Sprint Contenders Head From Track to Sales Ring

Regardless of how they run in the NAPA Auto Parts Breeders' Cup Sprint Saturday, two logical contenders will be offered just one week later at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November sale.

Disturbingthepeace, a 4-year-old gelded son of Bold Badgett, assumed the mantle of top sprinter on the West Coast this summer, winning three consecutive grade II races, beating speedsters like Kona Gold and Freespool. He is currently riding a six-race winning streak. Disturbingthepeace was bought last year by trainer Darrell Vienna for owners David and Rita Milch as part of a group of horses sold by Old English Rancho, a California breeding operation. David Milch, however, is planning to disperse his stock Nov. 3 at Fasig-Tipton. Disturbingthepeace is now his most accomplished runner, but it remains to be seen how feverish the bidding will be for him. Milch has recently indicated that he does not intend "to give him away." Whether that means the mercurial Milch will remain in the game of owning horses remains to be seen.

Last year's champion 3-year-old filly, Xtra Heat, who finished a thrilling second in the 2001 Breeders' Cup Sprint, has also been entered in the Fasig-Tipton sale by owners John Salzman Sr., Ken Taylor, and Harry Deitchman. Trainer Salzman purchased the daughter of Dixieland Heat for $5,000 two years ago, and has conditioned her to more than $2.2 million in earnings coming into the 2002 edition of the Sprint. These owners, likewise, aren't planning to give the crack sprinter away. Her reserve is said to hover around the $2-million mark.

Taylor, who owns an investment company, takes a business-like approach to the emotional question of bidding farewell to Xtra Heat. "This was our plan all along, it's what we do -- buy horses, race them, and then sell them, hopefully at a profit," Taylor noted. "We have no interest in getting into the breeding business. If you make the wrong moves and get the wrong crosses and she doesn't produce, you really hurt yourself and the mare."

"We'll leave the breeding to the big boys," added Salzman. "We'll never get another one like her, but we don't have all the money in the world to get into breeding. We've done well with her and now we all have to go on."

If Xtra Heat doesn't bring their price, however, the ownership could well race Xtra Heat next year in her 5-year-old season. She enters the Sprint on a three-race winning streak, including beating the boys at Keeneland in the Phoenix Breeders' Cup (gr. III) in her final tune-up Oct. 5. She came within a half-length of Squirtle Squirt a year ago in the Sprint.