2013 Breeders' Cup Sprint Predictions and Betting Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 10/29/2013
The lead up to this race took a tragic turn on Saturday morning. Points Offthebench was a lock to be the favorite and was going to be very tough to pick against. With Mike Smith aboard for his final workout on Saturday, though, the horse took a bad step and shattered his leg. He was put down on the track, and the race is now sadly more wide-open. It will be a large field of 12 horses that takes to the starting gate. Here are the seven entrants that most stand out according to my 2013 Breeders’ Cup Sprint predictions (post positions and morning line odds in parenthesis):
Private Zone (Post Position 7, 3/1): He’s a California-based runner, though in his last race he went to Belmont — where he won — so he didn’t have to tangle with stablemate Goldencents. He started his career in Panama and didn’t find his form upon moving to North America until his last two races — which followed a rest after a lousy trip to Dubai. Now he’s riding a two-race win streak, he has done reasonably well on this track in the past, and could be positioned to be the favorite at post time. If that happens, then, with all due respect, it will be a clear sign that this is a race without a star. My biggest concern is that his last race was the best of his career with a very nice 108 Beyer rating, but that seemed to come from nowhere. Can he sustain it?
Justin Phillip (PP 1, 4/1): This horse was barely beaten by Private Zone in the Vosburgh last time out and didn’t seem to like what was a very rough stretch drive. He was in this race last year as well, but he went off at 30/1, so he wasn’t a real threat. This year he is clearly improved and won’t go off at a price near that. My biggest concern is that he has already run five times since June, so he is quite likely not at his freshest. He also has only one third to show for three races over this track. I like the horse, but I don’t love him.
Secret Circle (PP 9, 4/1): This Bob Baffert horse is an intriguing one to handicap. He won the short-lived Juvenile Sprint in 2011, but he was injured the next spring on the Triple Crown trail and was out of racing for about 18 months. He came back with some aggressive works, but he has only run once — a very fast win in a meaningless allowance race at Santa Anita on Oct. 14. He is extremely talented. However, is he going to be ready to run here? Baffert has had success with this path before, winning the race with Midnight Lute off of just one prep after a long injury break. He had a very nice bullet work at Santa Anita on Oct. 23 to prove he is sharp and ready. I think I am a believer despite the odd circumstances, but I am a sucker for Bob Baffert — and that wasn’t a good thing to be at the Breeders’ Cup last year when he went 0-for-10 with an absolutely loaded stable.
Fast Bullet (PP 8, 6/1): Last year in this race I backed this horse as a Bob Baffert trainee who had worked very well. He never fired and finished a disappointing sixth. He won twice after that, but then the owners made the odd decision to shift him to the barn of D. Wayne Lukas — hardly the king of sprinters. The first Lukas race was the Forego at Saratoga, and it was a disastrous seventh. Since then, all he has done is worked in pretty underwhelming fashion. I’d love another chance to bet this horse here if Baffert still had him, but he’s much harder to love now. His class makes him impossible to ignore, though.
Gentleman’s Bet (PP 3, 8/1): His last two races have been ugly, but I am willing to overlook both. The most recent was on a synthetic surface, so it has little bearing on the dirt race here. The time before that he got locked up in a crazy early speed duel and didn’t weather it well after six furlongs. If he gets a more reasonable pace, he is certainly bred to do well here. I am a bit concerned that he is new to California racing, but he is well-traveled, so that shouldn’t be a major concern. His best effort could be good enough here — if we see that.
Bahamian Squall (PP 6, 10/1): His last two races were not particularly inspiring. He had already won to guarantee his spot in this race early in July, though, so it seems as if his connections were just treading water aiming for here and now. He is coming off a bullet workout at Gulfstream that seems to indicate he is tightened back up and ready to go, though. His best is probably enough to put him in the mix. With a good trip he’s a factor.
Trinniberg (PP 11, 8/1): He won this race last year at almost 14/1 while benefiting significantly from the major speed bias that played out that day. If he repeats, though, he certainly won’t make me any money. Since that win he has been just awful, and was seventh by more than 22 lengths last time out — which was on this track. Just not good enough.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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