The Breeders' Cup Juvenile is traditionally a race that can raise expectations and hope in the hearts of racing fans in the fall, only to dash those dreams in the spring. As almost all race fans are aware, since the Breeders' Cup began in 1984, only one horse has been able to pull off the Juvenile/Derby Double: Street Sense in 2008*. Additionally, four horses that ran in the Juvenile (but didn't win) came back to win the Kentucky Derby the following spring: Spend a Buck (3rd in 1984 Juvenile; won 1985 Derby), Alysheba (3rd in 1986 Juvenile; won 1987 Derby), Sea Hero (7th in 1992 Juvenile; won 1993 Derby), and Mine That Bird (12th/last in 2008 Juvenile; won 2009 Derby). The impact of the Juvenile on the Derby has been moderate, at best.
*Fourteen Juvenile winners came back to attempt the Double the following spring, sporting an all-time record of 14-1-0-2.
If you haven't noticed, 2012 is looking like a banner year for horses running in the Kentucky Derby that also ran in the Breeders' Cup the previous fall. Since the inception of the Breeders' Cup in 1984, only one year have more than five Juvenile runners come back to run in the Kentucky Derby (2006 Juvenile: six horses in 2007 Derby, including Street Sense), and traditionally, only three or four Juvenile runners make it to Louisville in the spring. In 2012, however, a record nine horses are expected to run in the Derby after competing in the Juvenile last fall, including the
first second time in Breeders' Cup history that the top five finishers are probable entries in the Derby**: Hansen, Union Rags, Creative Cause, Dullahan, Take Charge Indy, Optimizer, Alpha, Daddy Long Legs, and Prospective.
**The Street Sense year of 2007 also saw the top five finishers return to run in the Derby the following spring.
The chart below summarizes the performance of Breeders' Cup Juvenile horses that returned to run in the Kentucky Derby the following spring. Any errors are mine.
|Derby Year||Horse||BC Juv Finish||Derby Finish|
|1985||Spend a Buck||3rd||1st|
|1991||Fly So Free||1st||5th|
|1991||Happy Jazz Band||4th||11th|
|1999||Lemon Drop Kid||5th||9th|
|2001||A P Valentine||14th||7th|
|2002||Essence of Dubai||12th||9th|
|2003||Lone Star Sky||11th||15th|
|2004||Action This Day||1st||6th|
|2008||Tale of Ekati||4th||4th|
|2009||Mine That Bird||12th||1st|
|2009||Pioneer of the Nile||5th||2nd|
|2009||West Side Bernie||6th||9th|
|2010||Lookin At Lucky||2nd||6th|
|2012||Take Charge Indy||5th||TBD|
|2012||Daddy Long Legs||12th||TBD|