It will take less than 70 seconds to complete the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), and through the first 22 runnings of the race, most bettors have been left to wonder after one minute and a few seconds where their money just went. Only five editions of the Sprint have seen the post time favorite hit the wire first, although the connections of Henny Hughes can take solace that two of those winning favorites strutted their stuff at Churchill Downs, site of this year's event.
They will all be chasing Henny Hughes in the wagering and on the racing strip. Like last year's 7-10 favorite Lost in the Fog, Henny Hughes is a 3-year-old facing older horses, something that fazed him little when he ran off with the Oct. 7 Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I) in his last prep for the Breeders' Cup. Henny Hughes reeled off three consecutive victories to start his career, and then played the bridesmaid in three consecutive grade I affairs, including to Stevie Wonderboy in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), before being sent to Dubai for the winter. Owned by Zabeel Racing International, the nom de course of Sheikh Mohammed's son, Sheikh Rashid, he has returned with a trio of smashing performances, winning three graded stakes, two of them grade Is, by a combined margin of 18 lengths.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has been rightly confident in his charge all summer, and why not? He believes he has the fastest horse in the race, and Henny Hughes has yet to make a liar of him. Even-money sounds about right when the son of Hennessy
--Meadow Flyer, by Meadowlake
, seeks to clinch the divisional title Nov. 4.
As far as a feel-good story, how about Pomeroy, who was sold a year ago as a stallion prospect after suffering an ankle chip in the 2005 Vosburgh, in which he finished a distant eighth. The buyer, David Hutson's Silverleaf Farms, along with trainer Marty Wolfson, decided to have the chip removed to see if Pomeroy could remain a racehorse rather than a stud for a year. After a decent second in his comeback race, the son of Boundary dug in gamely to take the Forego (gr. I) in September, and has been trained up to the Sprint by Wolfson.
Summerplace Farm's Kelly's Landing is an interesting entry. The gelding set a track record at Churchill Downs when winning the 2005 Aristides Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) in 1:07.59. In this year's version of the same race, however, he finished a non-threatening second to a compromised Lost in the Fog. Kelly's Landing most recently won the Phoenix Breeders' Cup (gr. III) over Keeneland's Polytrack surface. He is the horse for the course.
The only returning runner from last year's Sprint is speedy Attila's Storm, who set the early pace before finishing fourth to Silver Train a year ago at Belmont Park. In his most recent effort, the son of Forest Wildcat
was a pace-setting third in Henny Hughes' Vosburgh.
Siren Lure and Bordonaro have been the two best sprinters on the West Coast this season. Bordonaro dispatched his Ancient Title Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. I) field in 1:07.93, but will have to be supplemented into the Breeders' Cup. Siren Lure has gotten his photo taken in six of his last seven trips to the post. He has a snappy, come-from-behind style that could help him pick up the pieces late, but will be coming into the Sprint off a 2 1/2-month layoff.
Trainer Bob Baffert, who first made a name for himself when Thirty Slews won the 1992 Sprint, could be a threat with Too Much Bling, who has been freshened since July.
Dubai Escapade will provide a female touch to the proceedings in a race in which distaffers have run well. The daughter of Awesome Again
seeks to join Very Subtle (1987), Safely Kept (1990), and Desert Stormer (1995) as females who have won the six-furlong battle of speed.