First included in the Breeders' Cup World Championships schedule in 2008, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Filles Turf is the counterpart race to the Juvenile Turf, which is restricted to colts and geldings. Open to fillies aged two, the Juvenile Fillies Turf is run at the distance of one mile, and offers a total purse of $1 million. As the third race of Day One of the Breeders' Cup, the 2018 Juvenile Fillies Turf will be run on November 2 at Churchill Downs.
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf Odds
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Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf Betting Tips
The Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, the female version of the Juvenile Turf, offers some interesting historical parallels. For one thing, over the previous nine runnings of the event, the Juvenile Fillies Turf winner's odds have averaged 7-1, the same as the Juvenile Turf. Although the 2017 winner, Rushing Fall, skewed those numbers just a bit by winning at odds of 3-1.
Also, just like the Juvenile Turf, only one favorite has won the Juvenile Fillies Turf, that being Lady Eli, when she won at odds of 2-1 in 2014.
Differences Between the Fillies and Colts
There are, however, some significant differences. The Juvenile Fillies Turf has produced double-digit Win payouts four times over the nine years, twice as many as the Juvenile Turf, which has had one more race.
Since the race was first run in 2008, the favorites for the Juvenile Fillies Turf have finished in the money only four times in 10 starts, with one winner, two second-place finishes, and one third-place finish, translating to an in-the-money percentage for favorites as only 44%. This past year, UK invader Happily went off as the favorite at 5-2 but finished dead last in the field 14 runners.
That is significantly lower than the 70% for the Juvenile Turf, and below the accepted norm of 67%.
These factors combine to demonstrate the Juvenile Fillies Turf is historically one of the most wide-open races in the Breeder's Cup, and while this makes it a tough race to handicap, it can also provide for some very lucrative payouts if you get it right.
So how to handicap the Juvenile Fillies Turf?
Based on the above, it's perhaps the only race on the Breeders' Cup schedule where one could ignore the favorite - or at least put together a few betting combinations that ignore the favorite - and not be bucking common sense.
Of course, this all depends on what past performance results have to say about that favorite and how strong she is against the rest of the field.
Prep Races are a Key Factor
Seven of the past winners had won their prep race prior to the Breeders' Cup - including Rushing Fall in 2017, who was actually two-for-two in her young career - and two others had finished second. What is perhaps even more interesting from a handicapping point of view is where they had won or prepped for the race.
While it's true that there are a limited number of turf races for two-year-old filllies in North America, of the seven North American-based Juvenile Fillies winners four prepped for the Breeders' Cup by running the (G3) Miss Grillo Stakes at Belmont, with three winners and one runner-up finish.
Three others had prepped in the (G2) Natalama Stakes at Woodbine, with a win, a second-place finish and a third-place finish among them (note the third-place runner, Stephanie's Kitten, ran once more prior to the BC by winning the (G1) Darley Alciabides Stakes at Keeneland).
Rushing Fall forged a slightly different path to her BC win, previously taking the (G3) Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland.
Clearly, however, the former two races are very important tune-ups to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, and when analyzing the past performance information, a start and a good result in either of these two races needs to be given serious weight.
North American Based Fillies Have the Edge
Over the history of the Juvenile Fillies Turf, only two horses bred or based in Europe have won the race, with five others finishing in the money. In the Juvenile Turf, however, four of the past five winners have been based in Europe.
In 2017, half the field were European-based fillies, but fillies from North America ran first and second, and claimed three of the top four places overall. This difference could simply come down to the fact that far fewer turf-racing juvenile fillies have shipped over to run in the Breeders' Cup than have juvenile turf colts. However, the dominance of North American-based runners in the race should be taken into consideration when handicapping the race.