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Kentucky Derby 2012: Historic Year For Breeders' Cup Juvenile Runners

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This photo has nothing to do with this post... but those are some sweet Kentucky Derby hats!
This photo has nothing to do with this post... but those are some sweet Kentucky Derby hats!

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 Chief's Crown 1st 3rd
1985 Spend a Buck 3rd 1st
1985 Tank's Prospect 2nd 7th
1986 Mogambo 6th 10th
1986 Groovy 10th 16th
1987 Bet Twice 4th 2nd
1987 Alysheba 3rd 1st
1987 Gulch 5th 6th
1987 Capote 1st 15th
1987 Demon's Begone 6th 16th
1988 Regal Classic 2nd 5th
1989 Easy Goer 2nd 2nd
1990 Pleasant Tap 6th 3rd
1991 Best Pal 6th 2nd
1991 Fly So Free 1st 5th
1991 Happy Jazz Band 4th 11th
1991 Lost Mountain 3rd 12th
1992 Arazi 1st 8th
1992 Pine Bluff 7th 5th
1992 Snappy Landing 3rd 17th
1993 Sea Hero 7th 1st
1994 Blumin Affair 2nd 3rd
1994 Brocco 1st 4th
1994 Tabasco Cat 3rd 6th
1995 Tejano Run 3rd 2nd
1995 Timber Country 1st 3rd
1995 Eltish 2nd 6th
1995 Talkin Man 10th 12th
1996 Unbridled's Song 1st 5th
1996 Editor's Note 3rd 6th
1996 Diligence 5th 9th
1998 Favorite Trick 1st 8th
1998 Nationalore 3rd 9th
1999 Cat Thief 3rd 3rd
1999 Lemon Drop Kid 5th 9th
1999 Answer Lively 1st 10th
2000 Captain Steve 11th 8th
2000 Anees 1st 13th
2000 High Yield 3rd 15th
2000 Graeme Hall 12th 19th
2001 Point Given 2nd 5th
2001 A P Valentine 14th 7th
2001 Dollar Bill 10th 15th
2002 Came Home 7th 6th
2002 Johannesburg 1st 8th
2002 Essence of Dubai 12th 9th
2002 It'sallinthechase 10th 16th
2003 Lone Star Sky 11th 15th
2004 Action This Day 1st 6th
2004 Minister Eric 2nd 16th
2005 Afleet Alex 2nd 3rd
2005 Wilko 1st 6th
2005 Sun King 3rd 15th
2006 Brother Derek 4th 4th
2006 Private Vow 14th 15th
2007 Street Sense 1st 1st
2007 Circular Quay 2nd 6th
2007 Great Hunter 3rd 13th
2007 Teuflesberg 10th 17th
2007 Scat Daddy 4th 18th
2007 Stormello 5th 19th
2008 Tale of Ekati 4th 4th
2008 Pyro 2nd 8th
2008 Z Humor 5th 14th
2009 Mine That Bird 12th 1st
2009 Pioneer of the Nile 5th 2nd
2009 West Side Bernie 6th 9th
2010 Noble's Promise 3rd 5th
2010 Lookin At Lucky 2nd 6th
2011 Stay Thirsty 5th 12th
2012 Hansen 1st TBD
2012 Union Rags 2nd TBD
2012 Creative Cause 3rd TBD
2012 Dullahan 4th TBD
2012 Take Charge Indy 5th TBD
2012 Optimizer 8th TBD
2012 Alpha 11th TBD
2012 Daddy Long Legs 12th TBD
2012 Prospective 13th TBD