The first thing you have to identify with the sprint is the speed. This race is all about speed and the speed of the speed is always dangerous. I firmly believe that Attila’s Storm would have controlled this race. He led the last two sprints and he was fresh for this race and had an inward post. But he’s out now and no one stands alone as the best speed of the race. That means speed will fold or someone who is under the radar will jump up and run big. Commentator is dangerous because of his love for the slop but I think he’s always been a horse who hates company on the lead so I’ll oppose. Talent Search may prove to be the speed horse with the most staying power. This race will really put my convictions to the test. I’m a firm believer in backing true 6f horses in this race. I don’t like high profile horses like Midnight Lute who are far better at longer distances. I always lean towards the specialists and that means leaning against Midnight Lute. The Lute was every flattering adjective you could think of in the Forego. It was an almighty race, but I have reason to believe that it won’t turn out like this in here. The distance makes a huge difference. 6f is not 7f and so many horses excel at one and struggle at the other. I also don’t like the fact that the figure he earned was so high above anything else he’s ever done, but a third strike against him is that he’s a really big horse who may not like the turns at Monmouth and definitely won’t like the #2 post he drew. This is a horse who would be better off in post 14 because of his big stride. He wants to be out there stalking like he was in the Forego. From post 2 he’s likely to be sucked back in the field and never heard from again. Smokey Stover has also drawn inside but he has enough speed to get himself out of there or at least to be leading the second flight of horses. Smokey Stover is the most complete sprinting package in this field. He’s got speed, he can rate, he likes the track, loves the distance and his best race is definitely good enough. The off track is a slight worry after how he ran at Calder but I think Monmouth plays fast when wet and he does have some nice races on fast wet Californian tracks. Idiot Proof is like “Smokey Stover lite”, all of those things are true of him as well although to a slightly lesser degree. He is a dangerous horse that I’ll use defensively because he really has an ideal post as well. His last out Beyer Figure might move bettors against him but he ran 6f in 1:07 2/5, it wasn’t a slow race no matter what the figures suggest. Another horse you need to use is Benny The Bull. I was high on him way back in June and he’s really come to the next level. He is a 6f closing sprint specialist like Lit de Justice. The only time he ran poorly at the distance was when he was kept too close to the pace. That likely won’t happen here. He’ll come from the clouds and has a real chance to win. I don’t like Greg’s Gold for the win spot. I think he’ll be a wise guy horse off that trouble line and will be poor value. He may struggle more on conventional dirt and age is not often mentioned as a factor but I think in a race that is so speed focused older horses have a tougher time.
Benny The Bull
The Mile is always one of my favorites races and I’ve had some decent success in it over the years. The one thing that always confuses me about the mile is why the public routinely gets enamored with the wrong horses. This year is no different, After Market and Nobiz Like Showbiz in my opinion are two horses that will get support but ones that you have to oppose. Neither of them have a win at the distance and the Mile is won by Mile specialists. Royal Academy was the last horse to win the Mile without a win at the distance. After Market also becomes more suspect with every rain drop that hits the course. I’d leave him off of every ticket. Nobiz Like Showbiz may have looked impressive in his turf starts but this is deep water and he will struggle to stay afloat, don’t let him sink your money. There should be some decent pace in the Mile with Remarkable News and Silent Name. Remarkable News has the dreaded 14 post and a poor record at a Mile. I say this every time he is running in a Mile race but he is 2 for 7 at a mile and 7 for 9 at all other distances (which in his case means 8.5f-9f). He will be hard used to get into contention and will fade in the lane. I like to use some statistics with my handicapping and it is worth noting that no horse in this race perfectly meets the traditional historical profile. So we’ll have to find the winner the old fashioned way. The best pure milers in the race are Kip Deville, Purim and Host. I think Host has probably lost a step and he’ll need some real luck to weave through the pack. I’ll use him underneath only but I do see him as a great way to get some value in the exotics, I don’t think there will be any support for him. Purim is sneaky good at a Mile. Not only did he win the Shadwell Mile but he was also narrowly beaten by Kip Deville and Showing Up at a Mile. Those two are basically the gold standard of the division. I’m not quite sure that he is as good as Kip Deville but things happen on BC day and the best horses don’t always show their best. He is a bit of a worry on anything softer than good. So if we end up with tons of rain use him sparingly. Kip Deville might just be my bet of the day. He is a very good horse at a flat Mile and I think he’s coming into the race perfectly. Don’t worry about Dutrow’s on again off again reports about his fitness. Silver Train had the same questions surrounding him in the 2005 Sprint. Kip Deville should get the perfect stalking trip behind the speed and hopefully he’ll have enough to hold off Excellent Art, Purim, Host and all the rest. Kip Deville also has a win on soft ground which at the time was a lifetime best performance. A few under the radar horses it might be wise to include are Silent Name, he’s a head case but very good at his best. First start with Frankel makes him dangerous. Trippi’s Storm, I don’t like his campaign and I thought the Kelso was a bad race but he’s a consistent grinder who should find his way into the superfecta. And also Rebellion, he’s never run a race good enough to compete here but he does have a lightning turn of foot and he is in the best form of his life. Motion is always dangerous at the Breeders Cup. I’ve gotten through nearly all my analysis without talking about Excellent Art. I do not really like him on top. I think he’s developed the habit of giving too little too late and the 13 post will not help him here. I’ll stick with the proven American milers and I’ll single Kip Deville if the course is worse than good.
Like most handicappers my opinion of this race is that there should be some good money here but I can’t for the life of me decide the best way to get it. On my initial scan through the PP’s I was able to toss just two horses - Teammate and Prop Me Up. I’m convinced that neither is good enough to beat this deep field. But that leaves me with 10 contenders ranging from 3-1 to 20-1. I think you’ll have to get cruel and toss out some horses for less than legitimate reasons. For instance I’m tossing Octave. She is a horse I think the world of but I don’t think she wins a race like this. She’s never been terribly fast and she has never won a race around two turns. I’m also dropping Ginger Punch, I have always believed her to be suspect at the distance and in the Beldame she took a real run at Indian Vale was repelled. I don’t think she can get past a good horse around two turns. I’m also tossing Tough Tiz’s Sis, she’s never really run a great race on dirt. Tiznow’s love the All Weather tracks and her two best performances have come on them. I’m reluctant to toss Bear Now because I think she is a real bear on the front end. The last race was no fluke but I’m hoping that there will be enough pressure to make her cave. Balance is a horse you might want to consider if you’re playing for a bomb in this race. It has always been said of Balance that her best races come around two turns at Santa Anita, but the old Santa Anita is now gone and as luck would have it Monmouth is likely the closest thing there is to Santa Anita’s old dirt track. She would definitely need to run the race of her life but maybe a side bet of $2 on her nose would be a good hedge. If she wins that may cover all your other bets for the race. She also has form on a wet fast track. I have operated all year under the assumption that the West coast fillies are better than the East coasters. If that is true then I should pile onto Hystericalady because her pattern has been pretty clear. She runs well in defeat out West and runs huge Beyer figures in victory in the East. I do not like the 12 post for this speedy filly and I also think that 9f is taxing her stamina, but on the plus side I adored her last prep and I think she’ll be fighting fit for this race. She is one you have to include. Indian Vale is another you must use because of her class and her ability at the distance. No horse is better at 9f in this race than Indian Vale and running 9f around two turns is even better. I think that she, along with Hystericalady is the horse to beat. Unbridled Belle is the best closer in a race that seems top heavy with speed and close stalkers. That has to give her an advantage but I think I’m just going to use her underneath. Closers do not have a great record in this race and Monmouth is not habitually kind to closers. A wet track would also be very bad news for her. The tight turns of Monmouth may make it difficult for her to get on track until it’s too late. Lady Joanne is a horse I’m not decided on and may not make that judgment until post time. I always thought that she could end up as one of the best of this crop and she really has been a model of consistency. The one thing I worry about is brilliance. She has never run any big figures and the older girls have. She should come on for her last race but will it be enough? With Lear’s Princess I am simply going to hold my nose and go against her. I can’t include everyone on the ticket and I’ve never really been sold on her. I think she’s a turf horse who is good on the dirt, but she’ll need to be better than good here. A win for her will not shock me but it will ruin my wagers for this race.