Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Future Look - BC Sprint

Of all the divisions that coincide with a Breeders' Cup race the Sprint is set to be the highest quality. As I've sought to compile Top 10 lists for other BC races the top horses seemed to readily rise to the fore. In some cases I had difficulty even finding 10 horses that I'd recommend for the Breeders' Cup. In the case of the Sprint I've found no less than 16 off hand. That means a ton of good sprinters will get no mention here. That does not mean I don't think they're top quality animals. It only means that I suspect that at 6f on Santa Anita's Cushion Track there will be others that are better.

Breeders' Cup Sprint

Street Boss - He's the new kid with old connections. Bruce Headley expertly campaigned Kona Gold for so many years and Street Boss has the ability to develop into that kind of horse. He is still a long way off of that but he reminds me very much of Kona Gold before he became the monster we all remember. I'd like to see him hone his speed a little. Coming late and wide is not a great tactic for consistent success. He also needs to step forward on the speed figure scale. Beyers are lower on synthetic tracks but others have achieved figures in the 105-109 area, his current top is 103.

In Summation - He is the most accomplished synthetic sprinter of all time. That's perhaps not saying as much as it suggests given that synthetic tracks are fairly new but he is 5-4-1-0 on all weather surfaces. His only reverse was a half length loss at Hollywood. He's got figures of 107 and 108 which are huge in relation to what most horses earn in those races. He has fallen off the radar with an extended break from action but look for him to return in one of the Del Mar sprint stakes and then the Ancient Title. His connections want him fresh for the BC so he will likely just have one or two more starts.

Barbecue Eddie - He might not be as fast as Fabulous Strike, but on synthetic surfaces he is the most trusted speed. Eddie is a very tough customer who gave In Summation some torrid battles as well as running a good 4th in Dubai. He looked very good in his comeback effort and should give Street Boss all he can handle at Del Mar. I'd like to see Eddie break through and win a stakes race prior to the Breeders' Cup.

Idiot Proof - He was the best of the rest in the Breeders' Cup and has oddly settled into that position in his subsequent races. Idiot Proof is obviously class and his 3rd behind In Summation and Barbecue Eddie in the El Conejo was very good. But then he somehow lost to Tribesman before running a very good second in Dubai. He needs to break out of the funk he's in but he still remains a very good Californian sprinter. He could even be the race favorite if he starts winning again.

Benny The Bull - Despite his seemingly invincible nature I do not view him as the horse to beat for the Sprint. His lone experiment on the surface did not yield great results and despite his great success this year he has not been facing the toughest horses. He has faced just two of the ten on this list and none of his other competition was even a consideration. Closers rarely win every time they run. There are too many variables, and yet he is winning every time he runs. I suspect that things will eventually turn against him. This little blurb has been mostly negative, despite the reasons I can see for getting him beat I still think he is among the 5 most likely winners of the Sprint. He's fast, he's classy and he's consistent you can't ask for much more.

Fabulous Strike - I'm not sure if there is a faster gate horse in the world. He is a monster in the first 4f of any race and that makes him dangerous even though he is not tested on the surface and eastern horses don't have the greatest record in western Breeders' Cups. the Sprint is about speed and he is the speed of the speed.

J Be K - He has never lost a race at less than a mile. He's got brilliant speed and the ability to hold back just slightly. There is some debate about if he'll handle the track or even if he'll be given the chance considering Asmussens reticence to put his stars on synthetic tracks and Zayat stables well documented criticism of anything but real dirt.

Lucky Island - I'm not convinced that he's a true 6f specialist, but neither was Midnight Lute and Lucky Island at least has set a new Beyer high each time he's run 6f. 7f looks like his best trip but he's no slouch at any distance and we may not have seen his best yet. You'll notice that most eastern sprinters are on the bottom half of this list. That's because it has proven to be very difficult to go west and win in the Breeders' Cup. Still this horse has the look of a possible freak. I look forward to seeing him face some top class opposition at Saratoga.

Euroears - He had me quite excited earlier in the spring as he developed into a truly top class sprinter. He has never been beaten and he handles turf and dirt equally well. He has had an injury which will make it tight for him to compete on BC day but he's got the quality. He is one of those horses with an air of invincibility. No matter what pace scenario or tactics used against him he finds himself getting to the lead as if it were no great trouble. I really hope he comes back at the same level.

Midnight Lute - The defending champion barely made this list ahead of some others like Black Seventeen and Elite Squadron. It is obviously not that he lack the talent but I think he is not as effective on synthetic tracks, his preparation will be highly suspect and this version of the Sprint promises to be a much better race than last years. Baffert has struggled to get him sound and now he will have just one race before the BC. That does not leave the Lute much leeway. He has to be perfect and brilliant.

1 comment:

peeptoad said...

Glad to see you mention Black Seventeen. He needs to put together a few back-to-back races, but I'm hoping he's BC quality (he would have been last year if not for the injury). As far as Idiot Proof goes, I think he could be tough, but I still think he's better on dirt. Seems his best career races have been on dirt, and he was rather fortunate to beat Greg's Gold in last year's BC prep on the Cushion as the latter had major traffic trouble. IP was my pick to win at Monmouth since he was proven (in a big way) in the summer race he ran there. Of course he ran into the monster Midnight Lute, but I'd play against Lute this year, so Idiot might be in a better spot. Agree with all the others you mentioned; this maybe another year in which the local contingent dominates.