From the time he spotted him in the Keeneland sales ring and recommended his purchase for $500,000, trainer D. Wayne Lukas believed in Timber Country. He shipped from coast to coast after two disappointing early losses and eventually won the Grade 3 Balboa Stakes and finished a close third in the Del Mar Futurity in California. In New York he captured the Grade 1 Moet Champagne Stakes, which set him up as the favorite for the Juvenile.
In a bulky field of 13, jockey Pat Day had to keep Timber Country from getting blocked into the first turn and stayed on the rail for the rest of the race. As the leaders fanned a bit wide around the turn, Day found just enough room on the inside and his long-striding colt moved quickly through the hole. His impressive two-length win would garner him the 2-year-old championship.