Thursday, October 18, 2012

Breeders' Cup Winning Ways

Head LogoThe Breeders' Cup contests bring together the best horses in the United States and top European counterparts. These races can be very lucrative for handicappers. Since 2000, more than 65% of the winners have paid double digits. Multi-race wagers and exotics have paid thousands of dollars.

In the last decade, the Breeders’ Cup has been held at Santa Anita three times, 2003, 2009 and 2010. The 2003 edition was contested over dirt while the 2009 and 2010 versions were held over synthetic surfaces.

Below we’ll examine which running styles, prep races and track surfaces yield the most Breeders’ Cup winners in the Juvenile Divisions. Throughout next week we'll cover the rest of the races.



The Juvenile Sprint was held for the first time last year at Churchill Downs.

Prep Race:  Secret Circle prepped in the Jack Goodman Stakes at Santa Anita.


Running Style:  Secret Circle speed dueled with Trinniberg through opening fractions of :20.96 and :44.55. Secret Circle was in command by the ½ mile pole and held on to win the six furlong race by a length in 1:10.52.


Favorites:  Secret Circle was the favorite.


Europeans:  Shumoos, the only European based horse in the field, finished second.


HansenPrep Race:  The historic Champagne has proved to be the most form-full prep race for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. In 2007, War Pass and Pyro, the first two finishers in the Champagne, duplicated their placings in the Champagne. Uncle Mo pulled off the Champagne/Juvenile double and last year, Union Rags missed pulling off the feat by the narrowest margin.

The Norfolk is also a good gauge. Four of the last six horses that hit the board in the Norfolk (renamed the Frontrunner this year) have also hit the board in the Juvenile. When the Breeders' Cup was held at Santa Anita in 2003, Action This Day won his maiden over the Santa Anita dirt and then shocked the Breeders' Cup field with a victory.


Running Style:  In the last six years, two horses, War Pass and Hansen lead wire – to -wire. Two pace pressers won, while one mid-pack runner and one closer were victorious. In 2003 at Santa Anita, Action This Day sat in last place throughout much of the race, made his move through the stretch to win by 1 ½ lengths.


Favorites:  In the last six years, favorites have won only twice, while the other four placed second.

Pedigree matters too. Sprint-oriented precocious youngsters don’t usually fare well in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile or Juvenile Fillies.


Europeans:   Three Europeans, Arazi, Wilko and Vale of York have won the Juvenile. The later won over a synthetic surface.


mymissauriliaPrep Race:  In the last ten years, the Oak Leaf and Frizette Stakes have produced the most Juvenile Fillies winners.

The Matron Stakes gave us two Breeders' Cup winners, while the Summer Stakes and My Dear Girl each produced one winner. Only one filly in the last ten years didn't win her Breeders' Cup prep. In 2009, She Be Wild was second in the Alcibiades before winning over the Santa Anita Polytrack.


Running Style:  Four fillies pressed the pace, sitting either second – fourth before making their winning moves. Two fillies went wire to wire while one, Stardom Bound, made her run from the back of the pack. In 2003, Halfbridled sat on the outside in mid-pack before making her move in the stretch.


Favorites: Favorites won five of the last six editions of the Juvenile Fillies. 2009 post-time favorite Blind Luck finished third.


Europeans:  Five Europeans have raced in the Juvenile Fillies. None have hit the board and the best placing was last year's fifth place finisher, Questing.


wrotePrep Race: The Juvenile Turf has been contested five times. Four of the last five winners had their final prep overseas. Two raced in the Grand Criterium, one won while the other was second. The lone US based Juvenile Turf hero won the Bourbon Stakes in his previous start. Two of the four winners placed second and third in their final prep.


Running Style:  Two Juvenile Turf champs raced mid-pack before unleashing their stretch drive. A closer and pace presser also won.


Favorites: One favorite was successful while two ran second and one was unplaced.


Europeans:   The Europeans have proved to be a strong factor in the Juvenile Turf. 14 runners were entered in the last four years. Of those, three won, two were second and one placed third. Eight finished off of the board.


Stephanie's KittenPrep Race: The Juvenile Fillies' Turf has been contested four times. Two prep races stand out as key factors. The first two Fillies' Turf heroines, Maram and Tapitsfly, respectively won and placed in the Miss Grillo Stakes (G-3). The 2008 and 2009 Breeders' Cup events were held at Santa Anita.

The one mile Natalma (G-3) over the Woodbine green was instrumental in the victories of the next two Juvenile Fillies Turf winners. More Than Real placed second in the Natalma (G-3) in 2010 before succeeding in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. Last year, Stephanie's Kitten was third in the Natalma. Stephanie's Kitten squeezed in a victory in the Alcibiades (G-1) over the Keeneland Polytrack before posting her win in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.


Running Style:  All four winners sat in fifth place or farther back before unleashing their stretch runs.


Favorites:  All four fillies paid double digits to win. In all but one instance, the favorite for the Juvenile Fillies Turf finished out of the money.


Europeans: Out of 12 European fillies to contest the four editions of the Juvenile Fillies' Turf, only one finished in the money.



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