- Founded in 1920, the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes is one of the most important late-season 2-year-old races. Frequently it’s a target for horses not quite up to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile standard that are still improving and being aimed at the Kentucky Derby at the same track the following May.
- The grade two Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes has been a points-earning race for the Road to the Kentucky Derby table since Churchill Downs initiated the Road series in 2013, with 10 points on offer for the winner, four for second, two for third, and one for fourth. Of the points-scorers, one made the frame for the Derby on the First Saturday in May – the 2015 fourth-place finisher Gun Runner, third to Nyquist in the Kentucky Derby.
- As is the case this year, the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes is frequently run during the four-day betting window for pool one of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, and the sire wager. Chances are that any Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes winner that’s been an individual option in the KDFW will see its closing price shrink lower than the morning line – as was the case last year with McCraken, a 15-1 morning-line chance who was 12-1 when the pool closed.
- In its early years, the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes looked like being a great guide to the next year’s Derby. Out of its first 11 renewals, three winners – Reigh Count (1927), Clyde Van Dusen (1928), and Twenty Grand (1930) – went on to win the Derby the next year. Since then, however, the strike rate has been very low: only Cannonade (1973) and Super Saver (2009) won the Derby the next year.
- Seven horses have completed the double of Churchill Downs’ two main fall races for juveniles, the Iroquois Stakes (G3) and the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes: they are Highland Park (1982), Richman (1990), Ide (1995), Exploit (1998), The Cliff’s Edge (2003), Tiz Wonderful (2006), and Uncaptured (2012).
(Gun Runner ran 4th in the 2015 Kentucky Jockey Club / Coady Photo)