Updated on 09/16/2011 8:31AM

BC Countdown - Sprint: D'wildcat, 'Matt' drop out


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - For the first time since 1996 the Breeders' Cup Sprint will be decided without a full field following the withdrawals of pre-entrants D'wildcat and My Cousin Matt on Monday.

Barring any further declarations, a field of 13 will contest the 2002 Sprint. Originally 16 horses were pre-entered for the race. Gygistar was the first to drop out last Friday due to a hoof injury.

Trainer Bob Hess made the decision not to ship D'wildcat to Chicago on Monday morning after his horse spiked a temperature the previous day.

"He's coughing a bit and has a bit of a temperature, and while we'd love to run in the Breeders' Cup our first consideration is to do what's best for the horse," said Hess. "There will be other opportunities."

Hess's decision not to run D'wildcat in the Sprint left the door open for trainer Scott Lake to get also-eligible My Cousin Matt into the starting lineup. But he, too, decided to pass.

"He's coming up with a little mucus so we're not going," said Lake, who will be represented by Thunderello in the Sprint.

Several of the leading candidates for the Sprint had their final preps Sunday and Monday, including likely favorite Orientate, who worked four furlongs in 48.20 seconds at Churchill Downs on Monday morning.

"It was just what we wanted at this point," trainer D. Wayne Lukas said, "a chance to let him stretch his legs a bit. Now we just have to pack him in Styrofoam and get him there."

Orientate enters the Sprint sporting a four-race winning streak, including a 2 1/4-length victory in Saratoga's Grade 1 Forego Handicap on Sept. 1.

"The Sprint's never an easy race," said Lukas. "They just pack them all in there and let 'em go and you never know what might happen. But I feel really good about him."

Former Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Kona Gold and his stablemate Kalookan Queen turned in sharp works at Santa Anita on Monday. Kona Gold, who won the 2000 Sprint, went three furlongs in 34 under Alex Solis while Kalookan Queen breezed a half-mile in 46.80.

"He went in 34 and looks like he was going in 37," trainer Bruce Headley said of Kona Gold's work.

Kona Gold, who will make a record fifth straight appearance in the Sprint, has not started since he finished sixth in Hollywood's Triple Bend Handicap on July 6.

"He got roughed around in the Triple Bend and was pretty body sore so I couldn't run him at Del Mar," said Headley. "I passed the Ancient Title because I didn't want to give him a hard race after a long layoff just three weeks before the Sprint. This will be his fifth time in the race and I don't think he's lost too many steps over the years. He's going to be dangerous."

Carson Hollow, one of three fillies and mares in the Sprint, along with Kalookan Queen and Xtra Heat, worked five furlongs in 1:02 at Aqueduct on Monday.

"I was looking for a good breeze and that's what I got," said trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. "She's all set to go and couldn't be coming up to the race any better."

Crafty C.T., another member of the strong California contingent, worked four furlongs in 46.40 on Sunday.

"He's doing great and coming up to this race like a dream," said trainer Howard Zucker, who was scheduled to accompany Crafty C.T. on his flight to Chicago on Tuesday.