In a full field of 14 with two also-eligibles, California Flag drew post position three for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. He was made the morning-line favorite at 7-2 for the race, which uses Santa Anita’s unique downhill grass course that makes a right-hand turn in the initial portion of the distance of about 6 1/2 furlongs.
Victim of a suicidal pace in the inaugural Turf Sprint last year, California Flag may again set the pace, but will likely set more reasonable fractions. He is calmer since returning from a layoff last year when he underwent surgery to remove a chip from his left ankle.
“Since he’s come back from the layoff, he’s been very kind walking to the gate, with his head down and really relaxed,” said trainer Brian Koriner.
Though Kornier preferred an outside post position, he noted that California Flag is used to being closer to the inside. He had the same post position in his last race, the Morvich Handicap (gr. IIIT), which he won over the same course.
Trainer John Sadler will saddle two in the Turf Sprint — Noble Court, who drew the rail and Get Funky, who drew No. 5.
Because of the configuration of the downhill course, the outside post positions are usually prized. Local runner Delta Storm drew the outside post position 14, while last year’s winner, Desert Code, drew post 13.
|Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint|
|1.||Noble Court||Joel Rosario||John Sadler||8-1|
|2.||Silver Timber||Julien Leparoux||Chad Brown||8-1|
|3.||California Flag||Joe Talamo||Brian Koriner||7-2|
|4.||Lord Shanakill||Jim Crowley||Richard Mandella||8-1|
|5.||Get Funky||Rafael Bejarano||John Sadler||20-1|
|6.||Cannonball||Ramon Dominguez||Wesley Ward||8-1|
|7.||Gotta Have Her||Tyler Baze||Jenine Sahadi||15-1|
|8.||Square Eddie||Frankie Dettori||Doug O'Neill||20-1|
|9.||Diamondrella (GB)||Rajiv Maragh||Richard Dutrow||4-1|
|10.||Canadian Ballet||Alan Garcia||Linda Rice||20-1|
|11.||El Gato Malo||David Flores||Craig Dollase||30-1|
|12.||Strike the Deal||Kieren Fallon||Jeremy Noseda||15-1|
|13.||Desert Code||Richard Migliore||David Hofmans||20-1|
|14.||Delta Storm||Garrett Gomez||Mike Mitchell||10-1|
|AE||Tenga Cat||Mike Smith||Ron Ellis||30-1|
|AE||Cherokee Heaven||Brice Blanc||Martin Jones||30-1|