and Champagne Stakes winner Jack Christopher was a late Thursday scratch from Friday’s $2 million race. (Image: Janet Garaguso/NYRA)

The 9/5 favorite for the 1 1/16-mile Juvenile was scratched due to a left shin issue, according to a tweet from Bradley Weisbord, the racing manager for co-owner Jim Bakke. Bakke co-owns the 2-year-old son of Munnings with Gerald Isbister, Coolmore Stud, and Peter Brant.

“Jack Christopher will be fine (L Shin),” Weisbord’s tweet read. “Gutted for the ownership group led by the Bakke family, Liz Crow, Chad Brown’s entire team, and Jose Ortiz. After an undefeated 2yo season, and a perfect month of preparation, we all know how hard it is to become a champion. See you in 2022.”

Brown, who trains Jack Christopher, endured a second gut-punch concerning his formidable Breeders’ Cup contingent. Earlier Thursday, he scratched turf standout Domestic Spending from the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf for inflammation in his foreleg.

Jack Christopher was considered the horse to beat in the Juvenile. He came into Del Mar 2-for-2, shipping in from Brown’s New York base after a resounding victory as the 8/5 favorite in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park. His 102 Beyer Speed Figure and 104 Equibase Speed Figure from that 2 ¾-length victory led the Juvenile field.

Jack Christopher vs. Corniche will have to wait

He represented the East half of the intriguing East-West battle between him and Bob Baffert’s $1.5 million Corniche. The pair bookended the field, with Jack Christopher starting on the rail and 5/2 Corniche on the far outside in post 12.

Even shelving the Baffert factor for the moment, this will depress Corniche’s odds significantly going into Friday’s Juvenile. Unlike Jack Christopher, Corniche actually navigated two turns before this race. He won October’s Grade 1 American Pharoah at Santa Anita over two turns, beating fellow Juvenile competitors Pappacap and Oviatt Class. That race – like the Juvenile – was 1 1/16 miles.

Jack Christopher didn’t formally work out at Del Mar. His last workout came on Oct. 29 at Belmont Park where he clocked 1:00.82 for five furlongs, the fastest of 20 at that distance that day.