Trends that continued or were halted at the 2020 Breeders' Cup

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

November 10th, 2020

Two pieces published on TwinSpires in October noted trends for bettors to be aware of heading into last weekend's Breeders' Cup at Keeneland. One piece addressed trends relating to the five Breeders' Cup events restricted to 2-year-olds, while the other noted several things to watch for based on what happened the first time Keeneland played host to the fixture in 2015.

Here are some takeaways from what was written in those pieces and what actually happened.

Favorites continue to be cold in Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies

The loss by odds-on favorite Jackie's Warrior in the Juvenile was the seventh by a post-time choice in the last eight runnings of the race, while Princess Noor was the eighth beaten Juvenile Fillies favorite in the past nine runnings. However, the Frizette (G1) maintained its status as the key Juvenile Fillies prep as runner-up Vequist became the 13th Juvenile Fillies winner to emerge from that race.

The Juvenile Fillies Turf stayed in U.S. hands, but so did the Juvenile Turf

North American-based runners have now won 11 of the 13 editions of the Juvenile Fillies Turf after Aunt Pearl's sparkling victory last Friday. However, the U.S. enjoyed a rare victory in the Juvenile Turf, too, as Fire At Will gave it its sixth win in 14 years after taking the Pilgrim (G2). That Belmont race continues to be the most productive U.S. prep for the Juvenile Turf.

American speed remained dominant in the Juvenile Turf Sprint

Golden Pal, the 4-5 favorite, proved too fast for his 13 rivals in the third running of this relatively new addition to the Breeders' Cup program. European invaders occupied the third and fourth slots, further evidence that precocious types overseas have not yet matched the kind of zip their American counterparts can produce to win a race like this.

Lukewarm favorites were rightly worth ignoring

While there were plenty of short-priced favorites that disappointed, those that started at odds of 3-1 or higher again proved bad plays for the win. Among those defeated were Battleground (Juvenile Turf, 3.80-1, 2nd), Leinstar (Turf Sprint, 4.40-1, 3rd), Kameko (Mile, 5.30-1, 7th), and Tiz the Law (Classic, 3.20-1, 6th).

Course and distance experience played no role in the Turf Sprint

Bucking one of the strongest trends in Breeders' Cup handicapping, the top two placings in the Turf Sprint went to horses making their first starts ever on the Keeneland turf. Indeed, the winning Glass Slippers was the first non-U.S. based runner ever to win the Turf Sprint since the race was inaugurated in 2008.

Post positions, especially on turf, mattered little

The early speed possessed by Golden Pal proved to be a strong asset as he easily overcame any difficulty post 13 in the Juvenile Turf Sprint might have imposed. Audarya won from post 11 in the Filly and Mare Turf, while Order of Australia registered a stunning upset in the Mile after being saddled with post 14 drawing in from the also-eligible list.