Will Juvenile Hero Storm the Court Be 28th Champion?
Photo Copyright Eclipse Sportswire
By Emily Shields for TVG
27 times in 35 editions, the TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner has been named the Eclipse Champion Two Year Old Male. 2019 hero Storm the Court, who upset the Juvenile field at odds of 45-1, could be the 28th horse to earn that honor. He has two wins and a grade 1 placing in four starts this year for earnings of $1,172,951.
The Juvenile has a long history of producing divisional champions, starting with Chief’s Crown, Tasso, and Capote in the first three runnings. Chief’s Crown went on to earn over $2 million and placed in all three Triple Crown races. Capote sired fellow Breeders’ Cup/Eclipse champion Boston Harbor who did the double in 1996.
Success Express in 1987 was the first Juvenile winner to not be named champion, as Forty Niner was a four-time graded stakes winner and missed the Breeders’ Cup.
Four more dual champions were named between 1988 and 1992, with Arazi winning on the merit of a lone North American victory in the 1991 Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs. The victory was so electrifying it remains one of the great moments in Breeders’ Cup history.
Boston Harbor in 1996 kicked off a series of eight straight Eclipse Champions coming out of the Juvenile. He was followed by unbeaten star Favorite Trick in 1997, who was also named Horse of the Year, then Answer Lively, Anees in 1999 at Gulfstream Park, Macho Uno, Johannesburg, Vindication, and Action This Day. Like Arazi, Johannesburg was a European shipper, while Vindication was unbeaten like Favorite Trick.
Street Sense in 2006 became the first Juvenile winner to go on and take the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1); no other Juvenile winner had managed that feat. He ended up losing the Eclipse Champion Three Year Old title in 2007 to Curlin. The Juvenile/Derby double wasn’t done again until 2015/2016 when Nyquist – unbeaten through the Derby – managed it. His Breeders’ Cup win came at Keeneland, where the 2020 Breeders’ Cup will be held.
Nyquist kicked off four straight winners over the last four years, with Classic Empire, Good Magic, and Game Winner following suit. Storm the Court would make it five in a row.
Three horses have been named Eclipse Champion while running in but not winning the Juvenile. Lookin At Lucky was the most recent in 2009; the son of Smart Strike missed to 30-1 shot Vale of York (Ire) at Santa Anita, but ultimately won three grade 1 races on the year. Easy Goer ran second in 1988, Dehere finished off the board in 1993.
The 49th annual Eclipse Awards will take place on January 23 in Florida. Follow the coverage and play the best fall races with TVG.
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