Breeders Cup: Two-year-old trends
A handful of races for the juveniles will take place at Keeneland on Friday, November 4. The ‘Future Stars Friday’ portion of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships figures to attract a countless number of excellent prospects, and I have pointed out some trends of significant interest for the two-year-old races.
Six of the past 10 editions of the race have been captured by California-based runners, with Corniche streaking home a convincing winner last campaign. With the formidable Cave Rock leading the way for conditioner Bob Baffert this year, the trend could surely continue at Keeneland.
The Frizette S. (G1) has been a vital springboard to Juvenile Fillies glory in recent seasons. 2017 Breeders’ Cup starlet Caledonia Road (runner-up), 2018 vixen Jaywalk (winner), 2020 champ Vequist (second), and 2021 romper Echo Zulu (first), each parlayed a good Frizette performance into success in the World Championships. Which means that Chocolate Gelato and You’re My Girl, one-two in the edition of the 2022 Frizette, have to be considered major contenders in Lexington.
Dating back to its inception in 2007, European-based youngsters have crossed the wire in first in the grassy test on 10 occasions, although the Mike Maker-trained Fire At Will (2020) came out on top the last time the race was contested at Keeneland. I will give a sizable advantage to the shippers once again this campaign, with a fine contingent of Euros Keeneland bound once again.
In contrast to the Juvenile Turf, this grassy affair has been dominated by horses based in the states historically. Just two invaders bagged the turf test since 2008, and none dating back to 2013. The surprising trend can’t be ignored and I will be focusing almost solely on the domestic contenders on November 4, especially those from the Chad Brown shedrow as he has saddled five winners of the affair.
Conditioner Wesley Ward has been a dominant presence in sending out three of the four winners of the grassy dash, including the last three in succession. With an expected strong hand for 2022, I’ll continue to ride Ward’s coattails until the trend stops.