The media descend daily on barn 27 of the Santa Anita backstretch to get a glimpse of Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) favorite Curlin. Meanwhile, one barn over, trainer Juan Reviriego quietly goes about his business in barn 28. He also has a Breeders’ Cup contender, though Lady Sprinter doesn’t have nearly as high a profile as her neighbor.
For one thing, Lady Sprinter is heading for the seven-furlong Sentient Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, a race only in its second running. For another, she will attempt to win the race off nine lifetime starts in Argentina and not having competed since May.
“She is training so well for seven furlongs,” Reviriego said. “She runs very easily and has a nice character. She’s not too nervous. She’s quiet.”
Owner Ricardo Benedicto sent Lady Sprinter to Reviriego especially for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. She won six of her seven starts in 2007 at 3 in Argentina to be named the country’s champion sprinter. Her only loss came in her sole turf outing. Lady Sprinter also won both of her starts in Argentina this year at 4.
“The owner saw she was a great filly, and he said, ‘Juan, I want to run in the Breeders’ Cup,’ ” Reviriego recalled.
Gainesway Thoroughbreds Ltd. bred the daughter of Orientate —Passionate Player, by Dixieland Band, in Kentucky. Benedicto bought her for $35,000 at the 2005 Keeneland fall yearling sale.
Fortunately, Benedicto began the process of bringing Lady Sprinter to this country several months ago.
“She had a couple of problems after coming out of the quarantine,” Reviriego said. “We lost one month (of training time). Her condition now is perfect. She’s sound, and she’s really healthy.”
Because Lady Sprinter has been away from the races since May, Reviriego worked her between races at Santa Anita Oct. 17. In company with stablemate Bartley, she worked a half-mile in :45.20, but she quickly left Bartley behind.
“I wanted her to experience the track in the afternoon — the noise, the people, the colors,” said Reviriego, “because she hasn’t run in a long time.”
Lady Sprinter will have to face a formidable group of distaffers in the Filly & Mare Sprint. Though 2007 champion 2-year-old filly Indian Blessing is cross-entered in the Sentient Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I), she will probably run with the girls. Talented front-runners Indyanne and Dearest Trickski are expected, as are closers Intagaroo and Magnificience.
“I would like to try to run from behind — close, but not in front,” said Reviriego. “It’s a tough race. When you talk about the Breeders’ Cup, it’s the best horses in the world. You see three or four fillies that are very tough, but I think anybody can win.”