Breeders' Cup Juvenile trends on the Road to the Kentucky Derby

October 26th, 2022

Unbeaten Del Mar Futurity (G1) hero Cave Rock will highlight a field of two-year-olds in the 2022 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) at Keeneland on Nov. 4, part of the 2022 Road to the Kentucky Derby series.

Trained by Bob Baffert, a five-time winner of the Juvenile, Cave Rock is the projected favorite in a likely field of 12. The winner of the Juvenile will receive 10 points in the Road to the Kentucky Derby, with second through fifth place collecting points on a sliding scale of 4-3-2-1. Horses saddled by a trainer currently suspended from racing in the 2023 Kentucky Derby or 2023 Kentucky Oaks are ineligible to earn points.

While the Juvenile is a chance to gain a glimpse at up-and-coming two-year-olds who may factor on the first Saturday in May, just one winner since 2013 — the year the points system was introduced — has gone on to win the Run for the Roses.

Below we look at the last nine Juvenile winners, plus where they placed in Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races that followed and how they performed along the Triple Crown trail.

Breeders' Cup Juvenile winners since 2013

Bob Baffert
Mike E. Smith
Speedway Stables LLC
Essential Quality
Brad Cox
Luis Saez
Godolphin Stables
Storm the Court
Peter Eurton
Flavien Prat
Exline-Border Racing LLC et al.
Game Winner
Bob Baffert
Joel Rosario
Gary and Mary West
Good Magic
Chad Brown
Jose Ortiz
e Five Racing / Stonestreet Stables
Classic Empire
Mark Casse
Julien Leparoux
John C. Oxley
Doug O'Neill
Mario Gutierrez
Reddam Racing
Texas Red
Keith Desormeaux
Kent Desormeaux
Erich Brehm, Wayne Detmar et al.
New Year's Day
Bob Baffert
Martin Garcia
Gary and Mary West

2021 Corniche

Sire: Quality Road (12th in 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic)
Damsire: Wasted Tears by Najran
Record ahead of Juvenile: 2 2-0-0

Corniche entered the Breeders' Cup event with an unbeaten, 2-for-2 record. He broke his maiden on debut at Del Mar in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight and followed up the 4 1/4-length win with a 3 1/4-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile American Pharoah S. (G1), another Kentucky Derby prep and a Breeders' Cup qualifying event.

As the 1.40-1 favorite, Corniche scored a 1 3/4-length win in the Juvenile, which earned jockey Mike Smith a record 27th Breeders' Cup victory. The Quality Road colt did not receive any qualifying points to the Kentucky Derby, as trainer Bob Baffert was suspended by Churchill Downs through 2023.

Corniche was given time off after his two-year-old season and missed the Triple Crown. He was transferred to the barn of Todd Pletcher and raced once more, in the Amsterdam S. (G2) in July 2022, but retired after sustaining an injury in the race.

2020 Essential Quality

Sire: Tapit
Damsire: Delightful Quality by Elusive Quality
Record ahead of Juvenile: 2 2-0-0

The Brad Cox-trained Essential Quality was 2-for-2 ahead of the Juvenile, as well. Winning on debut in a maiden special weight at Churchill Downs, the gray colt next won the 1 1/16-mile Breeders' Futurity (G1) at Keeneland — a Derby prep — before winning the Juvenile at the same track.

Essential Quality went on to score victories in the Southwest S. (G3) at Oaklawn and Blue Grass S. (G2) at Keeneland, both RTKD races, before finishing fourth in the 2021 Kentucky Derby. He was later elevated to third via disqualification of Medina Spirit.

Essential Quality skipped the Preakness S. (G1) and returned to the Triple Crown trail to win the Belmont S. (G1), then closed out his career with victories in the Jim Dandy S. (G2) and Travers S. (G1), and a third in the 2021 Breeders' Cup Classic (G1).

Essential Quality is the only Juvenile winner since 2013 whose sire, dam, and damsire did not run in a Breeders' Cup event.

2019 Storm the Court

Sire: Court Vision (Won 2011 Breeders' Cup Mile)
Damsire: My Tejana Storm by Tejano Run (Third in 1994 Breeders' Cup Juvenile)
Record ahead of Juvenile: 3 1-0-1

A 46-1 longshot in the Juvenile, Storm the Court entered the race with one win in three career starts, having broken his maiden at Del Mar on debut.

The Court Vision son was bumped hard before the three-quarter pole and lost his rider in the Del Mar Futurity, then placed third in the American Pharoah S. before winning by a head in the Juvenile.

In Derby prep races the San Felipe (G2) and Arkansas Derby (G1), Storm the Court finished third and sixth, respectively. He was also fourth in the San Vicente S. (G2), third in the Ohio Derby (G3), and second in the La Jolla H. (G3).

As a 27-1 longshot, Storm the Court finished sixth to Authentic in the Covid-delayed 2020 Derby and failed to visit the winner's circle in his next nine starts before retiring.

2018 Game Winner

Sire: Candy Ride (ARG)
Damsire: Indyan Giving by A.P. Indy (won 1992 Breeders' Cup Classic)
Record ahead of Juvenile: 3 3-0-0

Another unbeaten ahead of the Juvenile, Baffert trainee Game Winner scored victories in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) and American Pharoah S. (G1) ahead of the Juvenile, then finished second in both his Derby prep races, the Rebel S. (G2) and Santa Anita Derby (G1).

One of three Derby runners for Baffert that year, Game Winner crossed the finish line sixth, 3 3/4 lengths behind Maximum Security, subsequently disqualified for interference, and two lengths behind the promoted winner Country House. Game Winner raced once more, romping to a five-length win in the Los Alamitos Derby (G3) before retiring.

2017 Good Magic

Sire: Curlin (Won 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic)
Damsire: Glinda the Good by Hard Spun (Second in 2007 Breeders' Cup Classic)
Record ahead of Juvenile: 2 0-2-0

Another descendant of a Breeders' Cup Classic champ, Good Magic earned two second-place finishes before winning the Juvenile in his third career start.

He followed up his win with a third in the RTKD prep the Fountain of Youth S. (G2) at Gulfstream, then won the Blue Grass (G2) before finishing runner-up to Justify in the 2018 Kentucky Derby.

Good Magic was fourth in the Preakness (G1) and won the Haskell (G1) before placing ninth in the Travers (G1) and retiring to stud. Good Magic is currently a leading first-crop sire, with offspring Blazing Sevens and Curly Jack both entered into the 2022 Juvenile.

2016 Classic Empire

Sire: Pioneerof the Nile (Fifth in 2008 Breeders' Cup Juvenile)
Damsire: Sambuca Classica by Cat Thief (Third in 1998 Breeders' Cup Juvenile; Won 1999 Classic)
Record ahead of Juvenile: 4 3-0-0 start

Had it not been for him unseating his rider at the start of the Hopeful S. (G1), Classic Empire may have entered the Juvenile undefeated. Winner of the Bashford Manor S. (G3) at Churchill Downs, the Pioneerof the Nile colt got back to the winner's circle in the Juvenile at Santa Anita, then finished third in the Holy Bull (G2) and first in the Arkansas Derby (G1) in his two other RTKD preps ahead of his fourth in the Kentucky Derby.

Classic Empire ended his career with a second in the Preakness to Cloud Computing. A hoof abscess kept him out of the Belmont and he retired to stud in October of 2017.

Classic Empire's sire, Pioneerof the Nile, was fifth in the 2008 Juvenile to Midshipmen and also sired American Pharoah, the only horse to win the Triple Crown and the Classic in the same year.

2015 Nyquist

Sire: Uncle Mo (Won 2010 Breeders' Cup Juvenile)
Damsire: Seeking Gabrielle by Forestry (Fourth in 1999 Breeders' Cup Sprint)
Record ahead of Juvenile: 4 4-0-0

The only Juvenile winner since 2013 to win the Kentucky Derby, Nyquist became just the second horse to pull off the Juvenile-Derby double when he won the 2016 Run for the Roses by 1 1/4 lengths. His sire, Uncle Mo, also won the Juvenile five years before Nyquist.

The Doug O'Neill pupil was undefeated ahead of the Breeders' Cup, with victories in the Best Pal S. (then a G2), Del Mar Futurity (G1), and FrontRunner S. (G1) on the California circuit.

On the Road to the Kentucky Derby, Nyquist was victorious in the Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream before his triumph on the first Saturday in May.

Nyquist also finished third in the Preakness but withdrew from the Belmont because of a high leucocyte count. He closed out his career with a fourth in the Haskell (G1) and a sixth in the Pennsylvania Derby (then a G2).

Among Nyquist's notable progeny, Vequist won the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).

2014 Texas Red

Sire: Afleet Alex (Second in 2004 Breeders' Cup Juvenile)
Damsire: Ramatuelle (CHI) by Jeune Homme
Record ahead of Juvenile: 4 1-1-1

Texas Red took three tries to break his maiden, then finished third in the FrontRunner S., before being sent off as a 14-1 shot in the Juvenile.

He turned a corner from there, finishing second in the San Vicente, and was expected to start in the Risen Star S. (G2) but developed a foot abscess. He was later taken out of consideration for the Kentucky Derby by trainer Keith Desormeaux.

He returned to the track in July of 2015 and placed second in the Dwyer (G3), then won the Jim Dandy at Saratoga and finished fifth in the Travers before retiring to stud.

2013 New Year’s Day

Sire: Street Cry (IRE) (Third in 2000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile)
Justwhistledixie by Dixie Union (Fifth in 1999 Breeders' Cup Juvenile)
Record ahead of Juvenile:
2 1-0-1

The Street Cry colt was third on debut in Del Mar, then won by 1 3/4 lengths in a one-mile maiden special weight at the same track. Next shipping to Santa Anita, New Year's Day scored a 1 1/4-length victory in the Juvenile as a 10.50-1 longshot for Baffert.

He sustained an injury in December of that year and retired thereafter.