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Does Winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Ensure an Eclipse?

We all know how important the Breeders’ Cup races have become in the determination of the end of the year Eclipse Awards. Since the first year in 1984, the winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies  has won the Eclipse Award for two-year-old fillies in all but three of the 28 years.  
Are the Breeders’ Cup winners just getting rubber stamped as Eclipse champions or are the fields in these races really that strong? I did some research into the competition in the Juvenile Fillies races and I think you will be impressed with the fillies who ran in, but did NOT win the race. This is not meant to be a complete list, so let me know if I omitted any of your favorites.
Ashado (2003) earned over $3.9 million and was the champion female as a three and four year-old. She won seven grade ones including the 2004 BC Distaff.
Blind Luck (2009) won $3.2 million, six grade one stakes, and the 2010 three year-old championship.
Cara Rafaela (1999) won the Kentucky Oaks and the Mother Goose. As a broodmare she produced the great sire Bernardini.
Champagne D'oro (2009) won the Acorn and the Test at three.
Chilukki (1999) is one of three to have lost the race but she was still named two year-old champion. She took home purses of $1,200,000.
 Watch the amazing field in the 1999 edition, which was run at Gulfstream Park.
Dance Smartly (1990) won the Canadian Triple Crown and Horse of the Year. With $3.2 million in earnings she got into the Hall of Fame.
Educated Risk (1993) was a winner of $1,600,000 and seven graded stakes.
Family Style (1985) was the first non-winner to still get the Eclipse anyway.
Flawlessly (1990) is in the Hall of Fame after winning two turf championships and $2.5 million.
Flat Fleet Feet (1995) won three graded stakes and over $700,000.
Golden Attraction (1995) was another filly named juvenile champion after losing the Breeders’ Cup. She won five graded stakes.
Grace Hall (2011) won the Spinaway and the Gulfstream and Delaware Oaks.
Heavenly Prize (1993) won eight grade ones, $1.8 million, and the three year-old championship in 1995.
Octave (2006) won the Mother Goose and the CCA Oaks in her three year-old season.
Persistently (2008) won the 2010 Personal Ensign defeating Rachel Alexandra.
Proud Spell (2007) would become the three year-old champion in 2008 with over $2 million in earnings.
Questing (2011) is a contender for the three year-old filly championship in 2012 after wins in the CCA Oaks and Alabama.
R Heat Lightning (2010) won the Spinaway and then two grade two stakes at Gulfstream at three.
Sacahuista (1986) won the 1987 BC Distaff and Eclipse Award.
Serena's Song (1994) was a three year-old champion and a Hall of Famer with winnings over $3.2 million and 13 grade one wins.
Sharp Lisa (2004) was a winner of three graded stakes in California.
Spain (1999) raced as a five year-old earning $3.5 million. She also won the 2000 BC Distaff.
Surfside (1999) became the three year-old champ in 2000 and she went on to win $1,800,000.
You (2001) earned over $2 million as she won five grade ones including the Santa Anita Oaks, the Acorn, and the Test.
Xtra Heat (2000) became the champion three year-old filly and made $2.3 million while racing as a five year-old.
This is a list of many of the finest fillies to run in the past 28 years. A lot of them were millionaires, several won the BC Distaff in their next racing year, while others became champions, and some have even joined the Hall of Fame. Clearly, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies has the finest fields of female runners and it is not a surprise that the race has produced 25 of the past 28 Eclipse Award winners. 


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Older Comments about Does Winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Ensure an Eclipse?...

That Test that You won over Carson Hollow is still one of the greatest races I've seen.
Sorry, Brian, it pained me to mention that running of the Personal Ensign.
I think with it being the juveniles that we're talking about, the strongest field they face all year is usually at the Breeders' Cup, so it doesn't surprise me that the winner is usually the Eclipse champion, too.
  • kentuckyderbypost · I can agree with that. Always a tough eclipse award because there are so few races to judge (generally 2-3 stakes at the most). So yeah the BC Juv Fillies is the race that gets the most consideration for who the Eclipse will go to · 1650 days ago
the sample error that is the Breeder's CUp has often crowned one race wonders.
Did you really have to include Persistently on this list, Matt?

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Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently serves as Assistant Editor. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.


Matt’s articles and tweets frequently appear in the America’s Best Racing weekly Notebook. In 2012 he became a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.


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