Calling All Sprinters

Of all the Breeders' Cup divisions, at the moment there may not be a more unsettled one than the Sprint. After 25-1 Dancing in Silks won a four-way photo in the 2009 BC Sprint at Santa Anita last fall, things have gotten even shakier through five and half months of 2010.

If you had to pick a leader of the division right now, who would it be?  

Is it speedy 3-year-old D' Funnybone, a five-time grade II winner but untested against older horses? Four-time grade I winner Vineyard Haven, who hasn't even made his season debut as of yet? Kinsale King, proven against the world's best on synthetics and turf but still without a start on dirt? Or is it Hollywood Hit, a red-hot sprinter who scored his first graded stakes win earlier this month? Take your pick.

If you are as confused as I am, here is a starter list that hopefully answers a few questions about the contenders as we move into the summer's biggest sprints. Let's hope things sort themselves out.

Atta Boy Roy--Burst onto the scene in Churchill Downs Stakes (gr. II) and was runner-up last out in the Aristides (gr. III). Washington-bred was a $4,500 yearling. Has big edge at Churchill, which of course is the site of this year's Breeders' Cup. Great story.

Bribon--Won the six-furlong True North (gr. II) on June 5 in third start of the year. Has been very consistent over the past year and half, posting five wins and two runner-ups while racing on both dirt and turf. The 7-year-old millionaire had been racing mostly at one mile prior to the True North, but the cut back seems to suit him just fine.

Comedero--Arkansas-bred has now won eight of nine overall and five in a row, including last weekend's Red Legend at Charles Town, which is the richest sprint in the country, save the BC. Another great story.

Cost of Freedom--Synthetic specialist has won both starts this year, including the Los Angeles Handicap (gr. II) June 5 at Hollywood. The 7-year-old has won five of eight starts since being claimed by John Sadler in July, 2008. Broke his maiden on dirt way back in 2006, but has not been back on that surface since. That leaves major questions about Breeders' Cup.

Crown of Thorns--Has no published works since missing by a nose in last year's BC Sprint. It was reported in February that he was sore and not in serious training. It is unclear when and if he will return.

Custom for Carlos--Now a three-time graded stakes winner, the 4-year-old has made seven of his last eight starts at different racetracks, winning four of them. Scored the six-furlong Count Fleet Handicap (gr. III) at Oaklawn on April 9. Last work was on May 30 at Churchill. According to trainer Eddie Kenneally, has since suffered a foot injury and is only in "light training" at the present time. Kenneally hopes the colt will return to racing later this summer.

Dancing in Silks--The BC winner from last year ran a disappointing fifth to the recently retired Bob Black Jack Feb. 20 in the San Carlos and was turned out for a few months afterward. Trainer Carla Gaines said today that he has been returned to the track for light galloping and will begin having works on the Santa Anita training track in a few weeks. Gaines said the major goal is still the BC Sprint despite having never raced on dirt. Look for Dancing in Silks to make his next start during the Del Mar meet.

D' Funnybone--Clearly the top 3-year-old sprinter in the nation. A five-time grade II winner, he romped in the Woody Stephens (gr. II) June 5 at Belmont. Look for him in the King's Bishop at Saratoga for his first grade I sprint test. When all is said and done, may be the top contender for BC Sprint.

Fatal Bullet--The 2008 BC Sprint runner-up looks like he is trailing off a bit. Now 5, he is 0-for-2 this season after a failed stretch out attempt June 5 in the Eclipse (Can-III) at Woodbine. The 5-year-old gelding is another synthetic specialist.

Gayego--A disappointing eighth in the Golden Shaheen in Dubai in March, last year's fourth-place finisher in the BC Sprint has been working up a storm since returning to New York. Shows a bullet five-furlong work in :59.66 last Saturday at Belmont. Look for him to return to racing next month.

Hollywood Hit--One of the hottest sprinters in the country right now, the 4-year-old has crossed the wire first in six straight races, though he was DQ'd from a race at Woodbine in his season finale last fall. Destroyed the field in the Vigil (Can-III) May 9 for his first graded stakes win while setting seven-furlong track record. Last five races have come on Polytrack at Woodbine, but recorded one of his sharpest wins on the Lone Star dirt in May, 2009, which is a good sign.

Kinsale King--Golden Shaheen win, which was his fourth straight victory, proved he is one of the world's best. Will stay in England for the July Cup after his very good third in the Golden Jubilee at Ascot in his turf debut last week. With no dirt starts, you would have to think he is more likely to point for the BC Turf Sprint at Churchill.

Munnings--Won his season debut in the Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship (gr. II) in February before finishing third in Carter Handicap (gr. I). His last-place effort in the Churchill Downs Stakes on Derby Day can be excused because has never run particularly well over the slop. Look for him a Saratoga.

Musket Man--Turned in a huge effort against Quality Road in Met Mile (gr. I). Has raced at everything from six furlongs to 1 1/4 miles with wins at four different distances. Will Derek Ryan turn him back and make the BC Sprint his major goal? Remember, the first two wins of his career were at six furlongs and he is by Yonaguska. It will be interesting to see where he winds up this summer.

Vineyard Haven--Anxiously awaiting his 4-year-old debut. The four-time grade I winner has been working steadily at Belmont and will likely make his season debut at Saratoga. The Forego (gr. I) has been mentioned as his major summer goal. No reason to think he won't be a major factor come November.

Warrior's Reward--Looks like he has found his calling sprinting, which was solidified with his win over Musket Man in the Carter in April. Followed up with a solid runner-up in the Churchill Downs Stakes before being crushed by Quality Road in Met Mile. His summer campaign will tell us if he is among the elite.


Leave a Comment:


What, no Atta Boy Roy on this list? Surely he should be on here!

22 Jun 2010 1:58 PM

Don't give upon Hollywood Hit.  He is much better than Fatal Bullet and runs well on synthetics a well as dirt.  This guy is definitely on the top of his game right now.

22 Jun 2010 2:06 PM

After watching Hollywood demolish the field in the Vigil I'm sold. If he holds together till the fall. On the poly he made every pole a winning one, while bettering he track record for 5,6 and 7 furlongs. His gallop out was incredible, looks like a mile is well with in his scope.

You left out an outstanding 3 year old named Comedero, who has the same ownership as Hollywood Hit, different trainer. If he keeps up with his winning ways, the owner could have a pretty strong  coupled entry in the sprint, or separate them and run Hollywood Hit in the mile.

22 Jun 2010 2:15 PM

Vineyard Haven is a throw out since he's been branded deeply by the draynay curse. I like D'Funnybone but he will need a breather before the Breeders Cup like so many Sprint Champions before have had. Musket Man could be the darkhorse in the division. Always one of the most competitive races on the card and this year should be no exception.  

22 Jun 2010 2:19 PM
Saratoga AJ

Don't count out the enigmatic Eightyfiveinafifty, if Contessa can straighten him out.

22 Jun 2010 2:47 PM
Jason Shandler

I've added Atta Boy Roy and Comedero. Sorry for the oversight. They belong on here. Thanks ALB and Hollywood Hit.

22 Jun 2010 2:50 PM
Billy's Empire

If Trappe Shot stays at shorter distances, and does not stretch out, he will win the BC Sprint at CD. He ran half second faster than D funnybone in an allownace race, and was geared down after being ahead 5 legnths in the lane. he is a serious horse. Too bad Fabulous Strike is getting old, b/c he loves the dirt and would be flying down the CD stretch. If I had to pick a horse listed above, it would be Comedero or Hollywood Hit

22 Jun 2010 2:56 PM

Sheesh Jason, in both races (Female Turf and this one), I'm getting dizzy reading the list of contenders, it seems they're pretty evenly matched.  It looks like there's going to be several divisions where it will be wide open.  This year's BCC is looking more and more like it's going to be one of the toughest to handicap.  I can't wait until you get the list out for the Male Turf.

If I have to pick now, it'll be between Gayego and Musket Man.  Gayego is back to racing where he should be, in the US.

22 Jun 2010 2:57 PM

custom for carlos seems to be the best older sprinter IMO but that injury could cost him dearly and let others pop out of the bushes.

22 Jun 2010 3:07 PM

As of right now i think the best and most talented sprinter is Franny Freud :] but on this list, i really like D'Funnybone. I hope he does well at Saratoga!

22 Jun 2010 4:00 PM

I like Vineyard Haven.

22 Jun 2010 4:04 PM
Virgil Fox


I’m hoping that our favorite PA-Bred makes his way back in time for the BC.

Finally on real dirt and hopefully not a sloppy mess.

Do you think its reasonable to get a prep in him, then the Vosburgh, then BC Sprint?

Did you get any vibes from your conversation with Beattie?

- Peace

22 Jun 2010 4:47 PM

I bet Cost of Freedom in the BC Sprint last year; he came in 3rd and tried hard.  If he makes it to Churchill I'll bet him again.  He may not fit the track, but we'll see.  Cal shipper Thor's Echo won in '06.  My prior BC sprint win picks that paid well were Very Subtle at HP and Smile at Santa Anita.    

22 Jun 2010 4:50 PM
Jason Shandler

Hey Virgil: I would be shocked if Fab Strike made it to BC. I dont expect him to make his debut until the fall. He wont be ready. I really like him though, hope he makes it back in good order.

22 Jun 2010 4:52 PM
Ian Tapp

Musket Man is the most dangerous sprinter because he carries a musket. What's Crown of Thorns gonna do, stab you with a thorn? Get real.

22 Jun 2010 4:57 PM

I'm hoping Fabulous Strike can return from stem cell therapy. No horse was hurt more by two year at SA than Fabulous Strike.

22 Jun 2010 5:23 PM

Hollywood Hit -- gets in, does his hit, gets home.  Who needs a musket?

22 Jun 2010 5:45 PM

I'm liking, D' Funnybone for now, but there are horses that are out of contention right now, but could make an impact later on this Summer, like Backtalk. He raced super as a two year old sprinting, and has been kept at distances, and when he gets back to sprinting, we could see more than we think he has. I also think Eightyfiveinafifty still is a legitimate contender. He is won the Bay Shore impressively, and since then he has never really been himself, but he I think that he will be back to his old self.  

22 Jun 2010 6:52 PM
Kit J

I thought that was a nice race by Comedero at Charles Town on Saturday! Mike Stidham is an excellent trainer, I believe.

Very impressive.

22 Jun 2010 7:59 PM
It aint easy being the truth!

This one is all about Gayego he is a beast.

22 Jun 2010 8:16 PM
John T

 Hollywood Hit is the best sprinter at Woodbine these days and

we will find out how he fits with the big boys down South as the Breeders Cup Sprint is on the agenda.

22 Jun 2010 9:34 PM
The Rock

One horse that in my opinion does not belong on this list is Fatal Bullet. He didn't handle the Saratoga surface at all last year and is a far superior horse on synthetics than dirt.

It'll be interesting to see how the sprint division is affected by the Mile this year since its a one-turn race. Warrior's Reward would seem to benefit from that more than the sprint. Calvin had him way to close to the pace in the Met Mile. Musket Man can go either way. Gayego is in the same boat. His best distance is between 6 1/2 to 8 furlongs. Munnings can use a dry track but Musket Man and Warrior's Reward. How about that Zayat horse that beat Atta Boy Roy & Cash Refund last time out. Kensei would be suited to the 6f's.

One horse I would love to see run in this race is Sidney's Candy. He's got a ton of speed and should be able to run the front runner's off their feet. Not worried about the dirt with that one.

Jason what's the word on Capt Candyman Can?

Although this division is up in the air, there are plenty of talented horses to choose from.

22 Jun 2010 10:53 PM

Without question, D'Funnybone.  Toss the 1 mile experiment, which I believe he would have won without trying to run with the insane early fractions.  His sprint wins have been with devastating ease.  He's the real deal.

22 Jun 2010 11:21 PM

I love Hollywood Hit.  He's pure speed, but seems to be able to control the pace simply by outrunning every one else.  In his three races where he had to run the half in 43 and change, he ran away from the field, both at Woodbine and Lone Star.  He lost a close one to Kensei early last year when he was still in the development stage and hasn't finished second since, and this while putting up dynamite times and a 114 synthetic Beyer in his last.  Also, I think his trainer still has about a 40% winning average.  H.H. also looks like a miler which means that he will have stamina on his side.  However, this is still an iffy division because most of the so-called major contenders either haven't started or are very lightly raced at this time.  Should be one of the best races on the BC card.

22 Jun 2010 11:27 PM


23 Jun 2010 3:44 AM

What about Girolamo?  He has two  postd works.  After his debacle in the BC Classic I would be surprised to see him run past a mile.  But, then again I had Double's Partner to win last weekend.  So, what do I know.

23 Jun 2010 8:27 AM


Checkout DONONVAN's goal with four minutes to go advancing U.S.A

Maybe that will get you interested.

You gotta believe!!!

It aint over till it's over.


23 Jun 2010 12:01 PM

some of these horses on the list need 7 furlongs. also missing from the list is cash refund who was ranked third before his 3rd place finish in the aristides. he does own a 110 beyer number at cd.

23 Jun 2010 1:14 PM

That's great Tony, GO USA!  The only highlight I saw about soccer yesterday was about the Nigerian who missed the easiest goal, that was pretty exciting, but then Judge Judy came on TV, I had to stop reading.

23 Jun 2010 2:01 PM

I love MM...he ran a great 109 Beyer to 112 for QR...

How about Riley Tucker?

23 Jun 2010 2:54 PM

ITapp. That is a ridiculous comment. It is also very true. Well done.

23 Jun 2010 3:49 PM
Greg J.

    I would say a dead heat between D'funnybone and Comedero.  The rest are running for third, IMHO.  A shame Custom for Carlos is injured, Hope he makes it back to top form this year!  

     I will say this, Even though she is a filly, Starfish Bay would give this whole group a run for their money at 6 Furlongs!  She is scary fast!

    Finally, While NOT a soccer fan, I will say the USA game was thrilling!  Even though it was only a 1-0 game, It was exciting to see us win!  Bring on Brazil?(I think they are one of the favorites), lol...

23 Jun 2010 4:20 PM

That's great TONY.  When the USA scored we got to see one of the rarest things in sport.......a soccer team celebrating after actually scoring a goal.  Just Joking  GO USA.

23 Jun 2010 4:28 PM

I think this is Trappe Shot's division to take. Extremely talented, and some of the best sprinters in this list are question marks at the moment.

23 Jun 2010 5:02 PM
david in arkansas

Comedero,  cause I'm Arkansas bred too!  LOL!

23 Jun 2010 5:05 PM

Of the horses that have a start this year I like Musket Man, Munnings, D Funnybone and CFC (shame he is out right now).  I think Kinsale King tops all of them but you are right, he'll most likely go turf.  Horse is impressive.

Alot of Triple Crown contenders from this year will probably drop back in distance and may be good sprinters by years end.  

Why is it half way through the year and so many horses aren't even racing yet?  Yawn.  Get a move on already.

23 Jun 2010 5:29 PM
Carlos in Cali

Since there really isn't a stand-out sprinter as of yet,I'll keep an eye on Discreetly Mine if Pletcher aims him toward the Sprint.I thought he ran a bang-up race vs. D'Funnybone last time out while running the speedy 85ina50 into the ground.Not sure what he was doing on the lead that day,but if taken back into a stalking position I think he'll be tough to handle.D'Funnybone had the perfect set-up in that race @ his preferred distance of 7f.He's my under-the-radar horse as of now.

Question:  How many 3yo's have won the BC Sprint?

Also,I think Gayego might be the one to beat coming down Churchill's long stretch.

23 Jun 2010 6:19 PM

Big Drama should be back to clean up the sprinting division soon so watch out.

23 Jun 2010 7:05 PM

Paschito the Che...just coming back now. dont sleep on him. he did beat Custom For Carlos and lake knows how to get a sprinter ready for the Breeders Cup

23 Jun 2010 7:58 PM

Cool Bullet

23 Jun 2010 9:59 PM

king is to fast please.

23 Jun 2010 10:48 PM
Matthew W

Sidney's Candy/Atta Boy Roy ex box and hammering Sydney to win!

23 Jun 2010 11:27 PM
Matthew W

Mother Goose came up nice--good group of three year old fillies this year! Was all over Blind Luck in the BC Fillies--I was struck by Biofuel on the outside/took a saver bet on her to win--she would've won easy--she was mugged at practically a 45 degree angle by Negligee--she goes vs Devil May Care--tough race! Will take Biofuel, who may be any kind yet--not that Devil May Care is chopped liver, just think the price will be right/Biofuel's the real deal...

23 Jun 2010 11:36 PM

After winning Meydan, and placing well first time on turf at Ascot, I have to heavily consider Kinsale King.

24 Jun 2010 8:19 AM

I think it is great that this division has so many strong contenders. D'Funnybone is tops right now but Comedero has a lot of upside potential and just keeps improving. This years BC sprint is sure to be one of the best races of the championships.

24 Jun 2010 9:26 AM

A day late but: Auguri (congrats) Americani for getting into the Round of 16.  Don't get cocky though. (I needed to keep up my once-in-a-while Bugging of Jason by bringing up the futball.)

BTW: I know she's not a sprinter (so I am off topic again) but I'm looking forward to Biofuel as well, Matthew W.  Hope she has a chance to show her stuff and looking forward to the rest of the year with the 3YO fillies.

p.s.  We had an earthquake and a tornado up here yesterday -- now, the G20.  Soon, the Apocalypse ... and then Zenyatta Will Come East!

24 Jun 2010 10:33 AM

I was wondering when Conveyance is coming back.  He could make an interesting Sprint entry.

24 Jun 2010 11:10 AM
Bill Daly

One thing that is apparent is that there won't be enough room in the starting gate at the BC this fall for all of the worthy contenders.  What a deep division! Trying to handicap this group is an exercise in futility. Whoever gets a good trip, I guess.

24 Jun 2010 11:24 AM
Barb Dwyer

To Carlos in Cali:

6 three-year-olds have won the BC Sprint:

2005 - Silver Train (at Belmont)

2003 - Cajun Beat (at Santa Anita)

2001 - Squirtle Squirt (at Belmont)

1998 - Reraise (at Churchill)

1991 - Sheikh Albadou (at Churchill)

1987 - Very Subtle (at Hollywood Park)

24 Jun 2010 12:25 PM
tennis sux

Soccer boring? YESSSSS!!!! but Tennis takes the cake!!

I took a nap yesterday and Isner/Mahut were in the 4th set. I woke up and they were still playing. Hours later I went to bed for the night and they were still playing. I took a nap this morning and they were still going at it when I woke up. Finally I hear the match is over. Never in  history has there been a more boring event. I thought it would never end. Rumor has it draynay couldn't decide which player he liked better so the draynay curse was in limbo and the match dragged on.

Br. Cup Sprint? Don't blink or you might miss the race. Fast and furious action from start to finish.

24 Jun 2010 2:24 PM
Greg J.

Tennis sux,

     Seriously, You have NO clue!  I have played tennis my whole life and that match was epic!  Love to see you play 183 games, 980 points, 11 hours and 5 minutes, I highly doubt you could, I know I couldn't!  The most amazing match in the history of the sport!  Congrats to Nicolas Mahut and the winner, American John Isner, Wow!

24 Jun 2010 3:01 PM
Carlos in Cali

Thanks Barb Dwyer,

That's a pretty salty bunch of 3yo's who've won the BC Sprint I'd say. I knew of Silver Train & Very Subtle(and had them both..$$$) again,thx for the info.

24 Jun 2010 3:21 PM

There's a horse in here, that has failed to be mentioned and his name is Uncle Don. He hasn't faced graded company yet, but let me tell you something about this horse. He is a  late-developing 5 year old son of Lemon Drop Kid (Belmont Stakes Winner) out of the (1994 Breeders Cup Sprint, runner-up) Soviet Problem, bred by Harris Farms, Uncle Don runs a 1:08 & change, in his sleep. He is steadfastly improving in rapid proportions. He missed his first two years of racing due to some tendon injuries, but now is healthy, and has put together quite a campaign, in just his first year of racing. He's 4 of 6 lifetime, so far, with two runner-up finishes. He is piloted by one of the best young jockeys in the country, Joel Rosario, who had quite a card, at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day. His mother was one of the best sprinters, I've ever witnessed on the track, regardless of sex type. She dominated the Northern and Southern California cicuits in the early nineties. She lost the BC Sprint to Cherokee Run in 94' by less than a nose. As heartbreaking as it was to watch, it was still satisyfying to see a Northen California horse dominate the rest of the field except for the great Cherokee Run.  I had the distinct pleasure of watching Soviet Problem in a match race against a very fast local Bay Meadows horse named Lazor, who was trained by Howard Belvoir. It was quite a spectacle for a  22-year old, who was just in his second year of a lifetime love affair with horse-racing. She demolished Lazor that day, and he was never the same after that grueling defeat. Soviet Problem ran him off his heels that day, and I still remember it so vividly, as friends and I watched in pure amazement from the infield. I just have a feeling, as we get closer to November, this horse will be heard from in a big time way. I watched him break his maiden after two unsucessful runner-up finishes. Uncle Don, won that race with such ease, it made me think of his momma, and how she would toy with other horses by running a 1:08 without even taking a breath, unbelieveable!. Uncle Don, has displayed those same qualities during his four-race winning streak, and it doesn't hurt that he has a ton of staying power from his father. If this horse can stay healthy, and I pray that he does, just like I do for all of em, he'll be a handful to deal with come November 6th. It would be nice to see John Harris hoist that BC Sprint trophy like he should of on that cold and chilly day at Churchill Downs, some 16 years ago. Go Uncle Don!    

24 Jun 2010 4:41 PM

Did you see where Breeder's Cup expanded the list of "win and you're in" races?

65 qualifying races...6 of them UNGRADED (unbelievable), 11 GR III, 11 GR II, 14 Overseas...

25 Jun 2010 7:02 AM

D'Funnybone without a doubt. He's calm,cool & red hot. Prado can rate him, something very important for these speed monsters. Another factor, he is so strong in the hind quarters which helps keep him sound in front. How many racehorses have an (almost) over-stride at the walk?

I like 85/50 too but something tells me he's a runnin' Quarter Horse in T-Bred PJs.<VBG>

25 Jun 2010 1:09 PM

The Rock 22 Jun 2010 10:53 PM: "It'll be interesting to see how the sprint division is affected by the Mile this year since its a one-turn race. Warrior's Reward would seem to benefit from that more than the sprint. Calvin had him way to close to the pace in the Met Mile."

i agree. the met mile outcome is deceiving for warrior's reward. both because, as you say, he was way too close to the pace too early (julian wouldn't have made that mistake i don't think), but also because he's just better suited to the sprint distance. even at one turn, the mile is little long for him.

i think musket man will head for the classic, not the sprint, despite the fact he's been sprinting lately--especially if quality road runs in the BC mile, and not the classic (which i think will be the case--another furlong and musket man could have caught him in the met mile).

quality road is an exceptional miler...not really sure why everyone insists that he's a lock for the classic. i thinks its possible, but the mile just looks more probable too me--esp. should he loose the whitney.

25 Jun 2010 1:10 PM
Bill C

Hollywood Hit is loaded with speed Musket Man is loaded with heart and finally watch out for Conveyance he's a monster of a sprinter. I think it's a very intresting division.

25 Jun 2010 2:11 PM

We probably shouldn't forget about Scenic Blast.  We don't know, yet, how he'll come back for JS, but he has the history to be a huge factor.  IIRC, he's running in an alw this weekend?

25 Jun 2010 9:44 PM
The Rock

I think we just saw the sprinter who could be anything later on this year as he handled Cash Refund and Atta Boy Roy at Prairie tonight. MajesticPerfection had really good form coming into the Iowa Sprint although this was his debut in a stakes race against some real quality horses. In the end, he shrugged off Cash Refund & left Atta Boy Roy in the dust while barely taking a deep breath. This one reminds me a lot of Reraise, the BC Sprint winner in 08' @ CD. Personally, he'd be #1 in my book , despite lacking a graded stakes victory.

25 Jun 2010 11:32 PM

Agree with The Rock on Majesticperfection.  I saw him break his maiden at the FG, but he has really blossomed of late.  He had a half in 43-2 enroute to breaking the 6f track record @ PM in 107-1.  He didn`t make his first start until Jan. as a 4yo and since being 3rd in that has reeled off 4 straight.  Would like to see Asmussen take him along for the `Toga meet.  It`s hard to go with a frontrunner in the BC Sprint since they invariably run suicide fractions, but he could be very tough.

26 Jun 2010 9:24 AM

A horse that was failed to be mentioned who I feel will have a big impact in the next 4 months is Uncle Don. The son of Lemon Drop Kid (Belmont Stakes Winner) out of the mare Soviet Problem (1994 Breeders Cup Sprint Runner-Up)by Moscow Ballet, has yet to face graded company, but will soon get the class test and I feel he will respond in a big time way. This 5 year old missed his first two seasons of racing at 3 & 4, due to a tendon injury. But now he is sound and healthy, and displays the athletic ability, heart, and determination needed to be a Graded Stakes winner. His first two starts were runner-up finishes, followed up by four straight wins including victories at 6F, 6 & 1/2 F, 7F, and most recently 6F on the Turf. His mom was a versatile runner who would win on Turf or Dirt, as well. I remember as a 22 year old watching Soviet Problem, dismantle local Bay Meadows horse and overnight stakes star, Lazor, in a match race. He was never the same after that grueling defeat, where she ran him off his feet that day. It was 16 years ago at Churchill Downs where Soviet Problem was beaten by Cherokee Run, at the last jump. For all you history buffs, don't be surpised if Uncle Don, turns the tables and wins the one his momma should have. It doesn't hurt that he is piloted by the best young jockey in the country, Joel Rosario. Go Uncle Don!    

26 Jun 2010 12:51 PM

Tough group.

I'll comment on the Cali sprinters since I've seen them run in person.

I anticipate Kinsale King having little difficulty running on dirt, if they choose to go that route.  This horse will simply run on anything.  He won the Underwood at Hollywood wire to wire back in late fall, something which strongly suggests he should get dirt.  If he was a late-running Pro-Ride/turf sprinter, I would say no way on dirt.  But Kinsale has great speed, speed that can translate to different surfaces, and his strong performance on the dirt-like Cushion track is a very positive signal.  Along with Vineyard Haven, Kinsale is the class of the division.

Cost of Freedom is the best Cali sprinter with Kinsale in Europe and Bob Black Jack retired.  Like Kinsale, I have alot of confidence that Cost of Freedom can translate his synth form to dirt given his success at Hollywood Park.  In the recent Los Angeles Cap, Cost of Freedom simply ran a good field off their feet, earning a solid 106 Beyer.  As with Kinsale, given Cost of Freedom has been winning synth races on the lead and owns sharp performances over Hollywood's Cushion Track, I expect him to get dirt.  The real question for me is whether he will be good enough.  Based purely on Beyers, he fits.

Thanks SPLITS OF 12 for mentioning Uncle Don.  Uncle Don still has alot to prove class-wise, but he has some talent and I love Soviet Problem in his pedigree.  Soviet Problem is one of a small group of recent horses who can claim to have won 2 match races.  

I think Concord Point, recent winner of the Iowa Derby, could make a dangerous sprinter.

29 Jun 2010 2:54 AM

Scenic Blast will blow them away. Oustanding first up run the other day

30 Jun 2010 4:42 AM

marko1- especially since Mike Smith said he should have ridden him differently.  Was really closing at the end.

30 Jun 2010 11:34 AM

Majesticperfection.....117 Beyer in the Iowa Sprint Handicap and he beat some good ones.  Ran tough throughout and drew away without the whip.  WOW.  His last three Beyers......117, 102, 106.  This division gets deeper as we speak.

01 Jul 2010 1:19 PM

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