Keys to handicapping the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies

Keys to handicapping the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies
Photo: Candice Chavez/Eclipse Sportswire

The Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies has proven one of the most difficult races to handicap among the five events for 2-year-olds. In the last decade, the favorite or second-favorite has finished out of the exacta five times, leading to lucrative payouts.  

Breeders' Cup winners and the Kentucky Oaks

The winner of the Juvenile Fillies is usually in the pole position to take home the year-end championship at the Eclipse Awards. But in the last decade, only three winners of the Juvenile Fillies has even gone on to run in the Kentucky Oaks. The best finish was with Beholder, who finished second in the 2013 Kentucky Oaks.

Only two fillies have completed the Breeders' Cup-Kentucky Oaks double: Open Mind in 1988  and Silverbulletday 1998.

Notes about Del Mar

At only 919 feet, the Del Mar stretch is the shortest of all the Breeders' Cup host tracks. For comparison, Santa Anita is 990 feet, and Lone Star is 950 feet. The shorter stretch gives horses that are closer to the lead the advantage.

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at a glance

All stats are for the last decade (2011-20)

Division Debut: 1984

Key Race Prep Winners

Frizette Stakes (G1) — Echo Zulu

Chandelier (G2) — Ain't Easy

Alcibiades (G1) — Juju’s Map


Average win payout: $35.46

Lowest: $3.20 Songbird (2015)

Highest: $125.40 Take Charge Brandi (2014)


20 percent win

30 percent in the money

Last to win: Songbird (2015)

Del Mar in 2017: The favorite, Moonshine Memories, contested the pace from the rail and tired in the stretch to finish seventh.

Second Favorite:

20 percent win

30 percent in the money

Last to win: British Idiom (2019)

Post Position: 

Post 6 – Two winners

Post 10 - Two winners

Posts 1, 2, 4, 7, 9, and 12 — One each

Rail:  The rail has proven difficult to overcome, with only one winner in the last decade, Beholder in 2012. Since the race's inception, there have been five winners from the inside stall.

Del Mar in 2017: Winner Caledonia Road broke from post No. 12, the runner up from post No. 9, and third-place finisher from post No. 5.

Winning style – determined by position at the half-mile:

5 Pacesetter –wired the field.

2 Presser/setter – within a half-length of the pacesetter.

1 Presser –one to four lengths behind the pacesetter.

2 Closer – five or more lengths behind the pacesetter.

Del Mar in 2017: Winner Caledonia Road closed from ninth place with a five-wide move. Second-place pressed the pace, took over by the three-quarter pole and couldn't hold off the the winner. Third-place closed from last.

Previous Starts:

3 winners were undefeated.

4 winners had four previous starts.

3 winners had three previous starts.

2 winners had two previous starts.

1 winner had five previous starts.

Prep Races:

5 Juvenile Fillies winners won their final prep.

5 winners prepped in the Frizette Stakes (G1).

2 prepped in the Chandelier Stakes (G2).

2 prepped in the Alcibiades Stakes (G1).

1 prepped an allowance race.

Del Mar in 2017:

Winner Caledonia Road was second in the Frizette Stakes (G1).

Second-place finisher Alluring Star was second in the Chandelier Stakes (G1)

Third-place finisher Blonde Bomber won the Our Dear Peggy Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Meet Laurie Ross

 HRN Pedigree Analyst 


 Published Author

 Pedigree Research/Consultation/Sales 

 ThoroFan Board Member

 Member – NTWAB

Through hands-on work at barns, I learned valuable lessons about Thoroughbred conformation, gait, and temperament and later worked withThoroughbred rescue/re-train organizations. I have committed my passion for horses to the intensive study of pedigree and breeding theory for the last 20 years. 

I support clients with all aspects of pedigree/breeding analysis, research, sales, catalogue review, and recommendations on claims or private sales. Clients include national leading owners, racing/breeding syndicates, the little guy with one mare, and everyone in between. 10-20% of all proceeds are donated to Thoroughbred rescue & retraining groups. Check out my website, Iron Maidens Thoroughbreds, and the IMTBreds blog.

I welcome your questions regarding pedigree, handicapping, and breeding. If you would like me to cover a specific topic, please contact me. 

Twitter: @IMTBreds
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