Breeders’ Cup Winning Traits Presented By NYRA Bets: Juveniles On The Grass?

Each day this Breeders’ Cup week, we’ll bit doing a bit of “profiling,” helping you fine-tune your handicapping for the World Championships with some historical perspective.

There’s a history behind every Breeders’ Cup race and trends to go along with it. What is the most common path to victory? Where do the winners come from? How do favorites/longshots fare?

In each edition of “Winning Traits,” we’ll feature a pair of races and what the historical results tell us we should look for in this edition of the Breeders’ Cup. We begin with the Juvenile Fillies Turf and the Juvenile Turf.

These races have a relatively short life in the BC portfolio, with the Juv Turf starting in 2007 and the Fillies Turf starting the following year. Still, there are unmistakable trends for both races.

Where do the winners come from?

In ten runnings, the Juvenile Turf has featured 36 international-based starters. Seven of them have won the race. That means 19 percent of the foreign shippers have won the race, while only three percent of the 95 domestic runners have landed in the winner’s circle. There’s no East Coast bias either. Euros have won five of six in California.

By contrast, only two of the international starters have won the fillies race in nine runnings, although we should be careful to extrapolate too much since the percentages are much closer (six percent of international starters vs eight percent of domestics).


The results so far suggest both of these races are not favorable to favorites but reaching for bombs has also proven unwise. Only one favorite has won each race — Pounced in 2009 for the Juv Turf and Lady Eli in 2014 for the Juv Fillies. The average odds of the Juv Turf winner comes out to be 7-1 with the highest price being Nownownow at 12-1 in 2007. The average in the fillies race is 8-1 with the highest price being More Than Real at 13-1 in 2010.

The path to get there?

The Juvenile Fillies Turf goes through two prep races — the Miss Grillo Stakes at Belmont and the Natalma at Woobine. All seven domestic winners have come out of those two races. The Juv Turf is a little more versatile but clearly European prep races are key. The winner ran their last race at Newmarket in England four times, with France producing three winners and Ireland another.

What kind of form?
The form lines of runners in both races have proven remarkably consistent. In the Juv Fillies, the winner either won or finished second in their previous race in seven of the nine races. The other two finished third and fourth and by the way, those were the two European winners so pay attention to that note.

In the Juv Turf, pretty much the same thing. In every running of the race, the winner had hit the board in his previous start. Pretty simple. From an historical perspective, eliminate those who don’t. 


Jeopary Quiz: I am the only trainer to have more than one victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Answer: Who is Chad Brown (3)?

With the European dominance in the Juv Turf, not surprisingly Aidan O’Brien has visited the winner’s circle three times, while John Gosden has two. Jockeys Ryan Moore and Frankie Dettori each have three wins, so pay attention to who gets the mounts.

So, with these trends in mind, who fits the bill this year?  A few thoughts on contenders in each race who are most closely aligned with patterns mentioned above:


Mendelssohn (8-1) — Trained by Aidan O’Brien, this Scat Daddy colt has four starts in Europe, the most recent in the historically relevant Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.

Untamed Domain (8-1) — Graham Motion trainee comes in off a victory in the Summer Stakes in his fourth start.

Masar (IRE) (9-2) — 3rd last out at Chantilly for Charlie Appleby.

James Garfield (IRE) (6-1) – Has six starts under his belt, the last a victory in a G2 at Newbury.

Hemp Hemp Hurray (8-1) – Neck away from being unbeaten in three starts, goes out for Wesley Ward, who won this race in 2014 with Hootenanny. HHH lost the neck in the Summer Stakes, the prep that produced Pluck in 2010.

BONUS: Flameaway (20-1) – Son of Scat Daddy would take the Nownownow route, having won Keeneland‘s Bourbon Stakes. Interestingly, this son of Scat Daddy has no starts on the turf, although he won on Woodbine’s Tapeta and won two other races that were washed off the turf.


Significant Form (8-1) — Winner of highly relevant Miss Grillo is unbeaten in two starts for three-time Juv Fillies winner Chad Brown.

Rushing Fall (7-2) — Ditto. Two starts, two wins for Brown.

Capla Temptress (IRE) (6-1) — Was racing overseas but won Natalma Stakes last out, comes into this race with new trainer Bill Mott for Team Valor.

Happily (IRE) (9-2) — Comes in with six starts, having won back-to-back Group 1 races in Europe.

Juliet Capulet (IRE) (12-1) — Seasoned with six starts, won Group 2 Stakes at Newmarket, similar to Chriselliam in 2013.

BONUS: Dixie Moon (20-1) — Narrow second in Natalma, her only loss in three starts, she arrives at Del Mar with a trainer who has won nearly half her 2-year-old races from 22 starts.

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