Eclipse champion sprinter for 2017 still up for debate

November 05, 2017 10:41am

With the Breeders’ Cup over and the Eclipse Awards just two months away, most divisions have been determined, but at least a few categories remain up for debate, including Champion Sprinter. Let's analyze those in the running:

Roy H (More Than Ready - Elusive Diva, by Elusive Quality): In 2017, Roy H began in allowance company winning two races before shipping across the country to contest the Grade 2 True North Stakes for his graded stakes debut. Roy H overtook top sprinters like Stallwalkin’ Dude and Whitmore. Trainer Peter Miller took his gelding back West and sent him next in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes. Roy H finished second in the event, just 1 1/2 lengths behind Ransom the Moon. He came back in Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes, turning the tables on Ransom the Moon and other top horses like Mr. Hinx and American Anthem. This was his final start before the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. The gelding was able to not only bring his best run in the Breeders’ Cup, but he was able to overtake a nice horse in Imperial Hint to give Peter Miller his second lifetime Breeders’ Cup win -- and second on the day. Roy H has a record that is worthy of the honor of champion sprinter, but he won't win it as easily as some might think.

Overall Record in 2017:
6 starts, 5 wins, 1 place

Imperial Hint (Imperialism - Royal Hint, by Lahint): Imperial Hint has had an up and down career when it comes to graded stakes competition, but 2017 seems to be a breakout year for the Luis Carvajal Jr. charge. Imperial Hint had entered the Breeders’ Cup Sprint undefeated this year, winning the Listed Fire Plug Stakes and Grade 3 General George Stakes at Laurel Park. Carvajal sent his colt down to Gulfstream and the colt stormed to another win in the Grade Three Smile Sprint Stakes. Shipping back up the coast to Parx, Imperial Hint won the listed Donald LeVine Memorial Stakes. His first start on the west coast was in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, where he briefly looked like a winner in the stretch, but was unable to hold off Roy H. He did however hold off Mind Your Biscuits, which was closing to get up for third.

Overall Record in 2017
: 5 starts, 4 wins, 1 place

Whitmore (Pleasantly Perfect - Melody’s Spirit, by Scat Daddy): Whitmore looked like the horse to beat in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint all spring. Then, a small injury sidelined him for a bit and he came back to have two preps before the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. In the spring, Whitmore started off the year with an allowance win before heading back to stakes competition. He won the Listed Hot Springs Stakes at Oaklawn before heading back to graded stakes. He won the Grade 3 Count Fleet, the Grade 3 Maryland Spring Stakes, and then finished a surprising third in the Grade 2 True North Stakes behind Roy H and Stallwalkin’ Dude. He took some time off with a small injury and came back in the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash Stakes. He traveled up to Keeneland next and won a very hard fought Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes over Awesome Banner and Limousine Liberal. Coming into the Breeders’ Cup probably not as ready as Ron Moquett would have liked, the gelding never looked comfortable and was finished on the turn coming into the homestretch. He faded to eighth for his first off the board finish since the 2016 Kentucky Derby.

Overall Record in 2017:
8 starts, 5 wins, 0 place, 2 shows, 1 off the board

Mind Your Biscuits (Posse - Jazzmane, Toccet): Mind Your Biscuits had an abbreviated 2017 campaign after coming back from Dubai. He took four months to get back to the races. He started his 2017 campaign in the Gulfstream Park Sprint Stakes. He finished second behind a very determined Unified. Next, Trainer Chad Summers sent his very talented gelding to Dubai to contest the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen. The son of Posse took over easily and dominantly. Getting some time off, he came back with a win in the Grade 2 Belmont Sprint Championship Stakes. While Summers almost did not run Mind Your Biscuits in the Grade 1 Forego, the horse’s last work convinced him to do so, and it backfired. Mind Your Biscuits delivered a sixth place, which left Summers scratching his head. However, Mind Your Biscuits seemed back to normal and he went into the Breeders’ Cup Sprint in good shape. The horse was able to finally get some running room and managed to get up for third. The short stretch at Del Mar did not do the horse any favors. Overall, he had a fairly consistent 2017.

Overall Record in 2017:
5 starts, 2 wins, 1 place, 1 show, 1 off the board

Overall, the Sprint category is fairly evenly matched and should be interesting come the Eclipse Awards in a few short months. Based on these quick looks and overall records, who would you choose for the 2017 Eclipse Award Champion Sprint Horse?


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Meet Casey Laughter

I have loved horses for as long as I can remember, starting when Funny Cide crossed the wire in the 2003 Kentucky Derby. Thanks to my Dad, I now consume every ounce of thoroughbred literature I can.

When I am not stuffing my brain with pedigrees, I spend my free time with my fiancé, Daniel, and our dog, a Boxer mix named Piper. I enjoy hiking, reading, canoeing, and just relaxing.

In addition to Horse Racing Nation, for which I've shot numerous events, including the 2018 Kentucky Derby, I work for Bella Baby Photography, as well as a blog on my own platform.

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