Breeders' Cup Juvenile Race & Pace Analysis

Breeders' Cup Juvenile

With the 2013 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships set to be held on November 5 and 6 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, champion horses from all over North America and as far as Europe and Japan will be pitted against one another. Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, which has the world's biggest dirt race course of any thoroughbred track, will play host to eight major races on a single championship day card: Breeders' Cup Classic, Distaff, Filly & Mare Turf, Juvenile, Juvenile Fillies, Mile, Sprint, Turf. Breeders' Cup Juvenile race and pace analysis point to strong contenders being Acaffella, Boys At Tosconova, Clubhouse, Ride Jaycito, J P's Gusto, Major Gain, Madman Diaries, Nacho Saint, Uncle Mo and Wine Police.

The Breeders' Cup Juvenile is much influenced at the onset by two factors: the size of the field and wire-to-wire wins. As in the Juvenile Fillies, the Juvenile's small field can depress the pace, as will the lack of race contenders who have previously won in a wire-to-wire fashion. Early-speed horses that inherit the lead should still tear up aggressive fractions to set up the pace. The short stretch will require competing horses to be in position by the top of the turn. So a tight field is likely as well as a positioning battle, with everyone trying to keep the lead horse in their sites. 2004 Juvenile champion Wilko initially settled on the outside while three wide, rallied outside the furlong marker, and surged to the lead near the sixteenth pole.

Given the size of the field and the distance of the race, the competing horses' running style is worth noting. An example is Afleet Alex, who was the runnerup at the 2004 Juvenile. He has a nice stalking style, and clearly wants the distance. Afleet Alex went on to win back-to-back championships at the 2005 Preakness Stakes and 2005 Belmont Stakes. Roman Ruler, although coming off as the 2004 favorite, had been deemed beatable. The Juvenile would have been the most competitive race he was to enter at the time, with the second biggest field. Prior to the Juvenile, he had competed in some very small fields without much worry for traffic or pressure on the lead at any point.

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