Relevancy of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Field Going into Next Year

Will Shangai Bobby carry his Juvenile Champion form forward? - Harry How

In recent years, the form of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Field has done anything but impress as they moved into their 3 year old campaigns. Knowing the relative weakness of the current crop of 4 year olds, is it just an issue with our short memories? Or is there really little to no correlation from top end 2 year old form as horses continue to mature?

Get ready for a large data dump. Below is every BC Juvenile starter since 2006. Horses that I've subjectively considered to maintain or exceeded their 2 year old form are colored in green. Those colored in red, once again completely subjectively, have been deemed to have completely bombed out of being a notable racer.

BC Juv Race Finish Horse Derby Runner? 3yo Prep Wins GSW post-Derby? Notes
2011 1st Hansen Y G3-Gotham G3-IA Derby Retired to Stud at Ashford
2011 2nd Union Rags Y G2-Fountain of Youth G1-Belmont Retired to Stud at Gainesway
2011 3rd Creative Cause Y G2-San Felipe No Retired to Stud at Airdrie
2011 4th Dullahan Y G1-Blue Grass G1-Pacific SYNTHETIC BEAST
2011 5th Take Charge Indy Y G1-Florida Derby No 2nd in Clark 1st off layoff
2011 6th Crusade None No Weight for Age runner in IRE
2011 7th Fort Loudon None G3-Carry Back Good GS horse
2011 8th Optimizer Y None G3-Kent Stakes Ran in 2012 BC Turf (11th)
2011 9th Speightscity None None Listed Stakes runner
2011 10th Drill Y G2-San Vicente None Back in Training post layoff
2011 11th Alpha G3-Withers G1-Travers Wins Slow Races
2011 12th Daddy Long Legs Y G2-UAE Derby None Listed Stakes Runner in EUR
2011 13th Prospective Y G2-Tampa Bay G3-Ohio Derby Winning Listed Stakes
2010 1st Uncle Mo Timely Writer G2-Kelso Sickness issues
2010 2nd Boys At Tosconova G1-Hopeful None Allowance Runner; G3 placed
2010 3rd Rogue Romance None None Allowance Runner
2010 4th Biondetti None None Eur/Dubai Runner
2010 5th Stay Thirsty Y G3-Gotham G1-Cigar Mile Retired to Stud at Ashford
2010 6th J P's Gusto None None Listed Stakes Winner
2010 7th Jaycito None None Allowance Runner
2010 8th Riveting Reason None None Only win is MSW
2010 9th J. B.'s Thunder None None Only competitive at 2yo
2010 10th Murjan None None Claimer
2009 1st Vale Of York None None Nothing, Crazy that he won
2009 2nd Lookin At Lucky Y G2-Rebel G1-Preakness Champion
2009 3rd Noble's Promise Y None G3-Aristides Allowance Runner
2009 4th Piscitelli None None Claimer
2009 5th Aikenite None G2-Commonwealth Good Stakes Horse
2009 6th Beethoven (IRE) None G3-Dubai Derby Ran in BC Mile; good horse
2009 7th Radiohead None None Allowance winner
2009 8th William's Kitten None None Claimer
2009 9th Eskendereya G1-Wood None (Retired Prior to Derby) Retired to Stud at Taylor Made
2009 10th Alfred Nobel None None Weight for Age runner in EUR
2009 11th Pulsion None None Allowance Winner
2009 12th Aspire None None Allowance Horse
2009 13th D' Funnybone G2-Swale G2-Woody Stephens Retired to Stud at Vinery-NY
2008 1st Midshipman None None Retired to Stud at Darley
2008 2nd Square Eddie None None Never won a stakes race post-2yo
2008 3rd Street Hero None None Never ran again after BC Juv; Sire
2008 4th Terrain None None No wins post-2yo
2008 5th Pioneerof The Nile Y G1-SA Derby None Retired to Stud at Vinery
2008 6th West Side Bernie Y None None AOC Horse
2008 7th Gallant Son G3-Inglewood None G3 Placed in 2012
2008 8th Silent Valor None None Allowance Horse
2008 9th Azul Leon None None No wins post-2yo
2008 10th Munnings None G2-Woody Stephens Retired to Stand at Ashford
2008 11th Bushranger None None Weight for Age in EUR
2008 12th Mine That Bird Y (Winner) None None FAST-Never the same after switching trainers
2007 1st War Pass None None 2nd Wood Memorial; dead
2007 2nd Pyro Y G2-LA Derby G1-Forego Good thru 4yo year; Standing in Japan
2007 3rd Kodiak Kowboy None G1-Cigar Mile Great GSW; Standing at Vinery
2007 4th Tale Of Ekati Y G1-Wood G1-Cigar Mile Standing at Darby Dan
2007 5th Z Humor Y G3-Delta Jackpot None Listed Stakes winner
2007 6th Old Man Buck None None Gelding; Claimer
2007 7th Overextended None None Gelding; Claimer
2007 8th Shore Do None None Gelding; Claimer
2007 9th Salute the Sarge None None Only win post 2yo is listed stakes
2007 10th Wicked Style None None G2 placed
2007 11th Globalization None None Claimer
2006 1st Street Sense Y (Winner) G3-Tampa Bay G1-Travers Champion everything
2006 2nd Circular Quay Y G2-LA Derby G2-New Orleans Sire in FL
2006 3rd Great Hunter Y G2-Robert. B Lewis None Sire in Venezuela
2006 4th Scat Daddy Y G1-Florida Derby None (Retired post derby) Rising Sire
2006 5th Stormello Y None None Only wins were at 2yo
2006 6th C P West Y None None Good Stakes Horse as 3yo
2006 7th U D Ghetto None None Gelding; Claimer
2006 8th King Of The Roxy G2-Hucheson None Listed Stakes winner, good horse
2006 9th Skip Code None None Gelding; Claimer
2006 10th Teuflesberg Y Southwest G1-Woody Stephens Sire
2006 11th Pegasus Wind None None Only win was a MSW
2006 12th Malt Magic None None Allowance Horse
2006 13th Got the Last Laugh None None Allowance Horse, stakes placed
2006 14th Principle Secret None None Allowance Horse


Well, the article tool keeps cutting this off, but there are 5 more horses, 3 of which are red, 1 (Teuflesberg) is of any note.

A few items of note:

  • Every time you look at the horses foaled in 2008, it gets more and more disappointing. Only two BC Juvenile 2010 starters held their form and three were never heard of again in even allowance company.
  • 18 horses maintained or exceeded their 2 year old form
  • 17 horses completely bombed out of stakes company
  • The Cigar Mile seems to literally be a stepping stone to being a sire
  • A disproportionate number of horses here are stallions. This falls in line with Bull Hancock theory that a sire should be a winner at 2, for obvious reasons
  • Only 2 winners of the KY Derby are amongst these 6 fields (Mine That Bird and Street Sense)
  • 26 of 73 starters in the BC Juvenile won a 3yo Derby Prep Race
  • 25 of 73 starters started in the Kentucky Derby
  • 5 Derby starters from BC fields did not win a significant Derby Prep Race
  • The only real positive correlation is that of the top 3 or 4 finishers in the race, at least 1 will show good form as a 3 year old and older.

Seeing that the biggest juvenile race in the country only places 33% of its field in the biggest 3 year old race which is just 6 months later, doesn't the Derby Qualifying System kind of make sense? Placing value on races that actually may indicate future success is a pretty solid idea instead of giving equal credit to dollars earned in restricted races that have sub-standard competition.

I wish there was less emphasis on these Juvenile races. They're fun, but they really do incentivize an asset (quick growth) that doesn't truly indicate ability. Surely, some of these 2 year old phenoms are world class in their own right, but so many are just big at an early age and not truly talented.

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