A Quick Guide To Breeders Cup Juvenile Race

Horse racing is a popular and highly revered sport in our current world. With so many events happening each year, spectators are never at a loss of races to attend or watch on their television.

Yet there are a few events that truly stand out from the rest. One of these is the Breeders Cup.

The Breeders’ Cup World Championships is comprised of a series of annual Grade I Thoroughbred races. It has been in operation since 1982. One of the most highly anticipated races within this event is the Juvenile division.

There are lots of things to learn about the Breeders Cup TVG Juvenile races before you can place your bets. This quick guide will tell you everything you need to know!

What Is A Juvenile Horse Race?

In the world of horse racing, the term ‘juvenile’ is used to refer to horses that are either two years old when competing in Flat races or three years old when participating in the National Hunt.

A horse turns a year older on the 1st of January each year regardless of the day they were born. This means that a race full of juveniles can have many horses of completely different age groups even though they are all classed as two-year-olds when it comes to their official racing age.

What Is The Breeders Cup Juvenile Race?

This is a thoroughbred horse race for 2-year-old geldings and colts. It is raced on dirt and is typically held in late October or early November time at a different racetrack in the US or Canada. This is part of the Breeder’s Cup World Championships.

This is generally the first time that these young horses from across different racing circuits can meet up with one another. The winner often becomes the favorite to win the Kentucky Derby the following year, and also is the recipient of the Eclipse Award for Champion Two-Year-Old Male Horse.

It’s also important to note that in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile division, the total number of allowed runners is typically limited to 14. However, there are up to around four allowed automatic berths.

The Breeders Cup Juvenile race is the most important juvenile contest on the road to the Kentucky Derby series. As a result, it is worth almost double all of the other juvenile races within the main US series!

A Brief History

The Breeders Cup Juvenile ranks highly as North America’s most prominent season-defining racing championship for young colts and geldings, as mentioned above. The race, lasting just over a mile, has traveled around the country since 1984. It is also commonly won by runners who are lacking the durability or stamina to succeed in the Kentucky Derby as 3-year-olds.

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For many years, racing fans and handicappers have spoken out about the so-called ‘Juvenile Jinx.’ The thinking with this sound theory is that a young horse couldn’t conquer both the Breeders Cup Juvenile race (G1) and the Kentucky Derby (G1).

Many of the most impressive winners of this specific race have come up short on this first Saturday in May, including the Horse of the Year Favorite Trick (finished eighth in 1997) and Arazi (finished eighth in 1992).

Yet if you put a considerable number of high-quality juvenile contenders against each other in an annual championship you are bound to encounter a Kentucky Derby winner every so often. In the first decade of the Breeders Cup Juvenile race, many future Derby champions were beaten before they made history — including Alysheba (1987), Sea Hero (1993), and even Spend a Buck (1985).

Fortunately, the ‘curse’ was broken in 2006-2007 when a colt called Street Sense beat out his rivals. Not only did this interrupt the Juvenile Jinx but it also set a new record of ten lengths. He later went on to find extreme success at the Kentucky Derby.

Influence Of The Breeders Cup Juvenile Race

In the years since the Juvenile race first came about, its influence has continued to drastically grow. When Midshipman won the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in the stakes-record time of 1:40.94, the final horse to cross the finish line was a gelding called Mine That Bird.

The following year, Mine That Bird astounded the entire racing world via a 50-1 upset in the iconic Run for the Roses.

How Competitive Is The Breeders Cup Juvenile Market?

When you look closely at the trends for the last ten renewals, it’s clear that the most competitive market was in 2012. Here, the race had an over-round of about 115%. Then the 2013 race was in the bookie’s favor with an over-round of about 124%.

On average, the last ten renewals of the Breeders Cup Juvenile show the over-round to be about 118%. This means that $100 will be paid out for every $118 that is bet.

Where Have All Of The Winning Runners Come From?

There are a few countries that have produced more winning trainers for the Breeders Cup Juvenile race than others. The list is as follows:

  • USA: nine winners with an additional 19 placements from 103 different runners.
  • Canada: one winner with an additional single placement from eight runners.
  • Ireland: no winners with no additional placings from three different runners.
  • Japan: no winners, no additional placings from two runners.

Breeders Cup Juvenile Trainer Statistics

The leading trainer in the Juvenile over the last ten renewals is Bob Baffert. He has won the race on three occasions: on New Year’s Day (2013), Game Winner (2018), and also Corniche (2021).

Current Purse

While the 2022 purse has yet to be announced, it’s safe to assume it will likely match that of the 2021 Juvenile race — a staggering $2 million.


The Breeders Cup Juvenile race is one of the most highly anticipated juvenile races in horse racing history. With more new talent being introduced every year, it’s no surprise that we see multiple new winners at every corner.

We hope you now have a better understanding of what this event is all about!

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