Updated on 09/16/2011 9:25AM

BC Countdown - Sprint: A big and strong female contingent


It was ladies' day in the sprint division last Saturday as Xtra Heat and Kalookan Queen beat males in the final two major preps for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Xtra Heat drew off to a three-length victory over Day Trader in the Phoenix Breeeders' Cup Stakes at Keeneland, while Kalookan Queen defeated Crafty C.T. and Swept Overboard in the Grade 1 Ancient Title Handicap at Santa Anita.

Both Xtra Heat and Kalookan Queen will head to Arlington Park where they will seek to join Very Subtle (1987), Safely Kept (1990), and Desert Stormer (1995) as the only fillies or mares to win the Sprint. Xtra Heat finished second behind Squirtle Squirt in the 2001 Sprint.

With the 3-year-old Carson Hollow likely to join Xtra Heat and Kalookan Queen in the starting lineup, this year's Sprint is expected to have three female runners.

Trainer Bruce Headley had originally stated his intention to pass the Sprint with the 6-year-old Kalookan Queen, thinking it would be too stressful to bring her back in the Breeders' Cup on just three weeks' rest. But he changed those plans at the behest of Kalookan Queen's owner, Louis Asistio.

"The owner wants to run her, so she'll run," Headley said. "She was pretty tired after the Ancient Title but she's a big, stout mare, like old an amazon, and may be able to bounce back."

Headley will now have two representatives in the Sprint, with Kona Gold pointing for his fifth straight Breeders' Cup appearance. Now an 8-year-old, Kona Gold won the 2000 renewal but finished seventh as the 7-2 favorite last fall after winning the Ancient Title three weeks earlier.

"The Ancient Title just drained him last year," Headley said. "But he's feeling great right now. He worked five furlongs in 57 on Monday and he did it all on his own, with no whip and no motivation. I'll work him twice more before shipping him to Chicago on the twenty-third along with Kalookan Queen."

Trainer John Salzman wasted little time vanning Xtra Heat to Arlington Park following her victory in the Phoenix Breeders' Cup. The win was the 24th in 31 career starts for the 4-year-old Xtra Heat but her first against males.

"She's beaten a lot of nice colts in the past in the Breeders' Cup and De Francis," Salzman said. "She ran just like I was hoping on Saturday. The boy [Harry Vega] took a little hold of her, sat back, and when he asked her she went on. I don't think the race took a lot out of her, and three weeks should be perfect to get her ready for the next one."

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said he was pleased with Day Trader's performance in the Phoenix and that he would pre-enter him along with likely favorite Orientate for the Sprint. He will also reunite Day Trader with jockey Pat Day.

"Pat fits Day Trader perfectly," Lukas said. "They go together like bacon and eggs."

Trainer Doug O'Neill said Avanzado, who won Sunday's Grade 2 Forest Hills Handicap at Belmont Park despite trying to prop at the finish line, wouldn't be supplemented to the Breeders' Cup.