The Breeders’ Cup Sprint is always one of the best races of the two-day event, and this year’s edition promises to be no exception. We have a defending champion that is primed to repeat and a deep and talented field of contenders that will be looking to end his reign. A full field of 14 contenders has been entered. Here’s a look at the most interesting of those horses along with some predictions and betting odds:
Amazombie (4/1) - He won it last year, and he did it while traveling from California to Kentucky. Now he gets to stay at home to defend, so you have to like his chances. He’s coming off a fourth-place finish last time out, but I’m actually happy about that because it could depress the odds slightly. He has shown that he improves in his second race after a layoff, and he had rested for more than two months before his last start. He has four wins in eight tries at Santa Anita, and two very nice wins this year. He’s training well, has Breeders’ Cup superstar Mike Smith on board, and is the one to beat. This is consistently one of the most wide-open races of the year, though, so he could certainly be beaten.
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Coil (5/1) - This four-year-old has a very interesting past. He was a strong Triple Crown contender last year, and he wound up winning the Haskell — one of the two biggest races of the summer for three year olds. He got hurt and then struggled, though, so it was time to go back to the drawing board. Trainer Bob Baffert made the decision to turn him into a sprinter this year. He has run only three times, and just once at this 6-furlong distance, but that was a Grade 1 win at Santa Anita over several of the horses he will face here. Baffert has won this race three times already, so this horse has to be seriously considered.
Jimmy Creed (6/1) - This three-year-old is light on experience — he only began his career at the end of May, has just five starts under his belt, and has only one graded stakes start. That was a third in the Santa Anita Sprint Handicap that Coil won and Amazombie was fourth in. That lack of experience is a real concern, but he was finishing strong in that one, and his speed ratings have been solid. Trainer Richard Mandella is an asset here as well. He has six career Breeders’ Cup wins, and all six have come at Santa Anita. Needless to say, he’s comfortable here.
Capital Account (8/1) - Baffert is absolutely loaded at the Breeders’ Cup this year, and this is his second of three strong contenders in this one. He had a strong summer, including a stakes win, a second in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship we have talked so much about, and a nice 108 Beyer. The only reason I don’t like him more than I do is that in four tries over the 6-furlong distance he has yet to win. Meanwhile, he has won five of six at slightly longer distances, so he seems to need just a little longer to get rolling.
Fast Bullet (12/1) - Shockingly, we have yet another Baffert horse. This one is completely fascinating — and just thinking about him gives me a headache. He has run only twice in his career, and the last time was back on Nov. 12. He’s making his stakes debut after a year-long layoff — a massive challenge. Two of the last four winners of this race have come off a big layoff, though, including Midnight Lute, who was trained by none other than Bob Baffert. This horse has also trained extremely well over this track in the last two weeks. He’s a gamble, but the price will be right. Leaving him out of your exotics would be a mistake.
Sum of the Parts (20/1) - Here’s an interesting longshot. He has won four of his last five, but only one came on dirt and it was a meaningless race against weak competition. He’s only three, but he is improving, had his career-best race last time out, and is early speed in a race that doesn’t have much of that. If he can take another move forward this time he could steal this race from the front.
Smiling Tiger (12/1) - Here’s another one coming off a long layoff, though he last raced at the end of June so that’s nothing compared to Fast Bullet. He’s much more experienced, though. He has 21 career starts, and he has won at this distance, at Santa Anita, and in graded stakes company. He came back well from a previous layoff, and he has a nice career high Beyer of 112. He’d be even more impressive if he hadn’t struggled so badly earlier in the year before the layoff.
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