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Breeders' Cup Video Flashback: 1991 Juvenile

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If you've followed horse racing for any length of time you know it's easy for superlatives to be thrown around immediately following a huge performance by a thoroughbred.  Track announcers, in particular, love to heighten the drama and add to the excitement of a dominating win through the enthusiasm of their race call.  Sometimes the dramatic moment is worthy of the pomp and circumstance but many times the performance turns outs to be a one race fluke or the result of a convergence of favorable circumstances.  However, the truly great feats are ones that need not the flowery language or the constant comparisons to those that came before them.  The truly historic performances stand alone.

Arazi's win in the 1991 Juvenile is one of the more impressive efforts that the event has seen since its inception in 1984.  Furthermore, Arazi was no fluke winner - he was not only the best juvenile in Europe but he was widely considered the best horse in Europe overall, regardless of age.  He dominated races for two-year-olds in France unlike any horse seen before, winning  the Group 1 Grand Criterium, Group 1 Prix de la Salamandre, Group 1 Prix Morny, Group 2 Prix Robert Papin, and Group 3 Prix du Boix, before shipping to the United States to run in the Breeders' Cup. 

When he came to America to run at Churchill Downs there were obvious questions regarding Arazi's ability to transfer his winning form from Europe's turf courses to American dirt.  Those questions were put to rest once and for all when he blew by pacesetter Bertrando on the far turn with a turn of foot rarely seen by a juvenile winner in this or any other country.  The son of Blushing Groom coasted home under a hand ride to win the Juvenile by five easy lengths in 1:44.30. 

Already the top two-year-old in Europe, his performance in the 91 Juvenile was so dominating that he was named 1991 Champion Two-Year-Old Colt in America.  He was also named 1991 European Horse of the Year. 

Sadly, Arazi had surgery to remove chips in both knees following his triumph at Churchill Downs and never regained the brilliance he displayed as a juvenile.  He was the betting favorite for the 1992 Kentucky Derby but faded to 8th late in a race won by Lil E. Tee.  At the end of the year, Arazi finished a well-beaten 11th in the 92 Breeders' Cup Mile.