2021 Breeders' Cup Sprint

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The world's fastest Thoroughbreds compete in the Sprint, sometimes achieving speeds nearing 40 M.P.H. in the stretch. This race is contested at three-quarters of a mile for male and female horses, 3-years-old and older.

Breeders' Cup Sprint

Purse:$1,500,000Grade: 1
Distance: 6 FurlongsAge: 3+

Jackie's Warrior One to Beat in 2021 Breeders' Cup Sprint

In the $2 million Qatar Racing Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) at 6 furlongs, J. Kirk and Judy Robison's 3-year-old Jackie's Warrior is the top sprinter from the East, winning four of his last five starts for trainer Steve Asmussen, including the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial (G1) at Saratoga and the Gallant Bob (G2) at Parx on Sept. 25.

In California, another 3-year-old, Red Baron's Barn, Rancho Temescal, William A. Branch and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing's Dr. Schivel has dominated the sprinting scene, winning all three of his starts, including two "Win and You're In" races. Trained by Mark Glatt, Dr. Schivel captured the 6-furlong Bing Crosby Stakes (G1) over the Del Mar strip on July 31 and came back on Oct. 2 to take the Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes (G2) by 3 ¼ lengths.

Tom Kagele, Gary Barber, Altamira Racing Stable, and Madaket Stables' C Z Rocket finished second in last year's Sprint at Keeneland. This year he has won two of six starts, and finished third behind Dr. Schivel in both the Bing Crosby and the Santa Anita Sprint Championship for trainer Peter Miller.

Mr. Amore Stable's Firenze Fire is set for a record-tying fifth Breeders' Cup start. Third in last year's Sprint, Firenze Fire, trained by Kelly Breen, won the True North (G2) at Belmont in June.

2021 Breeders' Cup Sprint Field & Odds

Race 8 at Del Mar on Saturday, November 6 - Post 5:38 PM

Entry Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Following Sea 6-1 John Velazquez
124 Lbs
Todd Pletcher
2 Jackie's Warrior 6-5 Joel Rosario
124 Lbs
Steven Asmussen
3 C Z Rocket 12-1 Florent Geroux
126 Lbs
Peter Miller
4 Matera Sky 20-1 Yuga Kawada
126 Lbs
Hideyuki Mori
5 Aloha West 8-1 Jose Ortiz
126 Lbs
Wayne Catalano
6 Firenze Fire 10-1 Tyler Gaffalione
126 Lbs
Kelly Breen
7 Lexitonian 20-1 Jose Lezcano
126 Lbs
Jack Sisterson
8 Special Reserve 6-1 Irad Ortiz, Jr.
126 Lbs
Michael Maker
9 Dr. Schivel 4-1 Flavien Prat
124 Lbs
Mark Glatt

Following Sea

Following Sea wired the field in the Vosburgh (G2) at Belmont Park to capture his first graded stakes win and a fees-paid berth in the Qatar Racing Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1). He drew away to win by 4 3/4 lengths, besting Firenze Fire, last year's Vosburgh winner who subsequently took third in the 2020 Sprint.

"I just helped him out of there," jockey Joel Rosario said. "It looked like he broke really well, and he put himself on the lead. I thought he liked that, and he ran a big race."

The 3-year-old was unraced at 2. Earlier this year, he recorded victories in a maiden special weight at Oaklawn by 5 3/4 lengths and an allowance race at Belmont by 6 1/2 lengths. Next, he was promoted to second in the Haskell Stakes (G1) following the disqualification of Hot Rod Charlie.

Trainer Todd Pletcher was inducted in the Hall of Fame this year. His resume includes 11 Breeders' Cup wins and seven Eclipse Awards. He also conditions Big Ass Fans Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1) contenders Life Is Good and Mind Control and Longines Distaff (G1) candidate Malathaat. He has a trio of 2-year-old hopefuls: Annapolis for the Juvenile Turf (G1) and Commandperformance and Double Thunder for the TVG Juvenile (G1) presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.

Owner Spendthrift Farm campaigned Beholder, who won the Distaff (G1) in 2013 and 2016 and four Eclipse Awards. They also co-owned Authentic, the 2020 Kentucky Derby and Longines Breeders' Cup Classic winner and Horse of the Year. The historic farm was home to Triple Crown winners Seattle Slew and Affirmed.

Following Sea is the son of Runhappy, winner of the 2015 Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) and the title sponsor of many prestigious racing events. The bay colt is his first graded stakes winner.

Jackie's Warrior

Jackie's Warrior is the consummate fighter. In his 11 career starts, the bay colt racked up eight victories - seven in graded stakes - and only finished outside of the top three once.

He earned his third Grade 1 triumph in the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial Stakes Aug. 28 at Saratoga, overtaking Life Is Good when he straightened for home and thwarting his re-rally attempt to win by a neck. It was his fourth graded stakes win in as many attempts at the Spa.

In his previous start, he led at every point of call and proved to be much the best on a sloppy track in the Amsterdam Stakes (G2), romping home by 7 1/4 lengths. Earlier this year, he won the Pat Day Mile Stakes (G2) on the Kentucky Derby undercard.

On Sept. 25, Jackie's Warrior claimed his fourth Grade 2 victory by winning the Gallant Bob at Parx by a daylight margin.

As a 2-year-old, he won his debut at Churchill Downs and then swept the Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) and Runhappy Hopeful Stakes (G1) at the Spa. Belmont's Champagne Stakes (G1) extended his winning streak, and he closed the year by finishing fourth in the TVG Breeders' Cup Juvenile presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (G1) as the favorite, his only unplaced effort.

"This horse is incredible," Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen said. "The thing you just love about him is his demeanor and the way he goes about everything that he does."

Asmussen became North America's all-time winningest trainer in August. He has seven Breeders' Cup victories, including two wins in the Longines Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) with Gun Runner in 2017 and Curlin in 2007. He trains Jackie's Warrior for owners J. Kirk and Judy Robison.

Kirk Robison grew up in California and became a racing fan when he went to Santa Anita with his father. He met Judy when they were students at San Jose State, and they moved to El Paso, Texas, in 1973. They own Peter Piper Pizza restaurants and Burger Kings and started as Thoroughbred owners in the late 1990s. The Robisons often race at Sunland Park in New Mexico, just outside El Paso, and they campaigned 2013 Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) contender Wine Police and 2014 participant Mico Margarita.

C Z Rocket

C Z Rocket looks to blast off in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) and avenge his second-place finish in last year's contest.

That race ignited a rivalry with winner Whitmore, who was later named the Eclipse Award Champion Male Sprinter. At the beginning of this year, C Z Rocket edged second-place Whitmore in both the Hot Springs Stakes and Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) at Oaklawn Park. He has finished in the top three in three other graded stakes since then, including a close third, a neck away from the winner, in the Bing Crosby Stakes (G2) at Del Mar, the 2021 host of the Breeders' Cup.

Last year, C Z Rocket was claimed for $40,000 on April 30, and he immediately went on a five-win streak with new trainer Peter Miller. The closer is known for his strong finishing kick.

A win in the 2020 Pat O'Brien Stakes (G2) gave him an expenses-paid berth in the Breeders' Co Dirt Mile (G1), and he earned a free berth in the Sprint by winning the 2020 Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes (G2). The 7-year-old has amassed more than $1.4 million in purse earnings.

Miller won his first Breeders' Cup race in 2017 with Stormy Liberal in the Turf Sprint (G1). In the next race, stablemate Roy H took the Sprint, giving Miller a double. The two horses won these two races again at the 2018 Breeders' Cup. He notched a fifth Breeders' Cup win in the 2019 Turf Sprint with Belvoir Bay. This summer, Miller earned his ninth training title at Del Mar.

C Z Rocket is owned by Altamira Racing Stable, Madaket Stables (Sol Kumin), Gary Barber and Tom Kagele.

C Z Rocket's father is multiple graded-stakes winner City Zip, who ran in 2000 Juvenile (G1) and the 2001 Mile (G1).

Matera Sky

Arguably Japan's most prolific dirt sprinter of the past four years, Matera Sky has proven his ability at home with multiple stakes wins and overseas with excellent runner-up efforts, including the 2019 $2.5 million Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) behind X Y Jet and a heartbreaking loss at the wire in the $1.5 million Saudia Sprints of 2020 and 2021.

With a record of seven wins from 35 starts, placing nine times, the 7-year-old son of 2004 Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) winner Speightstown has earned in excess of $3 million for trainer Hideyuki Mori and owner Tsuyoshi Ono. Eighth in the 2019 Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1), the $350,000 Keeneland September 2015 yearling purchase was bred by Lynch Bages and hails from a deep Shadwell female family. His dam is the Group 2-placed Mostaqeleh and from the immediate family of champion Bahri.

Winless in 2021, he was second in the aforementioned Saudi Cup undercard affair, 12th in the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) after a rough trip and fifth in the Cluster Cup (Listed) last out in September, a race he won in course-record time (1:08.50 for 6 furlongs) in 2020.

Matera Sky, a five-time stakes winner, who also won a Group 3 in his home country, is likely to be retired to stud following the Sprint.

Firenze Fire

Firenze Fire was indeed en fuego in the Vosburgh Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park, smoking the field by 2 3/4 lengths. This redeeming comeback from last year's running where he lost by a nose, earned him an automatic entry into the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) via the "Win and You're In" Challenge Series and pushed his lifetime earnings to more than $2 million.

It was the bay horse's fifth start under conditioner Kelly Breen, who assumed training duties from Jason Servis earlier this year. The Vosburgh gave the 5-year-old his third graded stakes win in 2020 and his seventh overall and helped him bounce back from an icy performance in the Forego Stakes Presented by America's Best Racing (G1) on a sloppy track.

"I can say he doesn't like the mud," Breen said. "You can put a line through his last race and he really performed today. He loves Belmont. We'll have to get him as used to Keeneland as he is to Belmont. He looked great today and we're on to the Breeders' Cup."

Breen grew up in New Jersey and frequented races at Monmouth Park, where he has won several leading trainer titles, with his father. He saddled 2011 Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Ruler on Ice, who finished third in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) that same year.

Owner Ron Lombardi of Mr. Amore Stables is looking forward to returning to the Breeders' Cup with Firenze Fire for a fourth straight year, following appearances in the 2017 Juvenile (G1) (seventh), the 2018 Dirt Mile (G1) (fourth) and 2019 Sprint (fifth). He also competed in the 2018 Kentucky Derby (11th).

"I think he's right there (with the best sprinters in the country)," Lombardi said. "There's no question about it. Kelly has done a fantastic job with him. It's our second win after (the trainer change) and he's a solid horse. This shows he's the real deal."

Special Reserve

Special Reserve's quick journey from a $40,000 claim to the World Championships must have come as a surprise, even to three-time Breeders' Cup-winning trainer Mike Maker.

Special Reserve, a winner in four of six starts since being claimed at Oaklawn Park in February, has bankrolled $517,100 in 2021 alone. Most recently the speedy gelding earned an automatic berth to the Qatar Racing Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) with a stubborn win in the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes (G2) Oct. 8 at Keeneland. After taking the lead at the top of the stretch, Special Reserve found enough to hold off a fast-closing Aloha West for the victory and a trip to the World Championships at Del Mar.

Special Reserve's summer of success began with two allowance optional claiming wins at Oaklawn Park. New owners Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher would next taste victory in the Maryland Sprint Match Series Stakes (G3) at Pimlico Racecourse followed by a win in the Iowa Sprint Stakes at Prairie Meadows.

Prior to his "Win and You're In" Phoenix Stakes score, the gelded son of Midshipman registered two determined seconds in the 7-furlong Commonwealth Stakes (G3) at Keeneland and the prestigious Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G1) at Saratoga Racecourse.

Special Reserve began his career July 5, 2019 with a third-place maiden special weight finish at Ellis Park and showed modest development winning four of his next 15 starts, mostly allowance and claiming, before rocketing to this year's Breeders' Cup.

Mike Maker, the son of a trainer, was assistant to Hall of Fame conditioner D. Wayne Lukas for 10 years before striking out on his own for good in 2003. Maker, well known for getting the most out of his horses, prepared longshot Fire At Will (30-1), who stunned the racing world in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), mirroring Furthest Land's (21-1) upset win in the 2009 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1). His third Breeders' Cup winner was 2011 Juvenile (G1) victor Hansen, who was named Champion 2-Year-Old that year.

Dr. Schivel

Dr. Schivel will bring a five-race win streak into the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) after posting a front-running 3 ¼-length victory in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G2) on Oct. 2.

Prior to that, Dr. Schivel had aced the Bing Crosby Stakes (G1) for his third victory at Del Mar and an automatic berth into the Breeders' Cup Sprint which will be held at the seaside track. The 3-year-old took the lead midstretch and held on to win by a neck, beating older rivals and graded-stakes winners Eight Rings, Brickyard Ride and C Z Rocket, who finished second in last year's Sprint. Dr. Schivel is owned by Red Baron's Barn, Rancho Temescal, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and William Branch.

"This is a real racehorse," trainer Mark Glatt said after the Bing Crosby. "He beat the olders today, and hopefully in November he'll be able to do it again."

The bay colt earned Glatt his second Grade 1 victory. His first was in the previous Bing Crosby with Collusion Illusion. Dr. Schivel was transferred to Glatt's barn after winning the Runhappy Del Mar Futurity in his final race as a 2-year-old. After the Futurity, he was given some time off, and he spent time at co-owner Tim Cohen's Rancho Temescal.

"He's very classy," Cohen said. "We turned him out at the farm. He let down easily. A good horse will take care of himself like that. He was fun to have at the farm. He has a little character, and it was a blast to have him."

Recent Breeders Cup' Sprint Winners

Year Winner Jockey Trainer Time
2020 Whitmore Irad Ortiz, Jr. Ron Moquett 1:08.61
2019 Mitole Ricardo Santana, Jr. Steven Asmussen 1:09.00
2018 Roy H Paco Lopez Peter Miller 1:08.24
2017 Roy H Kent Desormeax Peter Miller 1:08.61
2016 Drefong Martin Garcia Bob Baffert 1:08.79
2015 Runhappy Edgar Prado Maria Borell 1:08.58
2014 Work All Week Florent Geroux Roger Brueggemann 1:08.28
2013 Secret Circle Martin Garcia Bob Baffert 1:08.73
2012 Trinniberg Willie Martinez Shivananda Parbhoo 1:07.98
2011 Amazombie Mike E. Smith Bill Spawr 1:09.17
2010 Big Drama Eibar Coa David Fawkes 1:09.05

What is the Breeders Cup' Sprint?

The Breeders' Cup Sprint (Grade 1) has been a popular racing event since the inauguration of Breeders' Cup in 1984. At present, this horse racing event carries a purse of $1.5 million and has proven a nightmare for handicappers among the Breeders' Cup races. As a champion event, the Breeders' Cup Sprint has become a platform where none can predict which horse is going to perform best on that very day. In fact, in seven of the Breeders' Cup Sprint races, the winner was decided by a distance of neck or less than that. So, from the result itself we can measure the level of competition in this race.

Browsing the history of Breeders' Cup Sprint, we find the 1990 session. The 1989 champion, Safely Kept, fought brilliantly head-to-head battle with English invader Dayjur - favorite of that race; inside the furlong pole, Dayjur suddenly took the command over but only forty yards away from the finishing line, he jumped the shadow of Belmont Park's grandstand and lost his action for a few moment. Those missteps were enough for the favorite, Safety Kept, to regain the lead and hold on for a neck victory.

In seven of the Breeders' Cup Sprint races, the winner was decided by a distance of neck or less than that.

On October 27, 2007, Midnight Lute, trained by multiple Kentucky Derby winner, Bob Baffert, scored the most important victory of his career when he won the six-furlong Breeders' Cup Sprint at Monmouth Park, ridden by Garrett Gomez. Coming from last to first, he won by 4 3/4 lengths over a sloppy track in a time of 1:09.18. In his next visit to Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita Park on October 25th, 2008, he finished the six-furlong dash in a final time of 1:07:08 on a fast track making Midnight Lute the first horse to ever repeat in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

In the 2000, Kona Gold snatched the winning title while the Java Gold gelding placed third in 1998, second in 1999 and finally won the race at six. In fact the favorite takes it all in this race! We all are expecting the same trend of results in this year too. The 2009 winner of the Breeders' Cup Sprint, Dancing in Silks, shared 2009 California Horse of the Year honors with California Flag.


Breeders' Cup Race Grade Purse Date
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint II $1,000,000 November 5
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf I $1,000,000 November 5
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies I $2,000,000 November 5
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf I $1,000,000 November 5
Breeders' Cup Juvenile I $2,000,000 November 5
Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint I $1,000,000 November 6
Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint I $1,000,000 November 6
Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile I $1,000,000 November 6
Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf I $2,000,000 November 6
Breeders' Cup Sprint I $2,000,000 November 6
Breeders' Cup Mile I $2,000,000 November 6
Breeders' Cup Distaff I $2,000,000 November 6
Breeders' Cup Turf I $4,000,000 November 6
Breeders' Cup Classic I $6,000,000 November 6

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