No Shortage of Talent in Turf Sprint

With the Breeders' Cup just two and half weeks away, the major storylines are now in place to be written.

Zenyatta going for back-to-back Classics. Goldikova shooting for an unprecedented three consecutive Mile win. Uncle Mo vs. Boys at Tosconova in the Juvenile. Three-year-old Blind Luck expected to be favored in the Ladies Classic. These will be the biggest stories at Churchill Downs the first weekend of November.

One race that will not draw many headlines but is shaping up to be one of the most competitive at the two-day World Championships is the Turf Sprint. The race is significant if for no other reason than it is the opening leg of Saturday's Pick 6, and it certainly does not look like a race to single.

The complexion of the Turf Sprint has changed significantly in 2010 due to the fact that it will be a five-furlong race, as opposed to the last two years at Santa Anita when it was run at 6 1/2 furlongs on the downhill turf course. For that reason alone the defending titleholder, California Flag, likely will not be one of the favorites, especially coming off his dull 11th-place effort in the Woodford Stakes.

In talking with trainer Brian Koriner Tuesday, California Flag is still pointing toward the Breeders' Cup. He is chalking the poor effort up to his 6-year-old gelding not liking the Keeneland turf course.

"I've talked to a lot of people that have (shipped horses to Keeneland) and they said horses can have trouble there. The course has a sandy bottom and it was very dry. He probably just took care of himself and three-eights of a mile. I have no reason to think any differently. I've taken the horse all over the world and I've never seen that from him. It was like I was looking at a mirage.

"He came out of the race perfect. He worked over the course today and was fine. He'll ship (to Churchill) this Thursday."

The favorite in the Turf Sprint will likely be the winner of the Woodford, Silver Timber. The remarkable 7-year-old gelding won the Woodford for the second straight year and now will go on to Churchill, where he owns the five-furlong course record, which he set earlier this year in the grade III Shakertown.

Since trainer Chad Brown claimed Silver Timber for $25,000 in April, 2009 for owner Michael Dubb, all he has done is win eight races, including five graded stakes, and earn more than $450,000. Somehow, he was sent off at almost 9-2 in the Woodford even though he won the race as the favorite a year ago.

"He had some excuses in his last race at Saratoga (Troy Stakes, fifth)," Brown said. "The course was way too firm for his liking and he got in some trouble. When he finally got clear he got discouraged. But he trained super for us since that race and we knew he liked the Keeneland course, so we thought he'd run well.

"I'd be surprised if he wasn't the favorite (for the Breeders' Cup). He has the course record and he's in good form right now. We're excited. We love this horse; a lot of our employees love him. He's fit. We don't do a whole lot with him; just keep him happy. He seems to thrive in our program.

"When we claimed him, we thought he was a $50,000 type of horse who was in for $25,000. We thought he might be worth the money to run in a state-bred, non-winners of two optional claimer for $50,000, which he did in his next race, and he won. But he won so easily that we kept moving him up. He's a special horse."

Chamberlain Bridge could still be one of the favorites despite finishing fourth in the Woodford, where he was beaten just 1 1/2 lengths. It was his first loss in his last four starts and he has won three of four career starts at Churchill, his only loss coming by a neck in the Churchill Downs Turf Sprint (gr. IIIT) earlier this year. He'll be tough, especially since he is one of the few contenders that is a closing sprinter.

Included in the several other legitimate contenders are Stadivinsky, another former claimer for Dubb who was third but beaten only a half-length by Chamberlain Bridge in the Turf Monster Handicap last out; California shipper Tropic Storm, who was third in the Oak Tree Mile after carrying the lead into the lane; Awakino Cat, a winner of three straight stakes in New York for Linda Rice; Woodford runner-up Central City; and a pair of fillies--Rose Catherine and Unzip Me.

Three-year-old Rose Catherine has won four straight for Todd Pletcher, including the Turf Amazon at Philly Park last month. Four-year-old Unzip Me is another California shipper that has won seven of her last eight, including a pair of grade III events.

I'm sure there will also be a couple European horses shipping in for this lively race. Like I said, it's not the most glamorous Breeders' Cup event, but it sure will be competitive.


Leave a Comment:


I think Chamberlain Bridge will go off the favorite. I see Silver Timber as probably second choice with Rose Catherine and Unzip Me taking plenty, as well CF getting play (can't quite throw that one out can you? lol).

I agree, Jason, one tough race to call.  I still have plenty of work to do on this, but, at a cursory glance I think I like my chalk better than your chalk.  I really think Chamberlain Bridge at this distance will be double tough. I will most likely be going deep here in the pick'ems.

19 Oct 2010 4:54 PM

This will be Zenyatta's third Classic.  She mastered the Ladies Classic in 08, followed by the Breeders Cup Clasic in 09 , then going for the gusto of running in the BCC again on dirt this time.

Goldi is going for a threepeat in the BC mile.  Thats exciting , but it doesnt trump the classics, by far.

19 Oct 2010 5:04 PM

Jason, I wouldnt be surprised if this isnt going to be the race where California Flag makes a comeback. Look for it.

19 Oct 2010 5:18 PM

I hope your plan is to do quick rundown of each race. It would help keep us all more on topic.  Maybe too much, but, I could talk about each race for the next 2 weeks and be pretty happy.

19 Oct 2010 5:21 PM

I know this is the first race of the pik 6, but, it maybe the key race to get any seperation if all of the big 4 (Mo, Goldi, Workforce, Zen) hold form. Of course, that's a big if, but it could happen they all win. Then it would come down to this race and the Sprint.

If you could seperate with horses like Central City, Awakino Cat or even a Tropic Storm there is a decent possibility a small time player could pop a nice pik 6 with a minimal investment. Likely, no, decent possibility, yes.  The Sprint will be just as tough.

Heck, if you can just beat Chamberlain Bridge, Silver Timber or Unzip Me and hit that Sprint it will still be decent even with the big 4 coming in.  You can use the pik 4 to knock off a few of the big four. I don't play the pik 6 often, but there are enough singles in this sequence to roll with it. Pik 4's all day long, baby!

19 Oct 2010 5:45 PM

Quick Enough is possible, too.

19 Oct 2010 5:53 PM

Love the cutback in distance.  Should see a "quarter horse" type finish...5-6 deep across the track.  I smell upset.  

19 Oct 2010 6:07 PM
Redondo Johnny

The turf sprints are always the toughest race to handicap. The 5 furlong distance, and the break and posts are huge factors. With churchill downs  long stretch you would think it favors horses like Silver Timber who can sit and finish. Chamberlin Bridge was a stalker i thought but he was so far back in the last race so i'm confused if he is tailing off or his connections backed off his training before the last race. Anyway we must respest california speed in the sprint races no matter what, even if it's not California Flag.

19 Oct 2010 7:31 PM

Stadavinsky is my pick.

19 Oct 2010 7:48 PM

Nothing like a really good turf sprint, especially the 5-furlong variety. Can't speculate until the field is drawn though. Usually horses close better at 5F than 6F or 61/2F. Mid-Atlantic horses always dangerous in these affairs.

19 Oct 2010 8:01 PM

Any chance J-bred Partyallnightlong will go in this race?

19 Oct 2010 8:21 PM


 What is the % difference between

something is "likely" to happen and

a "decent possibility" it will ?

I say never single a horse. It makes it cheaper, but you never know what is going to happen in a race. Bet at least 2.

19 Oct 2010 10:04 PM


What is the % difference between

something is "likely" to happen and

a "decent possibility" it will ?

I say never single a horse. It makes it cheaper, but you never know what is going to happen in a race. Bet at least 2."

I don't know. Why? Did you read or hear that somewhere and are quizzing us?

19 Oct 2010 11:09 PM

As I think about it, Barry, I think I know what it means. When something is likely to happen go in with both hands. However, when something only has a decent possibility, tread lightly, but still tread.

There. That's what I think it means.

19 Oct 2010 11:15 PM

I do believe the horse is Stradivinsky.  Kinsale King may be cross-entered in dirt and turf, but I'd take him on dirt but not turf.  Rose Catherine may run against the males, and that's an exciting possibilty.  I like her a lot.

20 Oct 2010 7:59 AM
Billy's Empire

2 posts. Really? What part of turf sprint mentioned Zenyatta? And you all wonder why people hate your fans? Zenyatta nuts are like Ohio State football fans, Kentucky Basketball fans, and Yankees fans all wrapped up in one giant ball of annoying. Give it a rest. We know you love her, go write a poem about her or something.

20 Oct 2010 9:02 AM

Billy's Empire

Is Zenyatta entered in the Turf Sprint too?

20 Oct 2010 10:57 AM
Billy's Empire

no, that is why fans like Sodapop need to stop bringing her up on blogs that do not pertain to her, like this one! Drive me friggin nuts. Tell your legion of loyal fans to stick to the blog topic, or not to blog.

20 Oct 2010 11:42 AM
The Bid

I like the filles, Unzip me Rose Catherine

20 Oct 2010 12:11 PM
Smoking Baby

The Bid.  Rose Catherine sure is a nice filly (easy on the eyes too).  

Billy's Empire.  "One giant ball of annoying"  I'm sorry...that saying is GOLD.  I'll be borrowing that one at work before the day is out.

20 Oct 2010 1:28 PM


Is Scenic Blast a potential entry for the Turf Sprint? I think he was third last time he ran in the Morvich.

20 Oct 2010 1:56 PM


I just realized (because I've been working and didn't think) that I have booked myself on a shopping trip with a bunch of ladies on buses to GROVE CITY -- near Erie, Penn -- ON THE BREEDERS CUP WEEKEND!!!

(What was I thinking?1 -- Obviously, I wasn't...)

I'm going to be staying in the Wingate by Windham Hotel (wherever that is).  It doesn't look like they have anything close to a bar-type place with TVs and stuff, where I will be able to twist some poor working stiff's arm to make them tune into ESPN or ESPN2 (which station will show the races?).

I've also already checked and it doesn't look like there isn't a sports bar in the Prime Outlet Mall (what were THEY thinking?)

So it looks like the only way I can watch the Cup is either in the Hotel or at some Bar nearby.

Does anyone know of any likely sports bar anywhere near that hotel in Erie, Penn.?

(I love the idea of throwing this out to other people who understand HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO WATCH THE RACES ON SATURDAY-- never mind Friday.)

p.s. for the record, I agree with Billy's Empire on this one.

20 Oct 2010 1:59 PM

Billy's Empire, please forgive me for this post....

but I'm really bummed Cloudy's Knight has been retired. Was hoping against hope he could pull off a comeback.

OK, back to your regularly scheduled sprint specialists. This race is a crap shoot.

20 Oct 2010 2:23 PM

THIS JUST IN... Lukas to enter MTB in B.C. Sprint.

20 Oct 2010 3:33 PM

mz, don't know where your hotel is but Erie Pa is the home of Presque Isle Downs, might want to look if you haven't already thought of it.

20 Oct 2010 3:41 PM


I would think your best bet is Presque Isle Downs just off the I90 in Erie. They should be simulcasting the Breeders Cup.Your hotel has a free shuttle.

Good Luck.

20 Oct 2010 3:49 PM

I agree w Kevin L - Presque Isle is great. A last resort, and I do mean last, is the free Breeder's Cup app for the i-phone.

20 Oct 2010 3:54 PM

Thank you all!

(If I win anything, let's all meet at the next 2YO sales and buy ourselves the next Triple Crown winner -- Seattle Slew was only $17,500, right?)

20 Oct 2010 4:03 PM
Zen's Auntie

Jason, Since you mention Turf here,  I just heard Bandbox may be in the Juv Turf?  What say you? can you tell me if I will see him there?  

20 Oct 2010 5:07 PM
Jason Shandler

CV and Zen Auntie: Im not sure about either horse. I'll try to find out.

20 Oct 2010 5:17 PM

I was looking at Brisnet's PPs for possible starters for the Turf Sprint to see what horses could show up from Europe. There weren't very many.

Fleeting Spirit- hasn't raced since July. Unlikely?

Gilt Edge Girl- Won a Gr.1 at Longchamp Oct.3 Possible?

Laddies Poker Two- hasn't raced since June. Unlikely?

Starspangledbanner- Interesting!

Those are the only ones listed. I know zip about Euros. Maybe someone has info on these or others that may come to CD for the Turf Sprint. It would be a great help to the rest of us.

20 Oct 2010 6:43 PM

Zokeeper-The BC Turf Sprint is too short for Starspangledbanner.  If he comes I expect him in the Mile.  Not sure about any of the others you have mentioned.

20 Oct 2010 9:12 PM


He's not listed in the Turf Mile, at least not in the stuff I have. Looking at his PPs, I see that he has raced 4 times at 6 fur. and once at 5 fur. in a Gr.1 @ York where he came in 2nd, beaten 1 1/4 length. He has not run farther than 6 furlongs. He's a closer. I'll keep him in mind in case he's entered. I love his name. (Not very logical, I know)lol!

20 Oct 2010 9:57 PM

I remember reading that after he ran in the 5 furlong race they said it was too short for him and if they did run in the BC they would consider the mile as they don't feel it would be outside his scope in the US. Did you look at his Australian pp's?  If they changed their mind then they did.  But 5 furlongs in the US at Churchill will even seem shorter than in England.

20 Oct 2010 11:20 PM
joe p

Jason, this is the toughest BC race on the Saturday 8 BC race card. I feel really good about my picks for the other 7 races. Silver Timber and Chamberlain Bridge look tough, along with Rose Catherine. Unzip me, Stradivinsky and Awakino Cat also look tough to name a few. I'm not so sure Unclo Mo is a lock in the Juvenile I will be playing Boys @ T and Jaycito along with Uncle Mo in hopes of beating him. Behkabad could easily take out Workforce, if he even runs. With Rip Van Winkles retirement that makes things easier for Goldikova to 3-peat. Sidneys Candy could be a live longshot though. I know you dont want to hear this jason, but the strongest single on the BC 8 races may be Zenyatta. Lookin at lucky I think is the only one that may be able to beat her. Zenyatta's 2 tries on dirt at Oaklawn were both easy 4 length victories. She may like the dirt better, a scary thought for those betting against her.

20 Oct 2010 11:53 PM


He raced in Australia? Good grief! The PP's I have says that his life record is 5 2-1-0 and all the races listed (5) are in GB, starting May 12, 2010 at York.

I was astounded that they started him in a Gr.2 but since I'm so ignorant, I just thought: Wow!

What I'm looking at looks like he started this year, at age 4. Nothing about Australia except that he was bred there. I didn't think anything of it, since the British buy horses everywhere.

I guess what happens in Australia, stays in Australia. lol! Why is that?

21 Oct 2010 12:27 AM
John T


  I.m afraid I can,t help you out

on the Turf Sprint as I hav,nt studied it but as you know from another blog I was able to tell you about Frankel even before he had his first race so let me take this opportunity to tell you about a stablemate of Frankel,s who will

also become famous next year.His name is called Picture Editdor and he is unbeaten in two starts.In his last race he won by 30 lengthes

and in England at any level of racing That,s as rare as a fish swimming accross the Sahara Desert

without any water.His third and final race as a 2 year old will be the last Newmarket meeting for this season in late October,the Zetland Stakes run over 10 furlongs

and this is the same race his stablemate,Twice Over won when he was a 2 year old.

21 Oct 2010 12:54 AM
Billy's Empire

Quick note, I am not against getting off topic when something happens like Cloudy's Night and RVW getting retired, but the continuous back and forth on every blog is geting a bit tiring. No need to apologize or anything like that. With that said, Chad Brown is going to have Silver Timber ready to roll in the Turf Sprint. I liked him at Keeneland, and I am not going to waffle on him now. It will be a tough race to start the P6 with. I may go 5 deep to be safe, Stradivinsky, Awakino Cat, ST, CB and Unzip ME. Like I have said in years past, I am a big fan of the rolling doubles and pick 3's on BC races, and now with the addition of the .50 cent P4 and trifecta's, you can play more horse and better your chance of cashing some tix.

P.S. I don't care what jockey you put on MTB, he will not even sniff money on B.C Day. I say run him in the marathon.

21 Oct 2010 9:12 AM

Zookeeper- they have his Australian race record on Horse Racing Nation.  It looks as though he started 12 times in Australia- and he won the Caufield Guineas which was at a mile.  I suppose they could try him on the dirt, as 6 furlongs is probably a better trip for him than 5 furlongs, but we will just have to wait and see what happens.

21 Oct 2010 10:16 AM

John T,

I remember very well that you were the first one to raise the flag about Frankel. I was able to see him last time he ran. Now, I understand that he's through for the year. Looking forward to his 3yr old season and also Picture Editor's. (30 lengths,#@%&!)


You must be laughing your head off that I knew nothing about Starspangledbanner!!! I Googled him and now I'm embarrassed! :(

He did run and won at 1 mile in Australia. So it's not beyond his scope. I hope he comes, no matter which race they choose for him.

P.S. I still love his name!

21 Oct 2010 10:53 AM

Zookeeper- not at all.  I'm sure you would have found it on your own.  I wish Lady of the Desert would come for the BC Turf Sprint.  I'm not sure what their plans are.

21 Oct 2010 11:25 AM

"It will be a tough race to start the P6 with. I may go 5 deep to be safe, Stradivinsky, Awakino Cat, ST, CB and Unzip ME. Like I have said in years past, I am a big fan of the rolling doubles and pick 3's on BC races, and now with the addition of the .50 cent P4 and trifecta's, you can play more horse and better your chance of cashing some tix."

I heard that.  I can't see a way not too put at least 5 (from this race)in the pik 6 (I may try a backup ticket singling Chamberlain Bridge so I can play three in the juvy). Of Course, in the pik 4 I will have too cover the rest entered in this race, lol. There is at least another 4 besides the 5 you mentioned that have a shot.

If I go 5 or 6 deep here I will need three singles for my pik 6.  I just can't invest a ton into it knowing the pik 4's have a great shot at being huge, so I will do my spreading in those. Plus there are just too many whales playing the pik 6 to go with too heavy an investment for me.

Joe P, I agree with you about Behkabad.  Workforce (if he shows) will take a ton of money and even though they both have too ship across I don't see both of them being at their best. Depending on who comes from Europe (lots of talk, but no final decisions) and with a couple of decent Americans there is definitely room for a price here. I also think Jaycito and BT have a big shot.  Mo looks great, but still, there is much too prove. For the trifecta of agreeance (probably not a word, but you get it) I give Sid a big shot in the mile and will certainly be keying him in all spots of a tri and super as he may go off 10 or 12 to 1. Only one turf race is what I keep hearing from the masses. I say watch the race, it was freakish and well worth a shot at the price I percieve getting.

As for the Classic, it is a two horse race, imo and one of the two will need a ton of racing luck for the mare not to get by him. I guess you could say he will have too finally live up to his name.

21 Oct 2010 12:21 PM


I agree about Sid, except if the turf course is less than firm.

21 Oct 2010 12:44 PM

What is the deal on Sidney's Candy?  Who owns him?  Was he ever sold?

Or, is he an orphan now?   Jason, You should have heard something thru the grapevine by now.

21 Oct 2010 2:44 PM

Anyone else like Here Comes Ben in the dirt mile?

21 Oct 2010 3:13 PM
Zen's Auntie

just fyi I see Bandbox is entered @ Belmont the 23rd in the Sleepy Hollow Stakes NY breds 7f dirt 100K hes the 3:1 favorite. my question is - is that too close to run in BC race should he win, provided there is space? if they were thinking Juv turf wouldn't he be trying turf now?? may be hes not headed for BC?  Any inside info on this colt is interesting to me... thanks

21 Oct 2010 3:48 PM

Well, add Laddies Poker Two to the list of contenders (maybe the top contender).

I just saw the replay of this 5 yr old Mares last race. It was the Wokingham Stakes at Royal Ascot and she hadn't race in 20 months. Jeremy Noseda trains and he is very shrewd and the connections are very solid. I understand they are thinking strongly about this race.

She comes out of traffic (a 27 horse field that was divided in half and she was in the back of 11 or so on the grandstand side) and gets open and then just rolls.  Looks like a very strong turn of foot as she really pulls away, albiet as she is getting out quite a bit.

I have too admit I am not sure just how strong that field was, but, she dominated and I am guessing she could have used that race, lol. Then again that romp I am talking about was in June so I am guessing Jeremy isn't concerned about the layoff if he brings her to Kentucky, lol.

21 Oct 2010 5:49 PM

This is going to be the race to score with a longshot  -- some races will be singles, but not this one.

21 Oct 2010 6:56 PM


I like Here Comes Ben to win. He loves Churchill Downs and should relish a one-turn mile.

As for the turf sprint, I like a lot of horses! Awakino Cat could be a live longshot.


Regarding our conversation on the last blog, I forgot all about Buckpasser. Excellent example!


21 Oct 2010 10:16 PM




The third running of the Grade II, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint for 3-year-olds and up at five furlongs over the Matt Winn Turf Course on Saturday, Nov. 6 (Race 6, 3:15 p.m. ET, start of the $2 million guaranteed Pick 6, TV: ABC):

Awakino Cat (Linda Rice)

California Flag (Brian Koriner)

Central City (Ronny Werner)

Chamberlain Bridge (Bret Calhoun)

Due Date (Steve Margolis)

Elusive Gift (Richard Vega)

Fatal Bullet (Reade Baker)

Grand Adventure (Mark Frostad)

Little Nick (Anthony Quartarolo)

Quick Enough (Doug O’Neill)

Rose Catherine (Todd Pletcher)

Silver Timber (Chad Brown)

Stradivinsky (Rick Dutrow Jr.)

Tropic Storm (Craig Dollase)

Unzip Me (Marty Jones)

Known horses whose connections may be giving the Turf Sprint some consideration: A Unique Treasure, Bridgetown, Gilt Edge Girl (or Sprint), Ravalo, Scenic Blast-AUS and West Ocean.

21 Oct 2010 10:53 PM

I've been reading the blog and noticed a buzz about the Euro horses in the BCT Sprint. As I know about now Laddies Poker Two is very likely to go in. Even she hasn't raced since June, she won the Wokingham Handicap comming from a remarkable 600 days off. So I don't think the 140-something days gap between his last race and the BCS Turf would affect her connections' will at all.

21 Oct 2010 11:10 PM


Also check out your A Gold Mine in the Mile? (blog) for a list.

21 Oct 2010 11:14 PM


Seeing you discusssed The Ladie's Classic on THS.



The 27th running of the Grade I, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic for fillies and mares, 3-years-old and up, at 1 1/8 mile on Friday, Nov. 5 (Race 10, 7:30 p.m. ET, TV: ESPN2):

Acoma (trained by David Carroll)

Acting Happy (Rick Dutrow Jr.)

Blind Luck (Jerry Hollendorfer)

Funny Moon (Christophe Clement)

Havre de Grace (Tony Dutrow)

Life At Ten (Todd Pletcher)

Malibu Prayer (Todd Pletcher)

Persistently (“Shug” McGaughey)

Seeking the Title (Dallas Stewart)

Unrivaled Belle (Bill Mott).

Known horses whose connections may be giving the Ladies’ Distaff some consideration: Always a Princess, Evening Jewel (or F&M Sprint), Milwaukee Appeal, Third Dawn (or Chilukki) and Zardana-BRZ.

21 Oct 2010 11:20 PM
John T


 The plans for Lady Of The Desert

is to become a top class sprinter

next year.

21 Oct 2010 11:24 PM

Off the subject,

It was really nice to see Brass Hat win at Keeneland today. You said it Jason, what a game horse! What it meant to the connections was very touching. Great story!

21 Oct 2010 11:50 PM

Don't forget 5f Turf specialist Canadian Ballet.

3rd in turf amazon (to rose catherine) , won the Jenny wade @5f and 2nd by head just last week at Buffalo trace in keenland.  This gal was 5th last year in the the breeders cup while stalking Cal Flag around the track. She is awesome out of the gate and will have the lead for sure.

22 Oct 2010 9:18 AM

Thanks John T.  I think she has become one with her Abbeye run.  Hopefully she will progress more.

22 Oct 2010 10:34 AM
John T


 Yes Lady Of The Desert run a great race at Longchanp on Arc day,

but as a 3 year old she was trained

to win a classic at one mile or over.As a 4 year old she will be trained only to be top class over 5

and 6 furlongs.

22 Oct 2010 9:55 PM

John T- that is very true.  She is a half to Dylan Thomas, I believe, but she ended up wanting no part of a mile.  I think she is a great sprint prospect for next year.  Thanks for the info.

22 Oct 2010 11:39 PM

Everyone seems to be forgetting about one of the best pure 5F sprinters.  Canadian Ballet.  She had a rough spring but has been running nce recently.

25 Oct 2010 7:11 PM

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