Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf races: By the Numbers
The addition of three Breeders’ Cup turf races for Juveniles has provided a much-needed end of season climax for two-year-old grass runners. Here is a look at those races by the numbers.
The number of winners of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) that did not lead from the start. Getting the best of the jump has been the key factor for all three editions of the race, and produced victories for Bulletin, Four Wheel Drive, and Golden Pal. It might be a reason why no European-trained runners have got close to winning to date; they are all used to racing on straight courses, where the need to jump out and get near the front are not as important as on a turning track.
The number of horses to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) that won Grade 1 or Group 1 races afterwards. Despite attracting a high-class field of juvenile colts and geldings each year, the only winner that went on to success at the highest level after the race was the 2016 winner Oscar Performance. The son of Kitten’s Joy was a top-class performer, however, winning two Grade 1 races as a three-year-old and another at four.
The number of European-trained fillies to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) in its 13-year history. Given the dominance of turf racing across the Atlantic it’s perhaps a surprise that the only fillies to win this race from Europe to date are Flotilla for Mikel Delzangles in 2012 and Chriselliam for Charles Hills in 2013. They have gone close in other years, but it’s been a more difficult task than it has for the European-trained juvenile males, who have won eight of the 14 runnings of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
The number of victories that Irish training great Aidan O’Brien has scored in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Given the strength of his and the Coolmore operation’s stable, it’s no surprise he has been so successful, scoring victories with Wrote (2011), George Vancouver (2012), Hit It a Bomb (2015), and Mendelssohn (2017). Top jockey Ryan Moore has been aboard for all four of those. No other trainer has been as successful in the race, though English trainers John Gosden and Charlie Appleby have both won the race twice.
The number of victories that trainer Chad Brown has secured in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. America’s dominant turf trainer won the inaugural Juvenile Fillies Turf with Maram in 2008, and returned with the champion filly Lady Eli in 2014. He then reeled off consecutive victories with New Money Honey, Rushing Fall, and Newspaperofrecord between 2016 and 2018. All bar Rushing Fall won the Miss Grillo S. (G2) at Belmont Park as their lead-up, with Rushing Fall’s lead-up victory coming in the Jessamine S. (G2) at Keeneland. Brown has also won the Juvenile Turf once (Structor in 2019), and the Juvenile (G1) on dirt (Good Magic, 2017).
The margin in lengths that Newspaperofrecord had when winning the Juvenile Fillies Turf in 2018. The Irish-bred Lope de Vega filly jumped fast and had the lead within the first sixteenth of a mile, and then careered away in the stretch when Irad Ortiz Jr. asked her to go. Her starting price of 3-5 is also easily the shortest price that any filly has started at in this race. She was not at her best as a three-year-old but returned at four to win the Just a Game S. (G1).
The odds that Fire At Will started at when winning the Juvenile Turf last season. Despite winning two of his three prior races, including the Pilgrim S. (G2) at Belmont Park, few people liked the chances of Fire At Will. But in the hands of Ricardo Santana Jr., the Michael Maker-trained colt trailed Outadore before sprinting past him in the stretch. The winning margin of three lengths is also the largest in the race’s history.
The year of the first Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Added when the Breeders’ Cup was expanded to two days, the race attracted a field of 12, including three European-trained runners. All three – Achill Island, Strike the Deal, and Domestic Fund – finished in the top three, but it was the locally-trained Nownownow, in the hands of Julien Leparoux, that took the honors. The Juvenile Turf Fillies was added a year later, and the Juvenile Turf Sprint became part of the program in 2018.
The value in dollars of all three juvenile turf races. While still short of the $2 million purse for the dirt races, they are the richest Grade/Group 1 two-year-old turf races in the Northern Hemisphere outside Japan, where the leading prize, the Asahi Hai Futurity, is worth about $1.45 million. It provides great opportunities for Northern Hemisphere turf juveniles, though they are a long way from the world’s richest Group 1 two-year-old contest (on turf or any other surface), the A$3.5 million (about $2.65 million) Golden Slipper S. in Sydney, Australia.