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Breeders' Cup Sprint: Baffert has three set to take on Amazombie
By Mike Welsch
With no clear-cut leader in the division, a full field of 14 appears likely to go postward in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, which oversubscribed when 16 horses were pre-entered for the race Monday. Among those pre-entered were defending Sprint champion Amazombie along with a trio of top contenders from the barn of trainer Bob Baffert.
Four of the 16 pre-entered for the Sprint also pre-entered in a second race. Emcee, Jimmy Creed, and Second City all gave second preference to the Dirt Mile, while Boxeur des Rues’s first preference is the Turf Sprint. The Lumber Guy, Coil, Gantry, and Sum of the Parts have all of their pre-entry and entry fees to the Sprint paid after posting victories earlier this year in designated Win and You’re In races.
Amazombie rallied to a neck victory over Force Freeze in the 2011 Sprint at Churchill Downs and had been atop the division for most of the season. But after finishing fourth as the 4-5 favorite in defense of his title in the Grade 2 Santa Anita Sprint Championship (formerly the Ancient Title) in his final Breeders’ Cup prep, Amazombie has become just one of a handful of horses who may vie for favoritism in this year’s Sprint.
Baffert holds a strong hand with Coil and Capital Account, the first- and second-place finishers in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship, and Fast Bullet, who has won both his starts but hasn’t run since last November.
“At the moment, all three are going to run,” Baffert said. “Fast Bullet is so fast and very talented. He’s had some issues, but he’s good now. He’s only run twice and has been away a year, but he’s been training great. Right now, he’s like a pitcher who is good for one inning with a 99-mile-an-hour fastball.”
Baffert said Joe Talamo will replace Martin Garcia aboard Fast Bullet for the Sprint. Garcia also is the regular rider for Coil, whom he guided to a head decision over Capital Account in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship. David Flores will keep his regular seat aboard Capital Account.
“The Sprint looks like it’s probably going to be a very wide-open race,” Baffert said.
Although Emcee’s first preference is for the Sprint, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said he still has to discuss the option of running in the Dirt Mile with Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford.
“Emcee is not really a miler or a two-turn horse, but the Dirt Mile appears to be coming up the easier of the two races,” McLaughlin said.
Other Sprint pre-entrants include Grade 1 winner’s Camp Victory and Poseidon’s Warrior, Justin Phillip, Smiling Tiger, Hamazing Destiny, and Trinniberg.
As these aren't your father's Very Subtle, Lit De Justice, and Kona Golds, Fast Bullet merits huge consideration pending the draw. Capital Account was best in Frank's Dash for Cash, formally known as The Ancient Title, and HE was an allowance horse halfway through his 5YO campaign. FB, if you haven't seen him run, is a huge talent who is deemed ready for this level by a top two trainer that already has the first two favorites. Those who follow Baffert closely are aware that he often wins with the larger price of his entries. The horse must be looking beastly to be entered here and, contingent upon where Emcee goes, will be 10 to 15/1. Do you really want to leave him off your tickets with that background and price? By the way how many races did Emcee take to jump into the GR1 ranks?
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