BC Sprint Choices Draw Inside
Only nine horses were entered in the $2-million Sprint when entries were drawn at Santa Anita Oct. 21. Thirteen horses had been pre-entered, but two are running in other Breeders’ Cup events and two others will miss the series altogether.
The filly Indian Blessing opted for the Oct. 24 Sentient Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, while Lewis Michael went in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. Tropic Storm, who had been pre-entered in both the Sprint and the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, developed a soft-tissue injury that precluded him from taking part, while J Be K was not entered and will instead rest for a 2009 campaign.
The Sprint will include the 2007 winner, Midnight Lute , who was installed the 7-2 second choice in the morning line behind 3-1 favorite Street Boss . Owned by Mike Pegram and Watson & Weitman Performance and trained by Bob Baffert, Midnight Lute will seek to become the first two-time Sprint winner. The 5-year-old horse drew post 4, two farther out than he had last year, when he won the Sprint in the slop at Monmouth Park with a huge stretch run.
Baffert has said the start will be crucial in the Sprint, but that Midnight Lute has been schooling well in the gate.
“There’s no room for error in this thing,” Baffert said. “You need to get away from there. When Midnight Lute gets rolling, you just have to make sure he’s got room.”
Trainer Bruce Headley did not fare well in the draw for either sprint race over the main track. His Magnificience drew the rail in the Filly & Mare Sprint, while Street Boss drew post 2.
“With Magnificience, at least it is at seven-eighths,” Headley said. “It’s not like Street Boss, who drew the 2 hole at six furlongs.”
Street Boss brings a consistent Southern California record to the Sprint. The 4-year-old son of Street Cry—Blushing Ogygian, by Ogygian, has won six of eight races this year, with two seconds. All of his 2008 performances have come over synthetic surfaces. He has won the Triple Bend Handicap (gr. I) and Los Angeles Handicap (gr. III) at Hollywood Park, the Bing Crosby Handicap (gr. I) at Del Mar, and three allowance races at Santa Anita.
Former claimer Cost of Freedom earned a berth in the Sprint with his Ancient Title victory. However, the rail could compromise his chances. He was installed the co-third choice at 4-1 with Fabulous Strike.
“That’s a heartbreak,” said Larry Benavidez, assistant to Cost of Freedom’s trainer, John Sadler. Benavidez noted that Street Boss, to Cost of Freedom’s immediate outside, comes from off the pace. “Maybe that will open it up a little for us,” he said.
Brian Koriner, trainer of 15-1 Black Seventeen, was pleased with his draw of post 6.
“Most of the speed is inside,” Koriner said. “Only one, Fatal Bullet, is to the outside of us.”
Black Seventeen is based in California, though his last victory came in the Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park. There he defeated Fabulous Strike by a head.
Nicholas Bachalard, assistant to trainer Christophe Clement, was also happy with 10-1 In Summation ’s draw, post 7.
“The outside is good for us because the speed is inside,” Bachalard said.
In Summation finished third in the Ancient Title. He won the Palos Verdes Handicap (gr. II) and El Conejo Handicap (gr. III) at Santa Anita in January, as well as the 2007 Bing Crosby at Del Mar. He finished second in this year’s Crosby.
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