By: T.R. Slyder, TRSlyder@yahoo.com
Sorry, I'm picking the favorites here again. I know, I know. But with the Turf, a Euro IS going to win it, and all the Euros were favored. It was unavoidable. The problem with picking longshots in the Sprint is that, with the exception of Cajun Beat in 2003, they never win. The Sprint is unique in that it's such a short, frenetic, well, sprint that it never falls apart and there's no margin for error. You can't be off your game and win. So in order to win you need to be both very talented AND finely tuned. Being that is relatively simple to pinpoint before the race who is talented and who is in great shape, it's easy to install them as favorites, where they often thrive in this race.
The only horse in this field that I would consider to be a good value play is Black Seventeen. His last race was a doozie in the slop where he won the Grade 1 Vosburgh at 24-1 in his fourth race off a layoff. The last time he raced in his 4th off the layoff he ran an equally impressive race, which he then followed with an even more impressive race. If his best races are his fifth race off the layoff, he will be sitting on a huge race on Saturday. Furthering his cause is his post position. With all of the real speed to his inside (except for the hit-or-miss Fatal Bullet) he is at an advantage of his more-favored fellow entrants. If he's at 15-1 or better, he's worth a play. The Daily Racing Form's Jim Kachulis said he's his best bet of the Breeders' Cup.
The big X-Factor of this race is Midnight Lute. Much like Red Rocks in the Turf, this is a previous winner in this race with unquestionably talent who has been lightly raced this year. And by "lightly" I mean "ran once and got humiliated for some unknown reason". If he runs his best race he can certainly win, but the question is whether or not he's capable of running his best. It's kinda like when in Fletch when Fletch says something like "There's a 50/50 chance it will. But there's only a 10% chance of that happening". Being that he is relatively uncertain AND he's the favorite, I'm going to look elsewhere for my winner.
The two I'm looking at are Street Boss and Cost of Freedom. Cost of Freedom drew the rail and is at the biggest post disadvantage of them all. It's something you don't like to see, but it's not a deal-breaker, either. His last race was over this track and distance where he won a Grade 1 race over Street Boss and In Summation, and earning a 110 Beyer while doing so. The race before that also saw him earn a 110 Beyer. While playing with DRF's Formulator I discovered that he and Street Boss appear to have the two best closing kicks in this race, a factor which I think could come into play in such a contested race.
Street Boss while likely go off as the favorite. Before losing his last race by a half-length to Cost of Freedom, where he came 5-wide off the turn, he had won his previous 5 races. He is certainly the most consistent sprinter in this field, possess a dangerous closing kick, and appears to be in tip-top shape. Similarly to Cost of Freedom, the biggest strike against him will be his post position, where he is in the second position.
The last horse I will mention is Fabulous Strike. He's in the third position right outside of these two and appears to be every bit as talented as his foes, but hasn't really freaked since last June. You can be assured that whoever wins this race will run a freakishly good race, and I feel that his days of freaking are behind him. He still warrants consideration, but I think when this race finishes, he may be looking at another horses buttocks. Just to break my personal record of saying "freak" the most times in a sentence, I will say it one more time to establish a new record. Freak.
With Midnight Lute's condition being questionable, this race shapes up as a nice race to execute a few intra-race exotics, like the Trifecta. Boxing these three horses for that is something I will be considering on Saturday.
1. Cost of Freedom- Not crazy about his post, but it should get him the shortest route to the wire and may not affect him all that much since he isn't much of a closer, and you don't want to rely on coming from behind in a crowded sprint, anyway.
2. Street Boss- I can't put much distance between him and Cost of Freedom here, and would not be surprised whatsoever to see him win this race.
3. Black Seventeen-Despite some word that he hasn't been training particularly well as of late, his October 12th work over this track leads me to believe he can't hate it, and I have a feeling he's sitting on a big race in this spot at a juicy price.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
By: T.R. Slyder, TRSlyder@yahoo.com