The GP Turf Sprint- Grade 3 ($100.000 Purse)
GP- For Four Year Olds and Upward
Five Furlongs on the Turf
February 12, 2022
The GP Turf Sprint might only be a smaller Grade 3, but it is big enough to attract three horses that ran in the BC Turf Sprint three months ago as opportunities for this division are not plentiful this time of year. The other seven in the field are not necessarily underdogs, but they will be looking to knock off the BC runners in the 16th running of the race. It is a race that saw the late Jubliant Outburst win in back to back years from 2016 and 2017. More recently, Night Rider Stables got the win in the first time that the race was graded. Cold Weather Rider got the win, and the now eight year old gelding is still rolling along, as just last weekend, he won another Grade 3! Here is a look at our field of ten.
#1- Shelbags (Lindeman Prairie, riddenby I Ortiz Jr)- Starting on the rail is one of our first horses who ran in the BC Turf Sprint, and for Shelbags, it is also the last time he has raced. It was a good day for him, though he missed out a check in finishing fifth by a length. To get there, he won three straight, culminating in the Grade 3 Turf Monster Handicap. He looks good in here as long as he is okay with the layoff.
#2- Doug (Arindel, ridden by R M Hernandez)- Won his stake debut in August, in the $120.000 Mahony at SAR, but he was unable to step up into graded company afterward. Since struggling in the Grade 2 Woodford, he’s put together back to back good races, including being second in the $100.000 Janus right here last time out.
#3- Free Blast (London Racing, ridden by J Alvarado)- Claimed from Mb Stables last August for $14.000 and did well when upgraded into a high end allowance in his next start, running second at CD. He finished the year in good form, winning an optional claimer here on New Year’s Eve. This will be the first time he has run in a stake but has earned it based on that last start.
#4- Trippi Bay (Gdp Inc., ridden by J J Castellano)- His biggest race of the year last year was actually the only start of his five that came on the grass. It was at the Grade 1 Fourstardave Handicap, and he finished closer to the back than to the front. Had some inconsistent showings over the year on the dirt. He opened up 2022 running on soft turf, and won an optional claimer here.
#5- Rising King (Maxmillion Farm, ridden by C J Lanerie)- A strong 2021 saw three wins in seven starts, with the biggest victory being the Grade 2 Nearctic at WO. This got him into the BC, and he put together a fantastic effort at DMR, coming from behind to get up for second and missing out in a close photo. You would have thought that he would build on that, but his last race was anything but positive. It’s not easy to win with his race style these days, so you wonder if that played a part.
#6- Elijah G (Mb Stables, ridden by P Lopez)- This is the third of the horses that ran in the BC, and for Elijah G, it did not result in any purse money. He placed sixth, missing by a length, so pretty much the same race that Shelbags ran. Picked up a couple of strong second place finishes to get there, doing so in the Woodward and the Grade 1 Highlander Stakes at WO. We last saw him run third at the $100.000 Kenner Stakes three weeks ago.
#7- Mystery (Fractious, ridden by E J Wilson)- A well accomplished horse that has eight wins in 26 starts, helping give the five year old over $650.000 in career earnings. He’s won a few ungraded stakes like this one over that career, and it is a little surprising that he really does not have that one signature victory that you point to. This wouldn’t be it, either, but a strong race here could lead to bigger chances in the future.
#8- The Grandmaster (John Henry, ridden by M Tunon)- There isn’t anyone in this field who has done more in their career than this seven year old. He has had more time, with 41 career races, but in them, he has earned over $2,700.000. You can thank a win in the 2020 BC Turf Sprint for much of that, as that was the third time he ran in the race. He didn’t get there last year, but still won four of nine and over $300.000. Last month, he was fourth in the Grade 2 Hernandez Stakes and is ready to build on that right here.
#9- Affirmed Authority (Asgar, ridden by R J Albarado)- Proved to be an excellent auction purchase from March last year, with Asgar picking him up for $5.010. Once he was moved to the turf, the horse took off, with his biggest win being an allowance from KEE in October. Made his stake debut a month later in the AQU Turf Sprint Championships, and placed fifth. This is his first race since, making it pivotal to see where he goes from here.
#10- Vital Gambit (Bomberracing, ridden by H I Berrios)- A five year old gelding that has picked up nine wins in 29 starts. He did not make his stake debut until last June, and ran third in the $75.000 Grand Prairie Challenge at LS. He never got a chance to build on that until now, but winning an open allowance at GG last month allows him to get that opportunity in this one.