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Predicting Breeders' Cup Juvenile Success

Shanghai Bobby Champagne 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
 
Graded stakes competitions for two year old colts and fillies are underway. Some of these races have a long, prestigious history. With the advent of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile races way back in 1984, a shift has taken place. While it's a selling point for breeders to have these races listed on a potential stallion or broodmare's resume, many owners and trainers aren't content to win “just” the Hopeful Stakes or Del Mar Debutante. The stakes races have become prep races along the path to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

With that in mind, let's take a look at the most formful two year old races that have produced the most winners in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile over the past twelve years.

Champagne Stakes (G-1) (1 mile) Belmont Park – one of the oldest and most prestigious races for two year olds in the U.S., the Champagne was held at 1 1/6 miles from 1994 – 2004. It was shortened to a mile in 2005. Eight of the last twelve years the winners/runners-up in the Champagne have won/placed in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Note that in 2008 and 2009 when the Juvenile was contested over the Pro-Ride that none of the dirt runners fared well.

YEAR
HORSE
Champagne
BCJ
2000
Point Given
2nd
2nd
2003
Chapel Royal
2nd
3rd
2004
Afleet Alex
2nd
2nd
2004
Sun King
3rd
3rd
2005
First Samurai
1st
3rd
2005
Henny Hughes
2nd
2nd
2007
War Pass
1st
1st
2007
Pyro
2nd
2nd
2010
Uncle Mo
1st
1st
2011
Union Rags
1st
2nd
2012
1st
1st


Dixiana Breeders Futurity (G-1) (1 1/16 miles) Keeneland - Formerly named the Lanes' End Breeders' Futurity (1997 – 2008), the race has been contested at 1 1/16 miles since 1981. The race has been contested over Polytrack since 2006. That was the first and only year the top three in the Dixiana swept the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

Year
Horse
Dixiana
BCJ
2001
Siphonic
1st
3rd
2006
Street Sense
3rd
1st
2006
Circular Quay
2nd
2nd
2006
Great Hunter
1st
3rd
2008
Square Eddie
1st
2nd
2009
Nobles Promise
1st
3rd
2012
11th
2nd


Frontrunner Stakes (G-1) (1 1/6 miles) Santa Anita – Formally known as the Norfolk Stakes (G-1) until 2011, the race was held during the Oak Tree Meet at Santa Anita until 2009. It moved to Hollywood Park for two years (2010 – 2011) then back to Santa Anita in 2012 and re-named. The race has been contested at 1 1/16 miles since 2002. It was held at a mile between 1997 – 2001. Originally a Grade 1 race, the designation was switched to a Grade 2 in 1993, but re-gained Grade 1 status in 2007. 2000-2006 (Dirt) 2007 (Cushion Track) 2008 -2009 (Pro-Ride) 2010 – 2012 (dirt).

Year
Horse
Frontrunner
BCJ
2000
Street Cry
2nd
3rd
2002
Kafwain
1st
2nd
2008
Midshipman
2nd
1st
2008
Street Hero
1st
3rd
2009
Lookin At Lucky
1st
2nd
2011
Creative Cause
1st
3rd
2012
3rd
3rd


Del Mar Futurity (G-1) (7F) Del Mar – Held on Polytrack since 2007.

Year
Horse
DM Futurity
BCJ
2003
Minister Eric
2nd
2nd
2005
Stevie Wonderboy
1st
1st


Kentucky Cup Juvenile (ungraded) (1 1/16 miles Turfway Park – Formerly a G-3 race and downgraded in 2009. The race wasn't held in 2009 – 2010 and 2012 due to economic constraints. The race has been contested on Polytrack since 2006.

Year
Horse
KCJ
BCJ
2001
Repent
1st
2nd
2002
Vindication
1st
1st
2011
Hansen
1st
1st

In the last twelve years, the winners and runners-up in three major races, the Champagne, Dixiana Breeders' Futurity and Frontrunner Stakes perform the best in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Don't forget the Europeans. Three European horses have won and one finished third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. 2001 – Johannesburg, 2004 – Wilko, 2009 - Vale of York – winners; 2002 – Hold That Tiger, third.

It's important to note that the East Coast horses have done very well in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita since the track switched back to dirt. Yes, the race is still almost three months away. However, keep an eye on the eventual winners of the above races for they will determine the shape of the Breeders' Cup and year end honors.

 

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Older Comments about Predicting Breeders' Cup Juvenile Success...

I have usually considered the Champagne and Norfolk as the primary preps for the BCJ. Keeneland with the synthetic surface has become almost irrelevant in dirt preps. They have a ton a good racing but looking to that track to produce dirt winners has not been productive for me. Good to know the East coast horses can hold up at SA.
comparing a baby to the Derby preppers is mostly luck
I thought Power Broker won the Frontrunner last year. Looks like most of the success has come from the Champagne recently.
I don't look at the 2year olds until they begin their 3 year old campaigns in the preps for the Derby.

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