Henny Hughes, undefeated this year since coming to the barn of Kiaran McLaughlin, was installed as the 2-1 favorite for the $2-million TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) after drawing post position four in the six-furlong contest.
The 3-year-old son of Hennessy
now races for Zabeel Racing International, the organization of Sheikh Rashid, the son of United Arab Emirates ruler Sheikh Mohammed. Henny Hughes is coming off daylight grade I victories in the Aug. 26 King's Bishop and the Oct. 7 Vosburgh stakes. He has displayed the ability to rate close up before unleashing a devastating stretch kick in his recent races.
California invader Bordonaro drew the six post and was tabbed the second choice at 3-1 on the morning line. Bordonaro, winner of three of four starts in 2006, enters the Sprint off a front-running triumph in the Oct. 7 Ancient Title Breeders' Cup (gr. I) at Santa Anita. Speed jockey Pat Valenzuela was aboard that day and retains the mount on the 5-year-old son of Memo for trainer Bill Spawr and owners Daniel Cassella and Fred Carrillo. Bordonaro should be on, or prompting, the early pace.
Coming from the back of the field will be the other California shipper, Siren Lure. The former claimer has come to hand for conditioner Art Sherman, winning five of six starts this year, including the grade I Triple Bend Handicap at Hollywood Park. Sherman has freshened the son of Joyeux Danseur since he annexed the Pat O'Brien Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar Aug. 20. Siren Lure, owned by Stuart Kesselman and Tony and Marilyn Melkonian, will leave from post 11, and should be flying at the end if an early pace battle forms.
The only other horse in single digits on the morning line is 8-1 shot Pomeroy, who drew post eight. The Florida-based son of Boundary is a well-seasoned traveler, having started at Saratoga, Calder, Belmont, and Monmouth in the past 18 months. He came back from chip surgery earlier this year to run a good second in the Smile Sprint Handicap (gr. II) before impressively taking the Forego (gr. I) Sept. 2 for Silverleaf Farms and trainer Marty Wolfson.
New Yorkers War Front and Attila's Storm, second and third in the Vosburgh, respectively, might have a say in the outcome. War Front, trained by upset specialist Allen Jerkens, is a grade II winner who has been runner-up in five of six races this year. Attila's Storm has rolled a pair of thirds this season in graded stakes after a good second in the Malibu (gr. I) last December. Either would be no surprise to show up on the board.
With the defection of Dubai Escapade, the lone filly in the field will be Malibu Mint, winner of the grade I Princess Rooney Handicap this summer, and the grade III Thoroughbred Club of America last month. Malibu Mint should be a dangerous longshot from the barn of James Chapman. She is owned by Kentucky breeders John and Martha Jane Mulholland.
Local players will get a shot to back Kelly's Landing, who set the track record for six furlongs at Churchill Downs in June 2005 when he took the Aristides Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) in 1:07.59. Looking to double in that race this year, Kelly's Landing ran second to Lost in the Fog in what would be the Eclipse champion's final victory. Summerplace Farm's Kelly's Landing proved best in the Phoenix Breeders' Cup (gr. III) at Keeneland Oct. 7.$2 Million TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I, Race 6, 2:35 p.m.), 3 & Up, 6 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Thor's Echo (CA), 126, Corey S. Nakatani
2. Friendly Island (NY), 126, Ramon A. Dominguez
3. Lewis Michael (KY), 124, Rene R. Douglas
4. Henny Hughes (KY), 124, John R. Velazquez
5. Areyoutalkintome (CA), 126, Victor Espinoza
6. Bordonaro (CA), 126, Patrick A. Valenzuela
7. Nightmare Affair (FL), 126, Edgar S. Prado
8. Pomeroy (KY), 126, Eddie Castro
9. Too Much Bling (OH), 124, Garrett K. Gomez
10. War Front (KY), 126, Jose A. Santos
11. Siren Lure (KY), 126, Alex O. Solis
12. Malibu Mint (KY), 123, Kyle Kaenel
13. Attila's Storm (KY), 126, Cornelio H. Velasquez
14. Kelly's Landing (KY), 126, Rafael Bejarano