Breeders’ Cup Race Previews and Picks
By Steven Schwartz
All week long on Danonymous Racing, we’ll have picks & analysis for all 13 Breeders’ Cup races from the Danonymous cast. In this installment, we cover the Sprint with Steven Schwartz, our Sunday handicapper for New York racing. Take it away, Steven!
2015 – Runhappy
2014 – Work All Week
2013– Secret Circle
2012 – Trinniberg
I am proud to bring you my thoughts on the 2017 Breeders Cup Dirt Sprint. This edition of the Sprint is loaded with talent and sure to be an exciting race. Below are my takes on each horse along with my selections for the race.
#1- Calculator (20-1 ML)
Made a nice closing move to fall a length shy of winning the Grade 2 Pat O’Brien stakes. The stablemate of Roy H will hope that things heat up early and often to use his big closing move. Generally speaking I stay away from horses who are switching surfaces this late in the year since he spent the majority of time racing on turf. Conclusion – Pretender with 4th place being his upside at a price.
#2- Drefong (5-2 ML)- The champ is here! The champ is here! The champ and the morning line favorite will be a single on most tickets. Although he does not need the lead, it is expected that he will be sent to the front with the 2 post. His form looks awfully similar to last year when he entered into the Sprint by crushing a Grade 1 field at Saratoga. He has been training lights out (who hasn’t) and owns an impressive win on this track, albeit early in his career. He is by far the one to beat. Conclusion – Well deserved win candidate and favorite.
#3- American Pastime (12-1 ML)- Exits a decent second place finish at the Grade 3 Gallant Bob at Parx. It was the first time he was beaten at the 6F distance where he is 3 for 4 lifetime including a win over this track. He is 0-2 at other distances. He is another that should be off the pace and hope that the races falls back to him. Conclusion – Pretender with 3rd place being his upside at a price.
#4- B Squared (30-1 ML)- If you are planning on hitting the All button, save yourself 10% on your ticket and leave this horse off. – Conclusion – Not sure why he is in the race.
#5- Whitmore (15-1 ML)- The 19th place finisher in last year’s Kentucky Derby has seemed to find a successful new career sprinting. He won 5 consecutive races sprinting before finishing 3rd behind Roy H in the Grade 2 True North Stakes. He last effort was an impressive win in the Grade 2 Phoenix albeit against a much softer field. Of all the closers, this is the horse that has the best shot of finishing in the trifecta – Conclusion – Contender for hitting the board. 3rd race off the layoff. Might be sitting on a big race.
#6- Mind Your Biscuits (6-1 ML)- The pride of New York. Many consider him the best NY bred sprinter outside of Bustin It (always gotta give a shout out to my boy). After winning impressively in Dubai, he came back strong to win the Grade 2 Belmont Sprint at 7 furlongs. He finished 3rd to Drefong in this event last year but just a little over a length so he is definitely a contender on paper. I wonder if he is better suited for 7F but if the new Del Mar Track plays fair or biased to closers, he has to be highly considered- Conclusion – Why take him at 6-1 when you can take Whitemore at 2.5x the price.
#7- Takaful (5-1 ML) – Everyone’s “wise guy” horse off his impressive Vosburgh win. He should find a similar trip sitting just off of Drefong and even might press him the entire way. Jose Ortiz is known for being aggressive and if he chooses can try to steal the lead from Drefong who is not as fast early as El Deal, who Takaful had to deal with (no pun intended) last time out. He might be the “now horse” but he might be a year away from being a main contender. His three wins include an easy maiden win, an allowance win against suspect company and his last race which came on a track with a little give in it. Something tells me he might be the same price as Roy H which is non-sense- Conclusion- Toss based on value. 3yo has more growing to do and will be pushed or pushing Drefong. That is not a recipe for success.
#8- Roy H (7/2 ML) – His only loss in his last 5 races came in the Bing Crosby where he was forced to go wide due to a riderless Drefong. Otherwise he probably comes into this race undefeated on the year. He should be sitting the dream trip off of the main speeds and might be the best sprinter in the country. He should be able to get first jump on the big closers and sit close enough to Drefong that if Desormeaux times it right, will be taking a picture in the winner’s circle. – Conclusion – Main threat to Drefong and coming into the race as the best sprinter in the country. A must include in all bets.
#9- Ransom the Moon (12-1 ML)- Already beaten by Roy H by 5 lengths last time out after beating him in the Bing Crosby despite Roy H running the better race. If he couldn’t run better than Roy H the first two times, why should today be any different – Conclusion- Toss.
#10- Imperial Hint (9-2 ML) – This win machine is 8 for 12 in his career but will face his toughest test in his career. He enters into the race on a 5 win streak with a two Grade 3’s on his mantle. He should be sitting right off of Drefong and Takaful especially with the outside post. He has not raced much of late so he might be sitting on the biggest race of his life and will need that type of effort to win. He seems like a gutty type with an extra burst of speed down the stretch.- Conclusion – Top contender. This might be his coming out party if the post doesn’t hurt him.
Selections – I think this race is a three horse race between Drefong, Roy H and Imperial Hint. I will take the horse that I feel is coming into his own and should sit a nice trip. If Javier Castellano times his ride correctly, he should be able to put away Drefong and Takaful before Roy H catches him. In a three horse race, you take the longer price and you take the horse that might be a superstar that no one knows about.
1st– Imperial Hint
2nd– Roy H
Make sure to check back in case of a late minute change due to how the new Del Mar track is playing. Let’s get em.