Breeders Cup Sprint

Breeders Cup Sprint

Breeders' Cup Sprint Field and Analysis

The Breeders' Cup Sprint is the race that longshot fans look forward to most. The short distance makes it possible for anything to happen, and as often as not that seems to mean that a horse that few people are paying attention to reaches the finish line first. That makes it hard to pick a winner, but well worth the effort if you pull it off - the winner has paid at least 12/1 three times in the last four years.

The race became more wide open last week with the defection of Fabulous Strike. The four-year-old had moved to the top of the division with a win over Discreet Cat (and 10 other wins in 13 starts), but a lung infection will keep him out of the field. Though he likely would have been the favorite, his absence doesn't mean that the field lacks talent. In fact, the field is pretty impressive.

Three horses are back from last year to try the race again. Bordonaro was highly regarded coming from California last year, but he ended up fourth at 4/1. He won't be anywhere near that price this year after a disappointing season that has seen him win just once in six tries. It's a bit of a mystery why he is here, but his connections pointed to the absence of Fabulous Strike as a key reason. One twist that may improve his chances is that he will be wearing blinkers for the first time. Attila's Storm was 42/1 last year, but overachieved to end up fifth. He was also in the race in 2005, finishing fourth. He's struggled with foot problems this year, but has yet to be off the board in four starts. Lacking from his record the last two years, though, is a big win over major competition. Kelly's Landing was a non-factor last year, finishing 10th. He had a big win in the Golden Shaheen on Dubai World Cup Day in March. That was his last time on the track, though, so how he will bounce back here is unclear.

None of those race veterans will be the favorite, or likely even close to it. That honor will likely fall to Midnight Lute, a Bob Baffert trainee. That trainer has had a lot of good horses, but he is extremely high on this one. His last race was a breathtaking victory in the Forego at Saratoga. He won by more than two lengths and earned a Beyer rating of 124, the highest number by any horse all year. The challenge for him is that the Forego win, and two of his other three career wins, was at seven furlongs. He hasn't won at the shorter six-furlong distance of the Sprint since he was a two year old in 2005. Baffert has been trying to tighten the horse up and get him ready to explode faster. It remains to be seen how successful he is.

A very intriguing entry is La Traviata, an undefeated three-year-old filly. She didn't race at two, and has only three starts this year, so she is far from the most experienced horse in the field. The way she runs, though, will lead many to overlook that. Her three wins, including one at Monmouth, have been by a combined 27-1/2 lengths. Last time out she won the Victory Ride at Saratoga by nine lengths, and she looked as if she could have won by much more if she had needed to. She would have been tough to beat in the new Filly and Mare Sprint, so obviously her connections feel good about her chances to take a shot here.

Besides La Traviata, the other elite three-year-old in the field is Idiot Proof. He has four wins in seven starts this year, including the grade one Ancient Title last time out. The winners of that race typically fare well in the Sprint. He's only been outside of California once, but the result was promising - he won the Jersey Shore at Monmouth on July 4 by more than seven lengths and broke the 15-year-old track record. The knock against him is that he has only faced large fields twice and he lost both times, so a full starting gate here could be a problem.

Greg's Gold was a strong second to Idiot Proof in the Ancient Title, but the six-year-old had already notched his own big win earlier in the summer when he was first to the wire in the Pat O'Brien at Del Mar. He got into some trouble in the stretch in the Ancient Title, and clearly is talented enough to contend. The same can be said for Smokey Stover. He has five wins in six starts, his most recent coming in the ungraded Icecapade Stakes at Monmouth. Overall the horse has eight wins in 13 starts, most of which were in California.

Benny the Bull is more about potential than accomplishment. The four-year-old only ran in his first stakes race on June 30, and has been in just two stakes races. His first was a decent fourth in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt at Saratoga in late July. Next time out he was a well beaten second to Midnight Lute in the Forego, but he made an incredible last-to-second move that opened eyes. A win would require a major jump up for this horse, but it's not impossible given how far he has come from being an allowance horse in Iowa.

The rest of the field isn't lacking possibilities, either. Commentator is fantastic at the best, with two 120+ Beyer's in 2005, but he has struggled the last two years and has only tried this distance once. In Summation has a grade one win this year in the Bing Crosby and a second at Monmouth last year. Mach Ride was a troubled fourth in the Vosburgh, but has had a good deal of success at Calder. Forefathers was on the Derby trail in the spring, and has refocused after a move from Nick Zito to Bill Mott. He'd have to show skill we haven't yet seen from him to win here. Talent Search was second in the Vosburgh, but was running in optional claiming company as recently as March.

There are at least 10 horses in the field that could win here. The only thing we know for sure is that the time should be lightning fast. Any horse that runs over 1:09 will likely not be a factor.

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Re: Breeders Cup Sprint

The Sprint
VegasInsider.com 

Breeders' Cup Breakdown

The Sprint
6 furlongs; $2 million; 3up; 2:35pm Saturday

The History
Gulch in 1988, Artax in 1999 and 2000 winner Kona Gold are just some of the fantastic sprinters that have won this. Very Subtle, Safely Kept and Desert Stormer did the ladies proud by beating the boys in this event.

Favorites: 5 for 23 (22%); Average Win Price: $22.03

The Best
Coming off the race of his career, a smash-mouth, 2 ¼ length score in the G1 Forego at Saratoga last out, Midnight Lute has been installed as the 2-1 in this eleven horse field. While it was his first win in almost a year, Midnight Lute had been trying route races mostly for trainer Bob Baffert. The Forego was his first start in 4 ½ months while this will be his first start in eight weeks.

On the same day Midnight Lute won the Forego, Smokey Stover shipped in from Northern California for trainer Greg Gilchrist to get his final prep in before this in the Icecapade at Monmouth against only three rivals. At odds of 1-10, Smokey Stover easily defeated the trip that dared face him by 2 lengths. In ten starts at the distance, Smokey Stover owns seven wins, two seconds and a third.

Idiot Proof and Greg’s Gold, one-two in the G1 Ancient Title over the Santa Anita Polytrack last out, renew their rivalry some 3,000 miles away in the Sprint at Monmouth. Idiot Proof is no stranger to the Jersey having won the G3 Jersey Shore in 1:07 2/5 on Independence Day. Greg’s Gold may have actually been best in the Ancient Title as he inexplicably found trouble a couple of times in a five horse field, surely part of the reason he’ll have a new pilot come Saturday.

The Rest
Attila’s Storm owns a win over the course, was third in the Forego last out and will be running in his third consecutive Sprint. Benny the Bull came flying to get second in the Forego and is 3 for 5 going six furlongs. Bordonaro is just 1 for 6 this season, his lone win coming in a G3 at Oaklawn in the spring. Commentator has won just two of the five starts he’s made in the past two seasons and they were both against NY breds. Forefathers was second in the G2 Jerome last out and is 2 for 3 with a second at the distance. He’s also entered in Friday’s Dirt Mile. Kelly’s Landing hasn’t raced since winning the G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen on World Cup night back on March 31st. Talent Search won a minor stakes at Monmouth two back before a second place finish in the G1 Vosburgh.

The Scenario
Well, it’s the Sprint, so nothing less than World War 3 on the front end is acceptable and this year won’t be an exception as Attila’s Storm, Commentator, Talent Search and Bordonaro will all be going full throttle for the lead. Idiot Proof and Smokey Stover don’t figure to be too far behind while Greg’s Gold, Midnight Lute and Kelly’s Landing will be in mid-pack. Benny the Bull and Forefathers will be towards the rear.

The Strategy
Betting a speed horse in here appears to be financial suicide. If you like Midnight Lute, he’ll certainly get plenty of pace to run at. I’m not sold on his last being his norm as opposed to the exception. I’ll let him beat me as the chalk and look elsewhere.

The Bomb
If Forefathers runs, he’s worth a flyer, especially if he’s around that morning line price of 20-1. He’s making his third start off the layoff since being transferred to Mott and should be flying late.

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Re: Breeders Cup Sprint

Midnight Lute takes Breeders' Cup Sprint
October 27th, 2007

Oceanport, NJ (Sports Network) - Midnight Lute, ridden by Garrett Gomez, exploded down the stretch to capture the $2 million Breeders' Cup Sprint at Monmouth Park. The victory was the second for Gomez on Saturday's Breeders' Cup card.

Midnight Lute got off a bit slower than the other nine horses. Talent Search took the lead and led the field up the backstretch. Coming off the final turn Talent Search and Idiot Proof were by themselves on the lead.

Angled off the rail by Gomez, Midnight Lute had clear sailing down the middle of the stretch. The colt accelerated past the leaders and went on to win by five lengths.

Idiot Proof held on for second followed by Talent Search and Benny the Bull. Completing the order of finish was Kelly's Landing, Bordonaro, Commentator, Greg's Gold, Smokey Stover and Forefathers

Attila's Storm was scratched from the race Friday morning.

The time for the six furlongs on a sloppy track was 1:09.18.

Trainer Bob Baffert and Gomez combined earlier to win the Juvenile Fillies race with Indian Blessing. The Sprint win was worth $1 million to put Midnight Lute's career earnings at better than $1.5 million.

The colt, owned by Mike Pegram, has won five of 10 lifetime starts. He won the Forego Stakes in his last start at Saratoga and has been ridden by four different jockeys in his last four races.

Midnight Lute paid $7.00, $4.00 and $3.00. Idiot Proof returned $6.60 and $4.60, and Talent Search paid $8.60 to show.

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