Using History to Handicap the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies

Gambling
Future Hall of Famer Beholder, with Garret Gomez aboard, won the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita Park. (Eclipse Sportswire)

If you like to bet favorites, then the $2 million Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies is a great race to play. And if you like to bet on big longshots, then the Juvenile Fillies is still the perfect race for your wagering dollars.

How can this be? As counter-intuitive as it might seem, North America’s championship race for 2-year-old fillies has been a haven for both short-priced favorites and massive longshot winners. A brief glance at the history of the Juvenile Fillies reveals the details.

What else can history tell us about the Juvenile Fillies? If you want to have the best chance at picking the winner on Nov. 1 at Santa Anita Park, then read on – we’ve uncovered a half-dozen history-driven tips and trends to aid your handicapping and help you find the winner:

Strongly Favor Speed Horses and Front-Runners

Over the last decade, speed has been the key to success in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Eight of the last ten winners were racing first, second, or third after the opening half-mile, with four of them prevailing in gate-to-wire fashion.

Furthermore, it’s worth noting that Ria Antonia (who rallied from sixth in 2013) won the Juvenile Fillies via the disqualification of She’s a Tiger, who led from start to finish.

Year

Winner

Position after first 1/2-mile

½-mile & ¾-mile times

(track condition)

2018

Jaywalk

1st by 1 length (10 starters)

46.76, 1:11.48 (fast)

2017

Caledonia Road

9th by 6.5 lengths (13 starters)

46.72, 1:11.38 (fast)

2016

Champagne Room

2nd by 1.5 lengths (12 starters)

48.19, 1:13.01 (fast)

2015

Songbird

1st by 1 length (10 starters)

47.15, 1:11.42 (fast)

2014

Take Charge Brandi

1st by 1 length (12 starters)

45.99, 1:10.07 (fast)

2013

Ria Antonia

6th by 7 lengths (10 starters)

45.31, 1:09.30 (fast)

2012

Beholder

1st by 1.5 lengths (8 starters)

46.47, 1:11.00 (fast)

2011

My Miss Aurelia

2nd by 2.5 lengths (14 starters)

47.19, 1:13.08 (good)

2010

Awesome Feather

3rd by 1.5 lengths (12 starters)

48.14, 1:13.11 (fast)

2009

She Be Wild

3rd by 4 lengths (12 starters)

47.52, 1:11.61 (fast)

Bet D. Wayne Lukas

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas has been the most successful trainer in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, saddling a half-dozen winners from 44 starters. While his diminished stable doesn’t participate in the Juvenile Fillies very often these days, Lukas has still won with two of his last five starters – Folklore in 2005 and Take Charge Brandi in 2014.

Caledonia Road (Eclipse Sportswire)

Bet Favorites or Extreme Longshots

You may have heard that the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies is a kind race for favorites, and that’s at least partially true – the betting favored has prevailed in 18 of the 35 editions of the Juvenile Fillies, a 51% success rate.

But at the same time, the Juvenile Fillies has produced some of the most staggering upsets in Breeders’ Cup history. Just in the last decade we’ve seen Caledonia Road (17.30-1), Champagne Room (33.60-1), Take Charge Brandi (61.70-1), and Ria Antonia (32.20-1) trigger shocking results.

What it comes down to is this: 23 winners of the Juvenile Fillies have started at 4.20-1 or lower. Another nine winners started at 11-1 or higher, leaving just three winners starting between 9-2 and 10-1. In other words, you don’t want to bet mid-range longshots in the Juvenile Fillies – you want to bet favorites or major longshots, nothing in between.

Bet Proven Grade 1 Performers

It takes a quality filly to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Case in point? 11 of the last 12 winners (and 16 of the last 18) had previously contested a Grade 1 race. The two exceptions were Awesome Feather (2010) and Dreaming of Anna (2006), and they had both won smaller stakes races. You definitely don’t want to bet an inexperienced filly stepping into stakes company for the first time in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Over the last decade, the key prep for the Juvenile Fillies has been the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes at Belmont Park, which has produced four winners. The Grade 1 Chandelier Stakes at Santa Anita and the Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland have produced two winners apiece.

Favor Runners Drawn in Outside Posts

It can be tricky for lightly-raced horses to work out a comfortable trip while breaking from an inside post position in a large field. Eight of the last ten first-place finishers of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (including disqualified She’s a Tiger) started from post six or wider, and during the same timeframe, only one filly breaking from the rail has cracked the top three. That one runner was budding superstar Beholder, who secured a clear early lead from the rail en route to a gate-to-wire victory in 2012.

Experience Over the Host Track Isn’t Important

Since the Breeders’ Cup travels around the country, much is made each year about runners who have a “home court advantage” – experience racing over the track where the Breeders’ Cup will be held. But familiarity with the host track hasn’t been a factor in determining the outcome of the Juvenile Fillies, as eight of the last ten winners were racing over the host track for the first time.

Conclusions

If history is any indication, the 2019 Frizette Stakes winner Wicked Whisper is the horse to beat. This impressive front-running filly exits the most productive prep race for the Juvenile Fillies and will be a short price in the wagering. If she draws an outside post, she should be tough to beat.

Good luck with your handicapping, and enjoy the race!

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