Three Great Moments: Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder

The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies is sometimes a bit overlooked in the shadow of the Juvenile (and the impending Derby fever it kicks off), but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t produced some notable performances, and careers!

Aside from being the de facto championship race for juvenile fillies (all but two winners have gone on to be the 2-year-old champion), many entrants have gone on to win Eclipse Awards later in their careers. Winners Open Mind (1988) and Silverbulletday (1998) went on to become the 3-year-old champion, as did non-winning runners Sacahuista (4th in 1986), Heavenly Prize (3rd in 1993), Serena’s Song (2nd in 1994), Surfside (3rd in 1999) and Xtra Heat (10th in 2000). Ashado, who finished 2nd in 2003, was the older female champion of 2005. Flawlessly, who finished 7th in 1990, was the female turf champion of 1992 and 1993, and 2007 winner Indian Blessing was the 2008 female sprint champion.

What are the Three Great Moments that we want to highlight? My Miss Aurelia (2011) and Awesome Feather (2010), who met in 2012 Ladies Classic, are recent notable winners, but we’re looking at three outstanding performances of a more vintage variety, editions of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies that you might not be familiar with (or perhaps might enjoy seeing again!).

In chronological order….

1994 Flanders and Serena’s Song

This race ought to look familiar in a year when we’ve become accustomed to fillies dueling the length of the stretch (2012 Cotillion & Frizette). This race was the first meeting of the D. Wayne Lukas stablesmates, as Serena’s Song, prepped on the West Coast and Flanders prepped on the East Coast. Serena’s Song had raced a whopping eight times coming into the race, winning twice, while Flanders had run four times, losing only once. At 7-1, Serena’s Song almost stole the race from her heavily favored stablemate , but both fillies put on the quite the show.

Video courtesy of the Breeders’ Cup

1994 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Chart courtesy of
Flanders Lifetime Past Performance courtesy of
Serena’s Song Lifetime Past Performance courtesy of

Unfortunately, this was to be Flanders’ finale as she came out of the race with a career-ending injury, but prior to her death in 2010, she produced a 3-year-old filly champion in Surfside, who beat older males in the 2000 Grade 2 Clark Handicap. Serena’s Song came back in 1995 to win the 3-year-old filly championship, winning 9 out of 13 starts, including beating males in the 1995 Haskell and Jim Beam Stakes (now the Spiral Stakes) and beating older females in the Beldame. While not a champion as a 4-year-old, Serena’s Song compiled a record that year of 15-5-7-2, never running worse than third and almost winning the Whitney and BC Distaff.

1995 My Flag

In a race that looked like as though it would be a repeat of the previous year (two Lukas fillies dueling the entire way to run 1-2), My Flag ruined the party for D. Wayne. Coming within a length of Cara Rafaela and favored Golden Attraction as they approached the stretch, My Flag looked as though she might fly by them, but the dueling fillies pulled away. The daughter of Breeders’ Cup winner Personal Ensign didn’t give up, though, and passed the Lukas fillies in the final strides. My Flag was the first Breeders’ Cup winner out of a Breeders’ Cup winning mare.

Video courtesy of the Breeders’ Cup

1995 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Chart courtesy of
My Flag Lifetime Past Performance courtesy of

Coming into the race, My Flag had raced five times, winning only her maiden. She ran third behind Golden Attraction and Cara Rafaela in the Grade 1 Matron and second to Golden Attraction in the Grade 1 Frizette prior to the Breeders’ Cup. As a 3-year-old, she won four of her 10 races, three of which were Grade 1s (Ashland, Coaching Club American Oaks and Gazelle). She was retired after a lackluster 4-year-old season, but, like her dam, produced another Breeders’ Cup winner in Storm Flag Flying. Also of note, her sire was 1988 champion 2-year-old Easy Goer, who ran second behind Sunday Silence in the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and 1989 Breeders’ Cup Classic.

2002 Storm Flag Flying / Composure

Looking like she was under a drive on the backstretch, this daughter of 1995 winner My Flag truly displayed “the heart of a champion” as noted by race caller Tom Durkin. She got the lead going into the stretch and was passed by Composure but fought back gamely in the final furlong to win.

Video courtesy of the Breeders’ Cup

2002 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Chart courtesy of
Storm Flag Flying Lifetime Past Performance courtesy of
Composure Lifetime Past Performance courtesy of

Storm Flag Flying was undefeated as a 2-year-old but did not have the same success at three, winning only two out of 10 starts. One of those wins came in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign against older fillies and mares, including former Horse of the Year Azeri, who was the older female champion that year for the third year in a row. Personal Ensign was Storm Flag Flying’s second dam. Composure’s 3-year-old season was cut short due to an injury, she was 2 for 3 and seemed to be rounding into form for that year’s Kentucky Oaks.

Also Considered

Naturally, it wasn’t easy to narrow the plethora of great performances in the Juvenile Fillies down to three. Others considered for inclusion were Phone Chatter (1993) and Sweet Catomine (2004).

Phone Chatter came wide and fought for her win, wearing down Sardula (1994 Kentucky Oaks winner) and Heavenly Prize (1994 3-year-old champion filly) to win the 1993 Juvenile Fillies. Phone Chatter’s family has been doing well recently with In Lingerie winning the Grade 1 Spinster Stakes (Phone Chatter is her second dam).

When I first started following racing, the name Sweet Catomine was mentioned frequently as a benchmark for 2-year-old fillies. In the 2004 rendition of the Juvenile Fillies, she had to check in traffic (break her momentum) and she still went on to win by five lengths. In one of the more bizarre incidents in recent years, Sweet Catomine was retired abruptly at three after running fifth in the Santa Anita Derby against colts amid questions about her soundness. The Santa Anita Derby ended her five-race winning streak with a career record of 7-5-1-0. Her breeding career has so far been terribly undistinguished, but her full sister, Life is Sweet, won the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic.

Certainly there are plenty of other great and potentially overlooked renditions, let us know which ones you like in the comments!

Curious about how we arrived at this list? Find out more about our new section!

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