Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint
I project the winner to sit off the speed and have a text book presser type of trip after early top-notch fractions. Closers and late runners may have a difficult time getting up in time, although there are a few that have shown they have that ability.
Bell’s the One
Explosive closer that comes from well out of it. Showed what she is capable of last time out versus Serengeti Empress as she was unleashed approaching the final turn and won by a nose. Looking at pace dynamics of this race she might have the opportunity to come running late again. BUT, (always a but right) there are a few things to consider. We are looking at a potentially crowded stretch run which could severely compromise her chances, but (there it is again) she has shown the aptitude at Keeneland to get the job done.
Ability to win: Good but not great.
Ability to Hit the Board: Great
The eldest mare of the group is six years young. She has been very competitive in her three starts for trainer Carlos Martin. Her never say quit attitude will make it possible for her to be used underneath for 3rd of 4th but does not have the ability to be close enough to these younger sprinters for the win opportunity. Underneath possibilities.
This super filly’s only defeat came in the Kentucky Oaks, where the mile and 1/8 proved too much for her. Turning back to 7 Furlongs, which is in her wheelhouse for sure, puts her in the conversation for the top spot. Has proven her skillset to run fast and maintain it. Only question to be answered is if she is pushed to top speeds by multiple horses to keep the lead throughout three quarters of the race does that open the door for someone to come and take it away in the final jumps?
A must use.
Is in the midst of an impressive winning streak. Won impressively last time out at the distance of 6F to qualify for this race, going off at 13-1 in the G2 TCA in what was easily her top lifetime performance. Asking her to not only repeat but improve upon that effort is asking a great deal. Pass.
Likes to come from out of the clouds and lacks the early pace to be able to win this contest. Even if there is a complete pace meltdown in the lane, I don’t believe that Sally can make up enough ground late. Pass.
Another late-running filly that will have too much to do late to win this contest, although I do like Sconsis’s chance to hit the board around the 3rd spot and greater filling out the trifectas and superfectas at a price.
Two words will set the stage for the Empress when it comes to this race, Pace Setter. She is unconditionally at her best when she goes to the front. Can she make the front? Can she keep it?
I believe that she can make the front but will be under intense pressure throughout and will not be able to maintain it. Pass.
I was all in on the Speech band wagon for the Kentucky Oaks, but after that troubled start it was over before the quarter pole. Very talented filly but this distance is not flattering for her to do her best. She did face off with the unquestioned race favorite, Gamine, earlier in the year but that was at a mile and sixteenth only losing by a neck. I don’t foresee the rematch at shorter distance being any easier for Speech. Pass.
Another top-notch runner that needs the early lead in order to be in consideration for placing. With a potential rematch of the G1 Test where Venetian Harbor faced off with Gamine, Venetian Harbor was no match when the endurance running began. One thing about that race was that Joel Rosario was attempting to keep Venetian Harbor on the flank of Gamine until the stretch, which could have had a different outcome if she was just allowed to go on with it. At this point I think that the pace will be too much to maintain for Venetian Harbor but as with most of the ultra-talented runners that fit the pace profile of Breeder’s Cup Saturday, value will be the ultimate tie-breaker as to if there is a play or not.
Closer that fits:
Bell’s the One
Potential Value Play Underneath:
Breeders’ Cup Sprint
C Z Rocket
We know that the public will gravitate toward this lightly-raced six-year-old, and for good reason. Winner of his last 5 – slowly progressing from $50K claiming to his last which was the G2 Santa Anita Sprint Championship. It was a hard-fought victory in that Sprint Championship in which he was going against his arch rival on the west coast. In my opinion he has yet to face any formidable adversaries. After typing that, I went back to a few races continuing to look into this horse’s form and came across his win at Keeneland going 6.5F. C Z missed the break and then came running late to get the victory. Although not excited by his morning line odds he is a respected contender.
Best races have come when he is undoubtedly the best horse in the race. His only other race that makes him a possible win candidate was his fantastic finish in the G1 Ben Crosby when jockey Flavien Prat did a masterful job of allowing the speed to burn up in front of Collusion Illusion and then proceeded-up the rail for the victory. Pass.
When handicapping the earlier races, I graded out Diamond Oops as a “no play” for the BCTurfSprint. Things look altogether different for him in the BCSprint. Not only does he gain an additional 1/2 furlong he is running on dirt against potentially 4 – early want the lead types, and could very well get a good setup. A grinder with some closing ability, in this situation I think he has the potential to be a value play. Added plus is the jockey services of Geroux, who in my opinion, does a good job at this distance at Keeneland.
Quality colt whose best races in my opinion came in his most recent 7F races, one winning the Allen Jerkins and the second was a second-place finish in the Woody Stephens. Hasn’t displayed the speed to be effective at the 6F distance against top opponents. Pass
Empire of Gold
Put the world on notice last time out when he almost upset the field in the G2 Phoenix last month. He tired late after putting up good fractions. Good fractions won’t be good enough against this group. Pass
One of my favorite runners this year because he has proven those races under his previous trainer did hold some merit. That being said I don’t think that today will be the day for my friend Firenze due to my projection of a spirited pace up front, he needs to be close enough for that late kick to be effective. – Pass for the win, viable candidate for underneath.
Will fall into the category of front runner with no quit. During her impressive campaign towards the Breeders Cup, she has been winning in graded stakes company very comfortably. Those fields were devoid of the speed and competition to Frank’s Rockette as she will face in this race. “Just because you haven’t seen it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist” is a saying that I refer to often when it comes to horseplayer rational. In this case, I would have liked for there to be a little evidence of her to run faster fractions earlier in those races. Another basis for me being a little skeptical is that today’s contest will be her first time facing the boys. Pass
Hog Creek Hustle
Does his most effective running when he can come from near the back of the pack. Will not be able to close well enough for underneath plays. Pass
Is a five-year-old Kentucky Bred horse out of Violence, who has raced exclusively in Japan. I am not a follower of overseas races at all and cannot provide any insight as to the races that he has run in. I do have hesitation when I see several last place finishes on his abbreviated running lines.
Doesn’t have the early speed to stay with the runners scheduled in this G1 event. Will be looking for an opportunity to come running late to get a piece of the underneath prize money, that scenario is not out of the question as this evenly paced runner has shown the competence for running 2nd or 3rd in 50% of his finishes. Underneath.
Vekoma – SCRATCH
Has come back in 2020 running shorter distances from his Derby and Derby Prep Races, and been a very consistent four-year-old. Although he has put up some really good speed figures the pace was not fast in any of them, he cruised along on the front end and had everything his own way. Is he capable of winning this race – Yes without a doubt, just providing some cause for pause on one of the projected favorites in a very competitive race.
Still has a little gas left in the tank and has proven to be quite a horse over the years. In today’s contest he will not have the ability to stay with these youngsters early but will be coming on late and could get a good setup, much like he did in last year’s BCSprint. – Use underneath
This little speedball is a perfect 4 for 4 in his career. Not only does he win, he is pulling away from the field at the end. He could be the real deal – no way around this one. Contender. Could he get into a pace duel with any other horses? I believe that is the thing that could compromise his chances.
Lasting Legacy (AE)
Does not have the overall speed to compete at this level.