The Brock Talk

Monday, October 25, 2010

Beware The Derby Fever After The Juvenile

If you’re planning on running out to Las Vegas to place your Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. 1) future book wager shortly after the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Nov. 6, beware that history is against you. In the previous 26 runnings of the Juvenile, only Street Sense has managed go on to win the Kentucky Derby the following year. In fact, the Juvenile has produced only five Kentucky Derby winners during that time.

The Juvenile got off to a fast start in 1984 when Chief’s Crown won as the odds-on favorite over Tank’s Prospect in second and Spend A Buck (right) in third. Six months later all three were at Churchill Downs for the Derby with Chief’s Crown maintaining his popularity as the favorite. But Spend A Buck turned the tables on the Juvenile winner in a wire-to-wire Kentucky Derby victory while Chief’s Crown could only manage to hang on for third. Tank’s Prospect was seventh in the Derby but came back two weeks later to take the Preakness.

In the 1986 Juvenile, favored Capote defeated Qualify but the future stars were back in third in fourth. Future Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Alysheba (left) was in the show spot just more than two lengths ahead of Bet Twice. Bet Twice would finish second to Alysheba in the first two legs of the Triple Crown but won the Belmont Stakes (gr. 1). In fact, five of the top six finishers in the Juvenile went on to the Derby with Gulch and Demon’s Begone.

It would be six years before another future Derby winner would even run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile but the 1988 and ’89 Juveniles did feature Easy Goer and Go and Go, both of whom would take the Belmont Stakes seven months later.

Sea Hero won the 1993 Kentucky Derby after running in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Gulfstream Park in 1992. However, his status as the 2-1 betting choice was deflated when he finished a non-descript seventh behind Juvenile winner Gilded Time in the Juvenile.

The next ten Juveniles produced several future classic winners and 1997 Juvenile Champion Favorite Trick was named Horse of the Year that same year. Tabasco Cat, third in the 1993 Juvenile, went on to win the Preakness and Belmont Stakes in 1994. That same year Timber Country won the Juvenile before winning the Preakness the following year, becoming the first Juvenile winner to win a Triple Crown race.

Point Given was the next Juvenile graduate to win at that level winning the 2001 Preakness after finishing second to Macho Uno in the 2000 Juvenile. Four years later, Afleet Alex was second to Wilko in the Juvenile but would later win both the Preakness and Belmont.

Street Sense was a fairly anonymous Juvenile winner in 2006 at 15-1 odds, but there was a glimpse of the future as jockey Calvin Borel steered around one horse into the far turn before returning to the inside rail to find running room and go on to a 10 length Juvenile victory. The team would repeat that game plan on the first Saturday in May to give Borel his first Derby and trainer Carl Nafzger his second.

The most recent Juvenile graduate to take the Run for the Rose is of Mine That Bird, who took the Derby at odds of 50-1. He was slightly more popular in the 2008 Juvenile with 23-1 odds, but his performance was forgettable, finishing last.

The natural tendency after the Breeders’ Cup is of course, to begin the road to the next year’s Kentucky Derby. Just remember that there is much that can happen between November 6 at Churchill and the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So true, I forget sometimes what a big huge deal it was in 2007 when Street Sense broke the "juvenile jinx"!
I think injury plays a big part especially in recent years with how well Juvenile's transition into their sophomore years.