April 13, 2021

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile an East-West showdown of top 2019 Derby contenders

American Pharoah winner Game Winner & Champagne winner Complexity top Breeders’ Cup & Derby lists

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Oct. 11, 2018) – The Road to the Kentucky Derby heads to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) following a quartet of points races, and three of the four winners are expected to meet on November 3 at Churchill Downs as part of the inaugural Future Stars Friday concept.

Two of the three winners – Game Winner (American Pharoah [G1]) and Complexity (Champagne [G1]) —  feature prominently among Churchill handicappers’ top ten lists while the third – Breeders’ Futurity (G10 hero Knicks Go – appears only on Joe Kristufek’s list.

Knicks Go was 70-1 when winning the Futurity, making his $142 mutuel the highest of any two-year-old points race and second-highest ever behind Ive Struck a Nerve’s 135.2-1 upset of the 2013 Risen Star Stakes (G2) at Fair Grounds.

The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile is the next 2019 Kentucky Derby points race and, unlike the previous 10-points-to-the-winner races, offers 20 points to the winner. The race will not only determine the current leader on the Road to the Kentucky Derby but also the likely champion two-year-old male and early wagering favorite for next year’s Derby.

Chad Brown trains Complexity, and the Eclipse Award-winning trainer also conditioned last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and eventual 2018 Kentucky Derby runner-up Good Magic.

“Complexity may not have the pedigree to get the Kentucky Derby distance of 1 1/4 miles, but thus far his speed and talent are enough to put him atop my early Kentucky Derby list,” TwinSpires.com handicapper Scott Shapiro said. “The $375,000 Keeneland September yearling sale purchase for Klaravich Stables dominated a strong group of maidens at Saratoga and followed it with a powerful Champagne score. He is the real deal.”

Since the points system began in 2012 for the 2013 Kentucky Derby, five of six Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winners had some Kentucky Derby points, including prep race winners Shanghai Bobby (Champagne), Nyquist (FrontRunner/American Pharoah), and Classic Empire (Futurity). In that stretch, only 2013 Juvenile winner New Year’s Day was making his stakes debut.

As for this year’s group, Complexity has run fastest on the Brisnet.com scale, earning a 99 Speed rating when winning the Champagne. Game Winner received a 97 for his American Pharoah win while Cairo Cat (Iroquois [G3]) and Knicks Go both received a 92 in their respective races. Cairo Cat is currently sidelined with a minor injury.

Road to the Kentucky Derby Brisnet.com Speed & Class Ratings
Date Track Distance Race Winner Speed Class
Sept. 15 Churchill 1 1/16 miles Iroquois Cairo Cat 92 118.3
Sept. 29 Santa Anita 1 1/16 miles American Pharoah Game Winner 97 120.2
Oct. 6 Belmont 1 mile Champagne Complexity 99 121.1
Oct. 6 Keeneland 1 1/16 miles Breeders’ Futurity Knicks Go 92 119.6

For additional insight into the Road to the Kentucky Derby, visit the TwinSpires.com Youtube channel where Ed DeRosa and James Scully present ON POINTS each week previewing and recapping points races as well as top trends and Kentucky Oaks discussion. Also like TwinSpires on Facebook and follow on Twitter @TwinSpires.