Breeders Cup Juvenile Handicapping Tips

Handicapping the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Races

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The 2020 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships is taking place on November 6, at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, featuring eight championship horse races. Strong race contenders for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile include Acaffella, Boys At Tosconova, J P's Gusto, Madman Diaries, Major Gain, Clubhouse Ride, Jaycito, Maybesomaybenot, Nacho, Pathfork, Stay Thirsty, Uncle Mo, Vengeful Wildcat and Wine Police. The best of luck on handicapping the 2013 Breeders' Cup Juvenile!

In the over 20-year history of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (Grade 1), only one winner has bagged a Kentucky Derby (Grade 1) championship. Spend A Buck, who finished third at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile's very first running at Hollywood Park in 1984, soon triumphed at the Kentucky Derby, it seemed the right start that would make this $2 million Breeders' Cup championships event a major influence upon the classics. Sadly, this has not been the case but it is looking a little more promising in recent years.

In 2007, Breeders' Cup Juvenile hero, Street Saver, went on to win the Kentucky Derby. Before that, Afleet Alex, who was the 2004 Breeders' Cup Juvenile runnerup, finished third at the 2005 Kentucky Derby but did go on to bag a back-to-back championship at the 2005 Belmont Stakes and 2005 Preakness Stakes. Point Given, who finished second in 2000, is another of the few Breeders' Cup Juvenile starters to be a major influence in the three-year-old division the following season.

Some other notable performances at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile include, the unbeaten Vindication as a sharp front-running winner in 2002, albeit his career was cut short by an ensuing injury; Favorite Trick who triumphed with a commanding 5 1/2 lengths in 1997; Unbridled's Song who nailed the final strides in 1995; and Tasso who got up by a nose to nip the front-running Storm Cat in 1985.

Quite memorably, in 2003, 27-1 longshot Action This Day shocked the crowd with a last to first run. Jockey David Flores kept him back in last early, then on the turn, split rivals passing seven horses in upper stretch. Inside the final furlong, Action This Day collared his stablemate 9-1 shot Minister Eric and won going away by 2 1/4 lengths in a time of 1:43 3/5 to give trainer Richard Mandella a 1-2 sweep.

Europeans have had some success, notably, Arazi at Churchill Downs in 1991, who was arguably the most brilliant Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner ever. Another European superstar who enjoyed the hype, Johannesburg, drew off in the stretch at Belmont to win two years back for conditioner Aidan O'Brien. Both Arazi and Johannesburg shipped to the United States to win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile in their dirt debut. Two other European-based horses have hit the board in previous Breeders' Cup Juvenile races.

The Breeders' Cup Juvenile has been more formful than most Breeders' Cup races. Anees, who paid $62.20 at Gulfstream Park in 1999, is the only horse to win at more than 10-1. Sixteen of the 20 Breeders' Cup Juvenile winners have been among the top three favorites, and Macho Uno was the fourth choice in 2000.

Observe that longshots are best found in the place spot. Ten youngsters, including Kafwain at 19-1 in 2002 and Repent at 42-1 in 2001, have completed the exacta at odds of 15-1 or higher. Other bombs include Alley's Alley at 76-1, Dawson's Legacy at 78-1, Blumin Affair at 42-1, It'salittleknownfact at 47-1, Take Me Out at 33-1, Tank's Prospect at 25-1, and Action This Day at 27-1.

Only three Breeders' Cup Juvenile winners have succeeded wire-to-wire, although Vindication did go nearly wire-to-wire in 2002. Early or Early/Pressers won five straight Breeders' Cup Juvenile wins from 1986 to 1990. Add to that also that 14 Breeders' Cup Juvenile winners owned a stakes win beforehand and three were stakes-placed. Only Unbridled's Song and Brocco had yet to earn black-type.

The Breeders' Cup Juvenile averages a field size of a little more than 12. The rail has accounted for only one triumph, Is It True, but eight winners have come from inside posts (1-3). Seven hailed from middle gates (4-7), and the rest were from post 8 and beyond. 2004 champion Wilko won from post 8, 1991 victor Arazi won from post 14.

In 2006, Street Sense, ridden by jokey Calvin Borel, won Breeders' Cup Juvenile in 1:42.59 and went on to win the Kentucky Derby in 2007 with a finish time of 2:02:17. At the 2004 Breeders' Cup Juvenile, Wilko snagged the championship at 28.30 odds with jockey Lanfranco Dettori. 2005 Belmont Stakes and Preakness Stakes champ Afleet Alex won second at 3.00 odds with jockey Jeremy Rose, and Sun King placed third at 6.90 odds with jockey Edgar Prado.


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