Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies: By the Numbers
Since its inception, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) has been the highlight of the season for two-year-old females. Here is a look at the race by the numbers.
Those were Meadow Star’s odds in the 1990 Juvenile Fillies. No horse had started at shorter odds, even as part of a joint entry, but Meadow Star was sent out at those odds after winning her first six races, including three Grade 1 contests. Settling midfield on the outer, she cruised up to the leaders on the turn and raced away for a five-length victory. It was a deep field for the Juvenile Fillies as it also produced future Hall of Famers Dance Smartly and Flawlessly, and Meadow Star’s great three-year-old rival, Lite Light.
The number of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winners whose dams also won the race. Storm Flag Flying always attracted attention given that she was by Storm Cat out of My Flag, the 1995 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner who was by Easy Goer out of the undefeated mare Personal Ensign. However, she quickly gained attention for her own deeds. She arrived at the Breeders’ Cup having won all three of her starts, including the Matron S. (G1) by 12 3/4 lengths. Bob Baffert’s filly Composure headed Storm Flag Flying in the stretch, but the royally-related filly fought back to win by a half-length. Storm Flag Flying would later win the Personal Ensign H. (G1) and was an unlucky second in the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).
In its 37-year history, only four Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winners have failed to be crowned with the Eclipse Award for champion two-year-old filly. In 1985, three-time Grade 1 winner Family Style got the award ahead of Twilight Ridge, who beat her at the Breeders’ Cup. The same happened in 1995, with the Eclipse going to Golden Attraction, whose sole loss to My Flag in four starts came in the Juvenile Fillies. Chilukki won the Eclipse Award in 1999, her only loss in seven two-year-old races coming to outsider Cash Run at the Breeders’ Cup. The most recent time was 2013, when Eclipse Award winner She’s a Tiger was first past the post but was disqualified and placed second in the Juvenile Fillies behind Ria Antonia.
D. Wayne Lukas’ record number of victories in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. The Hall of Famer won the second Juvenile Fillies in 1985 with Twilight Ridge, and was back in the winner’s circle with Open Mind in 1988. Flanders (1994) and Cash Run (1999) earned him the spoils in the 1990s, and Folklore became winner number five for him in 2005. The most recent came in 2014 with longshot Take Charge Brandi. Lukas’s wins came for five different owners, with only Eugene Klein scoring twice with Twilight Ridge and Open Mind – two of seven Breeders’ Cup winners for Klein, all of whom Lukas trained.
The record winning margin in lengths in the Juvenile Fillies, set by Countess Diana in 1997. A homebred for Richard Kaster, Countess Diana started the Juvenile Fillies a 2-1 favorite after winning four of her first five races. The odds about her looked generous as Shane Sellers guided her to the lead coming into the final turn, and she saw off Career Collection with a dazzling turn of foot at the top of the stretch. Her Experimental Free Handicap figure of 125 was the highest for a filly since First Flight 1946 and has only been matched by Songbird in 2015, but she never won another black-type race.
The number of favorites to take the Juvenile Fillies in its 37-year history. Two of those were part of entries coupled in betting: Twilight Ridge was part of a three-horse entry that started at odds of 3-5 for Lukas when she won in 1985, and the same trainer produced Open Mind to win as part of a five-horse entry at 7-10 in 1988. Favorites were particularly dominant between 2002 and 2011, winning nine of the 10 editions. By 2011 favorites had a strike rate of 61%. Since then, however, the only victorious favorite was Songbird (3-5) in 2015.
Take Charge Brandi, at odds of 61.70-1 in 2014, ranks as the highest-priced Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner. But that was nearly topped in the very first edition of the race. Fran’s Valentine was totally unwanted at 74.80-1 in the 1984 Juvenile Fillies after finishing fourth in the Oak Leaf S. (G1) in her final lead-up. She put that form well behind her when getting to the post 1 1/2 lengths clear of Outstandingly, but she was disqualified and placed 10th of 11 after interfering with Pirate’s Glow and Bessarabian at the top of the stretch. Fran’s Valentine proved her run was no fluke the following season, winning three Grade 1 contests including the Kentucky Oaks.
The value in dollars of the Juvenile Fillies. The race began as a $1 million contest in 1984 before being doubled in value in 2005. Despite there being no increase since then, it’s still the richest top-level juvenile race for fillies in the world, higher than Japan’s $1.34 million Hanshin Juvenile Fillies (G1).