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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.
Race 7 on Churchill Downs's Saturday card with a Post Time of 2:46 PM
|1||Whitmore||6-1||Ricardo Santana, Jr.
|2||Promises Fulfilled||6-1||Luis Saez
|3||B Squared||20-1||Mario Gutierrez
|4||Warrior's Club||15-1||Luis Contreras
|5||Imperial Hint||9-5||Javier Castellano
|Luis Carvajal, Jr.|
|6||Always Sunshine||20-1||Frankie Pennington
|7||Distinctive B||12-1||Drayden Van Dyke
|8||Limousine Liberal||6-1||Jose Ortiz
|9||Roy H||5-2||Paco Lopez
Unlike Drefong a year ago, Roy H does not enter the 2018 Breeders' Cup Sprint as a slam-dunk to be favored in his quest for a repeat. In fact, it's more than likely that last year's Sprint runner-up Imperial Hint will enter the starting gate as the favorite on a three-race winning streak.
Let's start with Roy H and evaluate his chances to win. After running third by three-quarters of a length to Mind Your Biscuits in the Dubai Golden Shaheen Sponsored By Gulf News in March - fellow Sprint hopeful X Y Jet ran second in that Dubai race - Roy H was given an extended break from training. He looked a little rusty when second by 2 ¼ lengths in July in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes, but the now-6-year-old gelding bounced back to win the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes by 2 ¾ lengths on Oct. 6.
His running style fits well for Churchill, he's shipped east and run a monster race before (2017 True North Stakes at Belmont Park), and he's been extremely consistent with six wins, two seconds, and a third in nine starts since May 2017 when he found his calling sprinting on dirt. I am concerned that his speed figures have taken a step back from 117 to 128 during a four-race stretch at this point a year ago to a 103 and 111 in his two most recent starts, but I expect Roy H to run well.
Like Roy H, Imperial Hint is about as consistent as a racehorse can be with nine wins and one second in his last 11 starts dating to December 2016. He enters the Sprint off back-to-back clear wins in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap in July at Saratoga and the Vosburgh Stakes on Sept. 29 at Belmont Park, both Grade 1s. Imperial Hint has an exceptionally high cruising speed that allows him to rate off the pace or take command early. He's too fast naturally to allow another horse to coast through easy fractions; he'd just blow right on by without breaking a sweat.
While the Equibase Speed Figures are down slightly from a year ago, he's run three-quarters of a mile in 1:08.98 and 1:08.27 in his last two races and won comfortably. He is unplaced in two starts at Churchill, which is a concern, but the most recent start came on a sloppy track going seven-eighths of a mile in May and the first was going a mile. I hate to take a favorite on Breeders' Cup day, but if the track is dry Imperial Hint will be tough to deny.
Promises Fulfilled fits the profile of an improving 3-year-old who could take down the Sprint, and he defeated older males, including solid Sprint contenders Whitmore and Limousine Liberal, to win the Grade 2 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes on Oct. 5. Promises Fulfilled is another with an abundance of speed and does his best running while controlling the pace.
After taking a crack at the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, he cut back to sprints and has won three straight graded stakes, posting Equibase Speed Figures of 113-108-113. Promises Fulfilled might have to take back just off the pace in this race with so many other talented speed horses to avoid getting burned out. He's done so before, but he's at his best on the lead and will need to take a step forward to win from a speed-figure perspective. I'm looking elsewhere for my win candidate.
In a couple of his starts this year, Whitmore has shown enough speed to race nearer to the pace than his preferred style, which might be necessary in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. The problem is that seems to sap some of his finishing speed. He has the consistency, the recent form, and a Grade 1 win coming in the Forego Stakes on Aug. 25, but I worry he might just be slightly behind the best of a strong group, and with his running style I'm looking at him for second or third.
Limousine Liberal absolutely loves Churchill Downs, where he has six wins and a second in eight starts, including his last five in stakes races. He's won on a fast track at Churchill, a wet-fast track, and a sloppy track, so if the rain comes, as is possible next weekend, give him a long look. Limousine Liberal is pretty strong away from Churchill, too, and perhaps ran a winning race in his most recent start at Keeneland when a troubled third behind Promises Fulfilled and Whitmore, beaten by a half-length, in the Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 5. There are many pundits, myself included, who think he would have won the Phoenix with a clean trip. While his last four starts - three thirds and a Grade 2 win in July - don't look as strong on paper as some others in here, he's fast enough to win at his best and he will be my key horse in the trifecta.
X Y Jet - He's a dazzling speedster capable of a monster race when at his best, but he's a need-the-lead type who does tend to fade late if he has pressure early. With so much speed in the race and no starts since a Grade 3 win in June, I'll pass and let him beat me in this spot off a long layoff.
by Mike Curry at AmericasBestRacing.net
|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|
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||TBD||$1,000,000||November 2|
|Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf||I||$1,000,000||November 2|
|Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies||I||$2,000,000||November 2|
|Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf||I||$1,000,000||November 2|
|Breeders' Cup Juvenile||I||$2,000,000||November 2|
|Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint||I||$1,000,000||November 3|
|Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint||I||$1,000,000||November 3|
|Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile||I||$1,000,000||November 3|
|Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf||I||$2,000,000||November 3|
|Breeders' Cup Sprint||I||$2,000,000||November 3|
|Breeders' Cup Mile||I||$2,000,000||November 3|
|Breeders' Cup Distaff||I||$2,000,000||November 3|
|Breeders' Cup Turf||I||$4,000,000||November 3|
|Breeders' Cup Classic||I||$6,000,000||November 3|
|Race Tracks||Time (EST)|