The Breeders’ Cup Sprint field, as drawn today, but JOKING is likely going to be scratched..a real contender. Canadian raced and owned,trained and ridden NOHOLDINGBACK BEAR has a lovely post!
CALGARY CAT, who has been bombing around the Santa Anita strip, is also well spotted in his race, the Turf Sprint, for Stephen Chesney and Cory Hoffman, trainer Kevin Attard…there is a ton of speed in his race (Obviously!)
AT THE BREEDERS’ CUP
PETER MALLET, author of CRUSHING THE CUP, is on site at Santa Anita and will be filling us on on the news and rumours and other ‘Crushing’ items from Breeders’ Cup!
Mix of sun and cloud Monday but on Sunday there was light rain, very light rain. Yes, rain in southern California! There was a rumor that Sir Michael Stoute had hired a rain dancer in hopes of logging two more Santa Anita winners….just a rumor, unconfirmed! He has four wins over the old Santa Anita turf but on the new turf…who knows!
The locals are muttering about how cool it is, especially overnight, 15C. New Yawk weather somebody said; a warming trend is expected. But all is well, as the light came up over the mountain this morning; horses, scores of horses, went to the track to begin their work week.
Post Position Draw Day-Monday
Part of the interest in the early post position draw Monday, was to see if the Committee that had constructed the fields and also eligible runners could wiggle out of several awkward situations. Both the Mile and the Turf Sprint had been seriously oversubscribed making it necessary to assign several runners to their second choice of races.
Obviously’s connections were hoping that the gelding now eight, should make his fifth try in the Mile. Because of Obviously’s speed you can bet several of the Europeans wanted him in the Mile as well; if only to tire the North American stalkers and set up a late run that the Euros are famous for. But Obviously needed help to get into the Mile; he was sixth down in the AE list and looked destined to run downthehill in the Turf Sprint. His crime? A third place finish in the City of Hope behind Om and the winner Vyjack. Om drew AE position five in the Mile and he too drew into the body of the Turf Sprint, his connection’s second choice. The winner of the City of Hope Vyjack also was shunted to the Mile AE list but is in the field of the Dirt Mile, his connection’s second preference. It is clear that members of the committee were not impressed with the City of Hope on the new quick Santa Anita turf.
In another bothersome decision Lady Shipman, second in last year’s Turf Sprint, did not make it into the body of the race. She was among the earliest arrivals from back east, and even had a try down the hill under her belt. She was placed on the AE list for the Turf Sprint.
CRUSH note for Monday:
Get concerned if your choice in the Sprint has an inside post and you figure it to run down the leaders by saving ground. A review of what has happened in the Sprint in the three runnings of the race on the new dirt 2012 thru 2014 should make you cautious.
Those familiar with race tracks with much longer stretches, Arlington, Belmont, Churchill or Fair Grounds will often assume that at a short stretch track, the leader entering the short stretch has an advantage. They will be looking for the speed of the speed to get that done. That choice of running style can get them in trouble at Santa Anita. It is true that if an early leader rates, does not try to get clear in the backstretch, makes a run to clear in the turn nearing the stretch the likelihood of that early leader winning is strongest.
In the six previous BC Sprints run on SA dirt, (forget about the Pro Ride years) five of winners we will call “wire’ or lead/press winners but in fact none those had the lead in the first quarter. Before entering the stretch each was sitting never more than a part length off the lead. They took over at the head of the lane.
In 2014 on the all-new El Segundo sand the shipper Work All Week broke from post fourteen, raced a ½ length off through quarters of 21; 43.1 then came away nearing the stretch and came home in 25 holding off Secret Circle for the win. The new sand was producing swift fractions early but the usual much slower run down the stretch. The 2012 winner Trinniberg followed the same script coming out of the nine post; sitting wide in the lead group before making his bid nearing the stretch. In 2013 it was Secret Circle stalking the lead from the nine post and getting to the front in the stretch.
In a recent article DRF’s Brad Free cautioned that the main track has been playing slower than in previous years and that has resulted in more lead changes during the running of sprints. Colleague Jim Mazur has been charting how the track has been playing at six furlongs and notes in the races through October 23; 13 of 36 the winners can be called clear front runners and/or wire/press runners and 29 of those winners had the lead at the stretch call. Early leaders with an open lead could not often hold off the challenge in the stretch. Winners were more likely have been part of the lead group and made their winning bid nearing or entering the stretch.
Post Positions may have an impact on each: stay tuned for tomorrow’s notes following post position analysis.