The first day of the Breeders’ Cup series is known as “Future Stars Friday.” That’s because each of the five Breeders’ Cup races held that day feature only two-year-old horses, who are the up-and-comers of the sport. Many of them go on to be favored in Triple Crown races, both in the United States and abroad.
The Juvenile and the Juvenile Fillies, two of the original seven Breeders’ Cup races, take place over dirt (or synthetic if dirt is not available).
The other races were added in later years: the Juvenile Turf in 2007, the Juvenile Fillies Turf in 2008, and the Juvenile Turf Sprint in 2018 (a Juvenile Sprint over the dirt was included in 2011 and 2012, but was discontinued thereafter).
Four of the five races are routes run around two turns, while the Juvenile Turf Sprint is run around one turn over five and a half or six furlongs (depending on the track). You can find more details and the schedule of this specific race here: twinspires.com/breeders-cup/juvenile
Two of the races are restricted to fillies and two to colts and geldings; the Juvenile Turf Sprint is open to all sexes.
Let’s take a look at one of the top contenders of each race featured on Future Stars Friday.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies: Wonder Wheel
Wonder Wheel has the advantage of having a graded stakes victory at Keeneland, the track that will play host to the Breeders’ Cup series this year. She won Keeneland’s Grade I Darley Alcibiades Stakes by a nose over Chop Chop. Her only loss in four starts came in the Grade I Spinaway Stakes at Saratoga, when she failed to catch longshot Leave No Trace.
Wonder Wheel is by Into Mischief, a leading sire whose other top offspring include champion Gamine, Kentucky Derby winner Mandaloun, and Breeders’ Cup Classic contender Life is Good. Her dam, Wonder Gal, was a stakes-winning two-year-old who finished third in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf: Meditate (IRE)
Meditate began her career with a four race winning streak: a maiden at the Curragh, the Group III Coolmore Stud Irish E.B.F. Naas Fillies Sprint Stakes at Naas, the Group III Albany Stakes at Ascot, and the Group II Alpha Centauri Debutante Stakes at the Curragh. Her most recent efforts have been seconds in Group I events: the Curragh’s Moyglare Stud Stakes and Newmarket’s Cheveley Park Stakes. The winners of those Group I races have elected to stay in Europe, but Meditate looks to take on her American counterparts, and there is little to dislike about her talent and experience.
Meditate’s sire, No Nay Never, was a well traveled racehorse who won graded events in France, Britain, and the United States. She is out of Pembina, an unraced daughter of Arc winner Dalakhani.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf: Dubai Mile (IRE)
Dubai Mile finished fourth in his debut at Redcar, but he followed that with two wins in novice races at Royal Windsor and Kempton Park. Jumping into stakes company, he was the runner-up in the Group II Juddemonte Royal Lodge Stakes before winning his first Group I in France’s Criterium de Saint-Cloud.
Dubai Mile’s sire was the ill-fated Roaring Lion, a world champion in 2018 who died after siring his only crop. His dam, Beach Bunny, was unraced, but her sire, High Chapparal, won the Breeders’ Cup Turf twice.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint: Blackbeard (IRE)
Blackbeard is one of the most experienced juveniles looking to enter the Breeders’ Cup races, with a whopping eight lifetime starts, including six wins (four of them in graded stakes) in three different countries. One of those wins came in the Group I Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes, one of the most historic and prestigious European races for juveniles. Although it is likely that he will enter the Juvenile Turf Sprint, his connections did note that opting for the longer Juvenile Turf race may also be a consideration.
Like Meditate, Blackbeard is by No Nay Never. He is out of Muirin, whose sire Born to Sea is a half-brother to Giants Causeway.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile: Cave Rock
The Baffert-trained sensation looks to be a hot prospect in the Juvenile. He is undefeated in three career starts. After winning his maiden, he jumped straight into Grade I company and won both the Runhappy Del Mar Futurity and the American Pharoah Stakes. Each of those wins has been by five lengths or more, and his talent has helped his make his own luck.
Similar to Dubai Mile, Cave Rock’s sire Arrogate died young, early into his stud career. His dam, Georgie’s Angel, won the Grade III Schuylerville Stakes as a two-year-old.
Author: Lindsay Griffin