Breeders' Cup Juvenile Jinx a Farce

With the defections of many of the leading 2-year-olds from this year's Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), there has been a great deal of talk recently about the atrocious record of Breeders' Cup Juvenile winners in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). But there is more to it than meets the eye.

It's true that no Juvenile winner has won the Kentucky Derby, but is that a reason for trainers to be reluctant to run in the championship event? The truth is, the majority of Juvenile winners simply were precocious 2-year-olds who peaked in the Juvenile, and never were considered Derby material. But what of the Juvenile as a whole?

First and foremost, the race has produced 15 2-year-old champions in 19 years, which is inducement enough to run. If you feel you have a Triple Crown horse, the thought that skipping the Juvenile will enhance your chances on the first Saturday in May is unjustified. And it certainly is not justified to think it will hamper your horse in the Triple Crown.

To get right to the point, in 19 years, a total of 35 horses who competed in the Juvenile went on to win or place in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness (gr. I), and Belmont Stakes (gr. I).

The Juvenile has produced three Kentucky Derby winners (Spend a Buck, Alysheba, and Sea Hero), four horses who finished second in the Derby (Best Pal, Easy Goer, Tejano Run, and Bet Twice), and six horses who finished third in the Derby (Chief's Crown, Pleasant Tap, Dance Floor, Blumin Affair, Timber Country, and Cat Thief). That's 13 horses to finish first, second, or third in the Kentucky Derby.

The Juvenile also has produced six Preakness winners (Point Given, Timber Country, Tabasco Cat, Alysheba, Tank's Prospect, and Pine Bluff), and eight Belmont winners (Point Given, Lemon Drop Kid, Editor's Note, Tabasco Cat, Go and Go, Easy Goer, Bet Twice, and Danzig Connection). That means an amazing 42% of the Belmont winners in the past 19 years ran in the Juvenile.

In addition, the Juvenile has produced two Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winners (Cat Thief and Alysheba), two Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) winners (Captain Steve and Street Cry), and a Canadian Triple Crown winner (Wando).

So, even if you don't have the audacity to win the Juvenile and expose yourself to the "jinx," there still are plenty of incentives to run in the race.