The best sprinters in the virtual world will gather at the starting gate at DMR for the 2017 running of the Grade One BC Sprint at 6 furlongs for a purse of $1,500.000. The race history is dotted with legends like Alpha Ultimo and Ljosalfar. Alpha Ultimo won the race three times before retiring and Shoot Skyhigh and Bold Star both scored in back-to-back years. The last two years have gone to three-year-olds, Trench Admiral in 2015 and No Doubt About It last year.
This year’s running is a tight affair with over half the entries in single digit odds. Three horses look to be co-favourites, Mb Stables’ Moon Landing, Team 7 Illusions’ Bay Of Plenty and Triple K’s T S Day. I have a lot of trouble deciding between Bay Of Plenty and Spankys Barn’s Glorious as to which will come home first. I think Bay Of Plenty will be the favourite while Glorious will be a bit of a longshot.
Spring Lover 93 6-1
Even though he was dropping back in that last six-furlong test, the Grade I Vosburgh, Spring Lover looks to my eye like he wants to go farther than this sprint distance. He likely got in this race based on his winning performance in the Grade II San Carlos Stakes which was a seven-furlong test, and I’ve never felt that seven furlongs is a true sprint. It’s a distance much more suited to routers, and that’s where this horse makes his fortune.
Moon Landing 98 *5-1
In a field this tight, 5-1 is the best you can offer, thus this one is one of the favourites. However, I don’t figure Moon Landing in the money is this race on this day. The steadily closing third in the Grade I SA Sprint Championship was impressive and would lead to favourtism most races, but in this race, not so much. Another strong run like the last will certainly be something to be considered, but bet at your risk.
Steel Will 99 6-1
After winning the Grade I Vanderbilt Handicap at six furlongs, Steel Will tried the other end of the spectrum with a run in the Grade I Pacific Classic at 1 ¼ miles and was still a come from behind runner closing to fourth late. A month later he was in the hands of a new owner who sent out at the route distance again for a third in the Grade I JC Gold Cup as a rank outsider. It’s hard not to notice that, prior to those route runs, he won a couple of difficult six-furlong stakes, and it did not get past Defoe. So here he is with a decent chance at the year’s big sprint prize.
Sqawilther 91 12-1
Sqawilther went into a deep funk after winning the Grade I Triple Bend Stakes at seven furlongs back in March leading to four very out of the money performances. So, to get him fit for this run, John Henry sent him six furlongs in an overnight at FL and got third for the effort. Going into the biggest sprint race of the year, I would hope for a win and one at a bigger prize than an FL allowance. Race. I can throw out a bad race leading into this test, but I can’t throw out the last five and a 91 SRF.
Insect 98 10-1
Mb Stables needed a third for the race, and this is it. Yet, for a stable this dynamic, even a “throw-in” is considerable. Third last out in the Grade II Phoenix and a win in the Grade I Forego make Insect a respectable chance here. It is telling that this was a claiming horse before his current connections picked him up for $25.000. Since then two wins and a third bring him into the most important sprint of the year.
Dust In The Wind 98 8-1
Dust In The Wind dropped out of the sky to upset the Phoenix at nearly 12-1. He “prepped” for that race with four races at 1 1/16 miles or longer, so it was hard to see him coming, and chasing around the track in last to the stretch harder still to see him, but there he was, and here he is in the biggest sprint of his life.
Scott The Great 96 10-1
Scott The Great is coming in here off of back-to-back disappointments, fifth in the Grade II OBrien Stakes as the favourite and seventh in the SA Sprint Championship. Surely his connections had reason to hope for and even expect more from a $750.000 purchase that ran second in the Grade II San Carlos Stakes and the Grade I Crosby Stakes. Looking closely at this one reveals that in those four races, he never finished more than a length back in some nice times. Perhaps this is the dark horse of this race.
Glorious 98 10-1
Here’s my choice to take it all. A bit of a longshot, but Glorious comes into this race on an impressive string of aggressive, improving races, and improving off a narrow miss in the SA Sprint Championship is winning this race. He was doing OK before being gelded, but the gelding has got his attention to racing: four in a row culminated by win in the Crosby and then back-to-back seconds in graded sprints just to make sure everyone was paying attention. Sharp works and dynamite races make this the horse to beat.
Air Show 94 20-1
With poor performances off his win in the Grade III Smile Sprint Handicap, Air Show looks to be an outsider with these types. His works coming up to this are impressive, but the races, not so much.
Bay Of Plenty 96 *5-1
Coming off an impressive win in the Vosburgh, Bay Of Plenty is one of the three favourites in this race. In my opinion, if Glorious makes any mistakes, it’s all his. This has to be the bargain purchase of the history of the sim. When the owner of Golden Stable decided he had enough, this was one of the horses sold, and the new connections picked him up for a scant $90.770. Up to that sale, the colt had been in the money all but his first start, and that fourth-place finish was promising enough to get the horse sold for $100.000. After winning his next race, he was purchased by Golden Stables for $250.000. Now he stands to win the biggest sprint of all.
T S Day 99 *5-1
The highest SRF last out and back-to-back wins highlighted by a victory in the SA Sprint Championship make T S Day the third co-favourite in the race. T S Day has always been a dependable stakes horse, but never at the BC level, until now. His improvement has come with his connection’s turn to sprinting for him and an obvious improvement at just the right time. If he continues on this road, he will be very hard to beat in this race.
Snowmizer 94 15-1
Always a participant when the BC races come around, Snowmizer comes off a couple of disappointing runs at a variety of distances that follow back-toback stakes wins which include a win in the Grade II BEL Sprint Championship. The thing to consider about this outsider is he does this now and again, win a couple, lose a couple and then come back to win. Keep an eye on him.
Jesse The Bandit 92 8-1
After a sharp late run that saw him third in the Crosby, Jesse The Bandit disappointed in the Vosburgh at a short price. His works say nothing to worry about, and his racing history reinforces that as he recently won the Grade II Palos Verdes Stakes, ran out in the Grade III Fleet Sprint Handicap and came back to win the Grade II True North, so challenging at the wire will be no surprise.
Red Matic 93 6-1
Red Matic could be the favourite here were it not for this post position. After winning the seven-furlong Grade I Jerkens Memorial, ran an impressive come from behind third in the Vosburgh. His connections have brining him up to this race with sharp short works, and the youngster looks to be in the mix at the end.