Picking a Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Winner Using History as a Guide

Vequist won the 2020 Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies under Joel Rosario after prepping for the race in the Frizette Stakes, which has been a productive race as far as producing Juvenile Fillies winners. (Eclipse Sportswire)

Whether you like betting on favorites or longshots, the $2 million, Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies is the perfect race to play. As counterintuitive as it might seem, it’s also a fact backed up by stats.

How can this be? It turns out North America’s championship race for 2-year-old fillies is a haven for both short-priced favorites and massive longshot winners. Even a quick look through the history of the Juvenile Fillies reveals the details.

What else can historical stats tell us about the Juvenile Fillies? If you want to have the best chance at picking the winner on Nov. 5 at Del Mar, then read on — we’re sharing seven history-driven tips and trends to aid your handicapping:

Strongly favor speed horses and front-runners

Over the last decade, speed has been the key to success in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Seven of the last 10 winners were first, second, or third (within 2 1/2 lengths of the lead) after the opening half-mile, with four leading all the way.

Furthermore, it’s worth noting that Ria Antonio (who charged from sixth place in 2013) actually won the Juvenile Fillies via the disqualification of She’s a Tiger, who led from start to finish while carving out the fastest Juvenile Fillies fractions of the last 10 years.



Position after first 1/2-mile

½-mile, ¾-mile times (track condition)



3rd by 1.5 lengths (7 starters)

47.12, 1:11.32 (fast)


British Idiom

6th by 5.75 lengths (9 starters)

46.02, 1:11.93 (fast)



1st by 1 length (10 starters)

46.76, 1:11.48 (fast)


Caledonia Road

9th by 6.5 lengths (13 starters)

46.72, 1:11.38 (fast)


Champagne Room

2nd by 1.5 lengths (12 starters)

48.19, 1:13.01 (fast)



1st by 1 length (10 starters)

47.15, 1:11.42 (fast)


Take Charge Brandi

1st by 1 length (12 starters)

45.99, 1:10.07 (fast)


Ria Antonio

6th by 7 lengths (10 starters)

45.31, 1:09.30 (fast)



1st by 1.5 lengths (8 starters)

46.47, 1:11.00 (fast)


My Miss Aurelia

2nd by 2.5 lengths (14 starters)

47.19, 1:13.08 (good)

Bet jockeys Joel Rosario and Mike Smith

Rosario on 2020 Juvenile Fillies winner Vequist (Eclipse Sportswire)

No jockey has won more graded stakes this year than Joel Rosario, who has also enjoyed strong success in recent renewals of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. The accomplished rider won the race in both 2018 and 2020, giving him an overall 2-for-11 record in the Juvenile Fillies.

Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith is another worth following. Smith’s 3-for-12 record in the Juvenile Fillies includes victories in 2008, 2015, and 2017, and his last four mounts have all finished in the top three.

Bet favorites or major longshots

Getting back to the stat we outlined in the intro, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies has historically been kind toward favorites. Indeed, the top betting choice has prevailed in 18 of the 37 editions, an impressive 49% success rate.

But at the same time, the Juvenile Fillies has produced some of the most staggering upsets in Breeders’ Cup history. In the last decade alone we’ve seen Caledonia Road (17.30-1), Champagne Room (33.60-1), Take Charge Brandi (61.70-1), and Ria Antonia (32.30-1) trigger shocking results.

What it comes down to is this: 25 winners of the Juvenile Fillies have started at 4.20-1 or lower. Another nine winners started at 11-1 or higher, leaving just four 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, rarely anything in between.

Bet proven Grade 1 performers

It takes a quality filly to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Case in point? 13 of the last 14 winners (and 18 of the last 20) had previously competed a Grade 1 race. The two exceptions were Awesome Feather (2010) and Dreaming of Anna (2006), and both entered the Breeders’ Cup undefeated with multiple smaller stakes wins to their credit. When betting the Juvenile Fillies, you don’t want to play an inexperienced filly stepping into stakes company for the first time.

Favor fillies exiting the Frizette

Echo Zulu winning 2021 Frizette Stakes. (Eclipse Sportswire)

Over the last decade, the key prep for the Juvenile Fillies has been the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes at Belmont Park, which has produced five winners. In other words, recent history has demonstrated there’s a 50% chance the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner will exit the Frizette — talk about a powerful angle!

Other productive prep races include the Grade 2 Chandelier Stakes at Santa Anita (a Grade 1 event prior to 2020) and the Grade 1 Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland. Since 2011, they’ve produced two Juvenile Fillies 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. Seven of the last 10 winners of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies started from post-position six or wider. During the same timeframe, only two fillies breaking from the rail have finished in the top three. One of the two was budding superstar Beholder, who secured a clear early lead from the rail on her way to a gate-to-wire victory in 2012.

Experience at the host track isn’t important

Since the Breeders’ Cup travels around the country, it seems logical to favor runners who have experience racing on the track where the Breeders’ Cup will be held. But familiarity with the host track hasn’t been an important factor in determining the outcome of the Juvenile Fillies — eight of the last 10 winners were running on the main track at the host venue for the first time.


The 2021 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies is shaping up as a battle between three exciting prospects: Chandelier Stakes winner Ain’t Easy, Frizette Stakes winner Echo Zulu, and Darley Alcibiades Stakes winner Juju’s Map. All bring promising credentials to the table, but history suggests Echo Zulu is the one to play.

What’s not to like? Echo Zulu is a front-running speedster undefeated in three starts. She’s already won two Grade 1 races and figures to start as the favorite in the Juvenile Fillies. She’s never run at Del Mar, but history indicates this won’t be an issue. Best of all, she’s exiting a 7 1/4-length romp in the Frizette, which ranks among the most powerful performances seen by a 2-year-old filly this season.

There are no certainties in horse racing, as fillies like Champagne Room and Take Charge Brandi have proven in recent editions of the Juvenile Fillies. But when viewed through a historical lens, Echo Zulu has to be considered among the most probable winners of the 2021 Breeders’ Cup.

Good luck with your handicapping, and enjoy the race!

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