Photo: Eclipse Spotswire - Alex Evers
Leaves are changing, mornings are a bit cooler and footballs
are flying…this can only mean one thing. Breeders’ Cup 2013 is on the horizon,
and now is the time to start familiarizing yourself with who will be
participating during racing’s biggest event. By doing a little recon work on
each race now, you won’t feel overwhelmed when the big weekend is upon us. Here’s
a quick rundown and bio on the top contenders by region for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
1. Mizdirection captured the 2012 BC Turf Sprint off
a near 5-month layoff, and attempts to follow the same pattern in 2013. The “down
the hill” specialist (4-for-4) took her show on the road finishing a disappointing
5th last out in the Just A Game (G1) on Belmont Stakes Day,
prompting trainer Mike Puype to send Mizdirection back home for a freshening before her title defense.
2. Caracortado is a hard-knocking California
veteran making his second start in the Turf Sprint (5th in 2011). Caracortado
has been working steadily and will prep for the Turf Sprint in Santa Anita’s
opening day feature, the Eddie D Stakes (G3), on September 27th.
3. Byrama is another female that likes Santa Anita’s
unique 6 ½ furlong turf course. She spent most of the winter chasing
Mizdirection down the hill, but successfully stretched out to routing in winning
the Vanity Handicap (G1) over Betfair Hollywood Park’s synthetic surface. According
to trainer Simon Callaghan, Byrama will make her next start in the Spinster
Stakes (G1) at Keeneland and a decision will be made whether to go to the Breeders’ Cup
4. **Points Offthebench, a "Win And You’re In" qualifying winner of the Bing Crosby (G1) at Del Mar in July, has yet to try grass
in 7 career starts. Trainer Tim Yakteen has stated Points Offthebench’s
Breeders’ Cup goal will be the Sprint on dirt.
1. Hogy is a jack off all trades that seems
perfectly suited to Santa Anita turf. Earlier this summer Hogy won the Troy
Stakes going 5 ½ furlongs on the grass at Saratoga, and then followed that up
with a route win in the Presque Isle Mile over the Tapeta. The 4-year-old son of
Offlee Wild is not Breeders’ Cup nominated, so owner William Stiritz will have
to pony up $100,000 to make the starting gate.
2. Hoofit, like Caracortado, looks to make his
first trip back to the Breeders’ Cup since 2011. The Graham Motion trainee is best at distances up to a mile, so the cut back to a sprint should be
appreciated. Though yet to find the winner’s circle in 2013, Hoofit is stakes
placed in 3 of 4 starts this year.
3. Tightend Touchdown has transformed his career
since moving to the grass (6-3-3-0). He has run in all the East’s top turf
sprints, and deserves a chance to travel cross country and face the world’s
1. Longhunter has renewed his career with a switch
to the high percentage Ramsey/Maker barn. Dominating lesser rivals this summer in New
York, the 5-year-old son of Halling won the Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint last
2. Unbridled’s Note has not been seen since May,
but was second to Mizdirection in last year's renewal as the favorite, and has been working steadily at Churchill Downs before a return trip to
3. Great Mills was 4th in the 2012 Turf
Sprint at 29-1, and 2nd to Hogy last out in the Troy. He too
has been working at Churchill Downs, and has an allowance win over the Santa
Anita turf course earlier this year.
European correspondant, Dan Munn, the contingent from across the pond should be
pretty light this year.
1. Jwala won the only European "Win And You’re In" race for this division, the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York at 40-1. She is
not Breeders’ Cup eligible and the connections have no plans to bring her over.
2. Lethal Force won both of Europe’s biggest races
for sprinters the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (G1) and the July Cup (G1). Though
seen as Europe’s best chance in this race, he too is not Breeders’ Cup
nominated. No decision has been made to make the $100,000 gamble to supplement
to the race.
3. Sea Siren is an Australian bred recently
purchased by the powerful Coolmore team, and has spent this season getting
acclimated to racing in the northern hemisphere. It appears Sea Siren is set to
come to the states to improve on the 10th place finish the same
connections had last year with Starspangledbanner, also an Australian bred.
The final Turf Sprint "Win And You’re In" race will be
the Nearctic Stakes (G1) at Woodbine on October 13th.