When you have a group of competitors of this caliber, and fourteen entries all trying to make the best of just a five furlong distance, there will definitely be some bumping and banging out of the gate, and most definitely down the stretch as everyone looks for a lane to bring home the victory.
BC TURF SPRINT Grade I
- For Three Years old and Up- Purse $ 1,000.000
- Santa Anita Park – Race # 9
- Five Furlongs in Distance- Inner Turf course
- November 2nd, 2019
Now entering season number twelve of this affair, Santa Anita has been the host for seven seasons of the event. Not always run at this five eights in distance, the event has also seen lengths of five and a half, and six and a half furlongs on the downhiller here over this course. The inner turf will be used once again this season, a distance that was only used back in 2010/11 over at Churchill Downs. I still remember the 2015 event when Jamfest ( Jkk Racing Stables ) returned and recaptured his second back to back victory of this affair. The top three were within a head of each as Spanish Destroyer ( Double Cross Ranch ) and Maxmillion Farm’s Dogs Dragon were trying to steal the show. That was at five and a half furlongs when it was moved to Keeneland.
So can we have that tight of an affair at the wire this season? I think you can bet on this being an explosive race to the wire. Keep in mind that the top placing horses in points for this event have all drawn extreme outside post positions, so that could open the door for a longshot to drop in and steal the show.
1 Cold Weather Rider ( Night Rider Stables ) JK: Mena M BC Pts: 7 ( 11th ).- Though this five year old is winless in eight starts this season, he has finished second twice and for a show purse in four events. Tries his best to get out in front and stay the course, but manages to slip slightly and remain for a share. With the talent coming from the outside, we will more then likely see a charge to the rail for those extreme outside runners, which may leave him blocked. Speed early will be the key. SRF numbers have been rising nicely.
2 Magne Bern ( Gdp Inc ) JK: Hernandez B J Jr. BC Pts: 7 ( 10th ) – Its been a few months since this three year old has found the winners enclosure. That came back in April when he captured the Gr. II Shakertown race by a neck in a closing effort going five and a half. His two most recent events have come going a mile, and those were Grade I caliber races. The WO Mile was not kind to him even though he closed to within three, he would be placed well back in eleventh of that fourteen horse field. Has that many runners to face once, but hopefully he will stay tighter to the frontend to make a decent charge late.
3 Pink Condor ( Axeman ) JK: Garcia Alan BC Pts: 10 ( 4th )- Has found himself placed better then the three competitors who placed ahead of him in points for this event, and his trainer is hoping that will bring home his first ever BC victory. He seems to prefer to go at least six furlongs in distance to bring home his best efforts, but keep in mind that four of his five career victories have come over the grass. Came oh so close back in June when racing in the Gr, I Highlander Stakes, and Garcia was aboard for that event. The duo could very well steal the show, and recent work of 56 and four here says he is ready.
4 Flooded ( Estero Farms ) JK: Velazquez J R BC Pts: 10 ( 5th ) – Another trainer in this group who is probably glad to see the top contenders to the outside in this one. Six of his nine career wins have come on the sod, and he has finished in the money 75% of the time when competing over that surface. Is heading into this affair coming off a victory in the Gr. II Nearctic Stakes up at WO, carrying top weight for the race. Has posted some low 56 numbers for five furlongs in the past, and his rider is tops at the moment. Spoiler alert?
5 Diplomatic Leader ( D J C Racing Stables ) JK: Gallardo A A BC Pts: 6 ( 15th )– Nice to see this trainer has kept a few talented runners in the barn. Slips in from his 15th spot in points and has been struggling to find the right distance to compete at for this bay sophomore, and level as well. Did find a runner-up effort in the Gr. I Jaiper back in June trying to go gate to wire, but the late charge from The Grandmaster spoiled that effort. With this shorter distance I am sure he will be sent to the front once again, and being just five eights of a mile, he may not be caught today. You decide.
6 Great And Prudent ( Drabfantasy ) JK: Colon L H BC Pts: 8 ( 7th )– Trainer and rider were able to bring this one’s older half brother to victory in this event last season, and you can guarantee they are hoping to do the same with this sophomore colt as well. Competed over this surface and distance back in late September for the Grade II Eddie D Stakes against older, and while he went at a price of 16-1, he blistered in a time of 55.39 at the wire, just missing the track record by one tenth of a second. Will he be caught today? Trainer might just be the second one to win back to back affairs.
7 The Squaw ( Team 7 Illusions ) JK: Franco G BC Pts: 6 ( 14th ) – First of three fillies to be entered in this affair, but is the only four year old. She struggled in her most recent Gr. III Buffalo Trace Franklin County event where she placed eighth, two lengths shy. Has returned to Franco in the irons, and that rider to her to victory in the Gr. II Monrovia over a good track surface here. Recent works have definitely been to focus on this race, with a 56 and three 5 Furlong, and a 22 and four breezing work 4 days ago. Hopefully the combination will prove beneficial.
8 Quarter King ( Gdp Inc ) JK: Beschizza A BC Pts: 10 ( 6th ) – Second entry for this trainer for this event, and he has managed to snag a couple of good post positions to boot. This five year old’s six wins and six runner-up finishes in his career have all come on the grass. It has been awhile since he has seen this shorter distance, but keep in mind that he did compete in this very event last season as a four year old, and closed to within a neck of the eventual winner. The two trainers are both here once again, but Gdp is lookin g for a different outcome. You can bet on it!
9 Levi Sneaky ( Estero Farms ) JK: Tunon M BC Pts: 8 ( 9th )– Second entry for this trainer and second filly of three in the race. Trainer may have found a diamond in the rough as he has called upon an apprentice jockey here at HRP to do his bidding. The rider has already 12 wins in 37 career starts, and he will definitely catch the attention of other trainers with this event. Horse did win the Gr. III Sweet Life Stakes here over a soft footing, but was closing at six and a half in distance. Rider does like to go early and prefers the turf so watch this one closely. I really like her chances.
10 Royal Kunia ( Smokey Stover ) JK: Guitierrez Mario BC Pts: 6 ( 13th ) – Last filly to find her way into this affair. Has accumulated six wins in eight career starts, four of them coming on the turf. Won four straight PA restricted events earlier this year, then went six for six with a victory in the Gr. II Royal North Stakes. Since that one in mid July, she has been kept away from the winners circle. Brings in a whole new rider in hopes that he will find the right stuff to get her back to being competitive once again. IS built for speed and if her trainer puts her a little closer to the front earlier on, she could make the cut.
11 Mystic Mac ( Mb Stables ) JK: Lezcano J BC Pts: 12 ( 3rd )– While this trainer was hoping to be able to get a returning rider in the irons, he may have some success with this one. Was unable to keep up with the speed set by another one entered here in his most recent Eddie D Stakes try, as that one ran away with the event. Did win the seven furlong Gr. II Play The King Stakes two starts ago, but needed to close to do so. The five furlongs will probably leave him coming up short once again on the day, and with this grouping of talent, could also leave him out of the money?
12 Gleaming Spirit ( Mb Stables ) JK: Maldonado E BC Pts 16 ( 2nd ) – Earned a free ride to this event with his win and your in finish in the KD Turf Sprint race. Came back an attempted the Gr. II Woodford at Keeneland, but he only managed to close to within two lengths, placing him in sixth at the line. Does like this track as he has had two victories back in March and May, but both those were on the downhill track at six and a half . Will need his best with this shorter distance and the extreme outside post, but trainer can adjust to make the difference needed.
Mb Stables Comments; I think the most important factor in this race is the short distance. 5 Furlongs is a very short sprint, and Gleaming Spirit likes to get involved late in the race, so for a race this short the key is really getting involved earlier. If the race were 6.5 furlongs I’d love his chances, but with such a short race I really need to figure out a tactical change to compete with the speedsters in the turf sprint division
13 No Childe Of Mine ( Our Athletes ) JK: Geroux F BC Pts: 6 ( 12th ) – With this being his only entry for this event, Our Athletes would have definitely liked to have been in closer to the rail rather then here. Last time this four year old bay was outside in the KD Turf Sprint race, he manged to close within three lengths, but placed a disappointing 12th going six furlongs. I have no doubt that if the post position was better we would see this one in the top three, but I think today may end up being a wash for him.
14 The Grandmaster ( John Henry ) JK: Bejarano R BC Pts: 29 ( 1st ) – Eighteen of 22 in the money for your career, seven for fourteen in victories on the grass, seven for eight in the money this season, and it all comes down to a number fourteen post position!! He would definitely live up to his name if he can pull off a victory in this event. Rider Bejarano can work miracles, and the four year old has the talent, so what will we see? Keep in mind that he did draw post 11 in last years running of the KD Turf Sprint and took home the victory, so if he can get out fast and cleanly early, it just might happen.
John Henry’s Comments; The Grandmaster is very capable, but as of late he has been off his game a bit. Hopefully he can do well, as victory would be awesome. I look forward to an outstanding effort by him.
Vino Bambino ( Chili King Stables ) BC Pts: 5 ( 17th ) – Trainer was really hoping to give his five year old a shot once again this season after missing out by a length in seventh last season. Would have been a tough go of it with just one win in eleven starts on the grass, as I think the speed would have got away from him.
Ideal Host ( Defoe ) BC Pts: 4 ( 22nd ) – Down the ladder slightly on the points scale, but has been know for being in the hunt early in most of his races, a nd he definitely would have played a factor in keeping the pace honest up front.