I love handicapping the Breeders' Cup Sprint for one reason above all others each year - it's good to be humbled every once in awhile. This race certainly has the power to humble handicappers - bizarre, unpredictable results, strange layoffs, big prices. The only thing certain about the Sprint is that nothing is certain. It is almost always the dartboard race of the card - as in, put all the names on a dartboard and see what you hit. This year is even more wide-open than ever. There were two sprint superstars this year. Work All Week, who won last year, was just retired. Rock Fall died after an accident. Now there are a lot of solid horses but none that jump out. On the plus side, we should see some nice prices on the toteboard in this one:
Private Zone (3/1): Here's something you don't see every day - this horse is making his third straight appearance in this race, but he is doing it with his third different trainer. That's not all that's odd. Since finishing a respectable third last year, he has four wins, but three have been at seven furlongs and the other at a mile. He also has a second and third at a mile. Now he is moving back to six furlongs, which doesn't seem to be his best distance. His connections have a problem in that he is between races - the Dirt Mile is too long for his best, but the Sprint is probably too short. This is a race where favorites get beaten, and this is a favorite I will look to beat.
Wild Dude (6/1): Horses from California have won 16 of 31 editions of this race, so this horse earns respect on that front alone. He was coming off a break last time out, and after getting caught flat-footed early he closed a long, long way to get the win. Impressive. He has also won two of his last three - and both have been at six furlongs. He's a much better value than the favorite. His biggest issue is that he likes to run behind a fast pace, but he doesn't set the pace, so he is at the mercy of others for his race.
Runhappy (7/1): This three year old is quite possibly going to be the one that sets the pace that Wild Dude needs. He is a speed horse, but he is one with a bad habit - he is terrible at getting out of the gate. Despite slow starts, though, he always seems to get to the front early and he has stayed there his last four times out - including at six furlongs here at Keeneland in early October. He only has six career starts, so I wish there was more seasoning, but the talent is immense. Again, the value here is better than for the favorite.
Big Macher (10/1): I was high on this horse in this race last year, but he stumbled out of the gate and just gave up. Bad starts have doomed him other times, too - like the Golden Shaheen in Dubai this spring. He only has wins in two lower-level stakes since last year. I don't trust him, and I am not convinced he's fast enough.
Masochistic (12/1): Here's the problem with this horse - he's a speed horse who absolutely needs the lead, and I'm not convinced he's as fast as Runhappy. To bet on him, then, is to bet that something is going to go wrong up front. The price isn't right for that - at least not for me. He has lost to Wild Dude twice in a row, and his last race was a disaster. No thanks.
Limousine Liberal (15/1): This may very well be my favorite name of the weekend. I just wished I liked more than the name about the horse. He's a three year old who only debuted in June and has run only four times. The last two were in stakes, and he has finished second both times. Too much too soon for this guy.
Ivan Fallunovalot (15/1): This horse has 11 wins in 19 starts, including seven in 11 starts at six furlongs. He knows how to win. The only issue is that he has only once raced in a graded stakes, and it was just a Grade 3. Mostly he just beats up on lesser competition at lower-tier tracks. Hard to imagine he is good enough here. He reminds me a little of Work All Week, who came from the minor leagues to win at a fat price last year. That horse had won in stakes company before, though, and had much more experience trying different tracks than this guy has. He'll be useful lower down in exotics if this price holds, but I don't see him winning.
Salutos Amigos (15/1): He was a weak seventh in this race last year. After that he went on a winning streak, but that form has faded over the summer. At his best he has the speed to contend, but I am not at all confident we will see his best here. I think he is better as a bigger fish in a smaller pond than he is in the giant ocean that is the Breeders' Cup.
Favorite Tale (15/1): This is where the long shot value sits in this race. He had a solid summer, winning a Grade 2 ahead of Work All Week, and then finishing a strong third behind Rock Fall. he got two months off after that effort and then came back to set a career-high speed rating in an allowance race a month ago, and he's been working well since. He's sharp and could be sitting on a career effort.
Doc's Sports is offering $60 worth of Breeders' Cup picks absolutely free - no obligation, no sales people - you don't even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit any way you please for any handicapper and any sport on Doc's Sports Advisory Board list of expert sports handicappers. Click here for more details and take advantage of this free $60 picks credit today .
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
Most Recent Breeders' Cup Handicapping
- 2015 Breeders' Cup Predictions
- 2015 Breeders' Cup Top Prop Bet Picks for Head-to-Head Matchups
- 2015 Breeders' Cup Handicapping Advice: the Trainers
- Handicapping the 2015 Breeders' Cup Jockeys
- Breeders' Cup Betting Advice 2015: Horses to Watch
- Breeders' Cup Long Shots with Betting Value for Underdog Profits
- 2015 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Picks and Predictions with Opening Betting Odds
- 2015 Breeders' Cup Sprint Picks and Predictions with Opening Betting Odds
- 2015 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Picks and Predictions with Opening Betting Odds
- 2015 Breeders' Cup Distaff Picks and Predictions with Opening Betting Odds