Xtra Heat and Squirtle Squirt Could Meet at Keeneland

Trainer John Salzman, Sr., said he is considering the Oct. 5 Phoenix Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Keeneland as the final prep for the Oct. 26 Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Arlington Park for his champion filly Xtra Heat.

If Salzman sends Xtra Heat to Kentucky, she could meet fellow divisional champion Squirtle Squirt, who edged out Xtra Heat by a half-length to win the 2001 Breeders' Cup Sprint at Belmont Park.

Salzman said he had previously considered sending her to New York the same weekend but opted to consider the Phoenix due to weight considerations.

"The races in New York are handicaps, and she would have been spotting close to 20 pounds. Even if faces Squirtle Squirt, the weight difference will only be about three-to-four pounds," Salzman said.

Xtra Heat has been on the Laurel Park track everyday but Salzman said she has not recorded a breeze.

Trainer Bobby Frankel is sending Squirtle Squirt to Kentucky also due to weight concerns. Frankel said the conditions of the Phoenix are such that Squirtle Squirt would get in with a low weight since he had not won this year.

Had Frankel opted to run in New York in either the Sept. 21 Vosburgh Handicap (gr. I) or the Forest Hills Handicap (gr. II) on Oct. 6 he would have been forced to carry top weight.