Three of the top five finishers from the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) are among the 21 pre-entries for the $300,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (gr. I) at Laurel Park Nov. 25. The post-position draw for the Dash will be Nov. 22. Thor's Echo, the upset winner of the Sprint at Churchill on Nov. 4, has been training at Keeneland and will be shipped to Laurel Park Sunday for final preparations. In addition to his win in the Sprint, the son of Swiss Yodeler has a pair of second place finishes in grade I sprints this year: Ancient Title Breeders' Cup at Oak Tree in October and the Golden Shaheen in Dubai in late March. Trainer Doug O'Neill is hoping a win in the De Francis Dash will elevate his 4-year-old gelding to Eclipse Award honors in the sprint division.
Nightmare Affair, who finished third, less than five lengths behind Thor's Echo in the Sprint, is expected to arrive at Laurel Park from Florida on Monday. The Manny Azpurua trainee has finished in the money 31 times from 42 career starts and has four stakes victories at the distance this year.Attila's Storm, who finished two places behind Nightmare Affair, has also been nominated. Undefeated Discreet Cat was also pre-entered but the Godolphin star is expected to headline the Cigar Mile (gr. I) at Aqueduct the same day.Other likely starters include Diabolical, who ran in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) last May, multiple stakes winners Coach Jimi Lee and Who's the Cowboy plus local stars Celtic Innis and Crafty Schemer.