"Hey Big A What Do You Say?" - 6 Days to the Cup

By Anthony Stabile 


$1.5 million; 6 furlongs; 3up


In one of the more memorable moments of the Breeders’ Cup, Dayjur was home free in 1990 before famously jumping a shadow at Belmont Park and allowing Safely Kept to become one of three fillies to win this. Thirty Slews won the 1992 running, introducing the world to a then unknown trainer by the name of Bob Baffert. Kona Gold ran in the Sprint five times, grabbing the brass ring just once in 2000. Midnight Lute won back to back races in 2007 and 2008, while 2011 Juvenile Sprint winner Secret Circle won the 2013 renewal with just one prep in over 18 months, giving Baffert four wins to in the event.

One of the original seven Cup races, favorites have won just seven of the 30 runnings, so if you’re looking for some value you’ve come to the right race, historically. And speaking of history, Secret Circle is looking to make some should he defend his Sprint title as he’d become the only other horse besides the great miler Goldikova to win three B.C. races.

Like last season, when he prepped just once in 18 months before getting up by a neck in the final strides, Secret Circle has had another light campaign for Baffert having raced just twice since this event last year. He missed by a neck in the G2 Palos Verdes in early February before an eight month layoff and third place finish in the G1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship last out.

Hong Kong’s Rich Tapestry shipped in for trainer C.W. Chang to win the Santa Anita Sprint Championship by a nose last out in his first U.S. start. He is a perfect three for three over dirt with a couple of victories at Sha Tin in Hong Kong accounting for his other dirt efforts and is looking to become the first horse based in Hong Kong to win a Breeders’ Cup race.

Palace ships in from New York for Linda Rice in the midst of a strong 2014 in which he won a pair of G1 races at Saratoga, the Vanderbilt at this distance and the Forego at seven panels. In both of those efforts Palace, who failed to fire his best shot when third in the G1 Vosburgh last out, came from a couple of lengths off the pace to score and he’d certainly be one to benefit from a fast early pace. Claimed two years ago for $20K, Palace has won half of his 22 starts and has earned over $1.3 million in his career.

Private Zone made it two Vosburghs in a row last out when he led virtually every step of the way, like he did last year, for Freddy Velasquez in just his second start of the year. Tenth in this last year, Private Zone came back to run a solid second in the G1 Cigar Mile before taking nine months off. In his only other start this year, Private Zone finished fourth in the G3 Turf Monster at Parx.

Baffert will also send out the undefeated Indianapolis, a winner of all three of his starts including the San Pedro back in January. In his first start back, Indianapolis won a second level allowance contest going six and a half furlongs by a half-length. It’s worth noting that Baffert worked Secret Circle and Indianapolis in company out of the gate on 10/20 and they covered six furlongs in a sharp 1:10 2/5. It was that work that encouraged Baffert to enter this colt.

Bakken makes a return trip out west having finished a tough trip fifth in the G1 Malibu last year. Prior to the Malibu, Bakken won debut and entry level allowance contests impressively before a five month layoff. He returned for Chad Brown in the G2 True North where he was beaten just under a length by Palace then returned from nearly a four month layoff to take a Belmont allowance contest last out.

Salutos Amigo won the G3 Bold Ruler this past Saturday for David Jacobsen who said moments after the win that B.C. officials told him he could run and was scheduled to fly out on Sunday morning. Salutos Amigos has won half of his eight starts since Jacobsen took over his training earlier this year and has finished third in the True North and G3 Belmont Sprint Championship.

Kellyn Gorder finally cut Bourbon Courage back in distance for the first time in over two years when he won a third level allowance at Keeneland in his last, his first try in four and a half months. Work All Week has won four of five this year, including a pair of minor stakes as well as the G3 Phoenix at Keeneland in his latest, for Roger Bruggermann.

Fast Anna ships I for Kathy Ritvo, who won the Classic with Mucho Macho Man last year, off a pair of second place finishes in the G1 Kings Bishop and G3 Gallant Bob at Saratoga and Parx respectively. Mico Margarita comes in for Steve Asmussen off of a pair of minor stakes scores at Mountaineer and Remington Park and has won five times at this distance.

Big Macher has won three of five this season, including the G1 Bing Crosby over the Del Mar Polytrack for Richard Baltas but flopped miserably in the G2 Pat O’Brien in his latest. Seeking the Sherif won a minor stakes at Los Alamitos last out for Ron Ellis and was third in the Bing Crosby.

Reneesgotzip is cross entered in the Turf Sprint (first preference) for Peter Miller and is likely to run there which opens up a spot for first alternate, the European based three-year-old filly Wind Fire for trainer DH Brown. She’s won just three of 13 starts, all on the turf but has plenty of dirt pedigree being by Distorted Humor and out of an A.P. Indy mare.

Next alternate Capo Bastone is pre-entered and running in the Dirt Mile (first preference) for Todd Pletcher, leaving Bahamian Squall, a G2 stakes winner for David Fawkes who was sixth in this event last year and Indexical, a Ben Cecil trained three-year-old eligible for a second level allowance contest, the next two on the alternate list. In all, the Sprint has 21 pre-entries.