10/29/2012 6:26PM

Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint: California Flag's task made more difficult by post 1

Barbara D. Livingston
California Flag, shown training on Sunday, won the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint in 2009. He is now 8 years old.

ARCADIA, Calif. – If California Flag wins the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint for the second time in a long career at age 8, he will have to turn in a spectacular performance after drawing the rail in a 14-horse field.

While the inside post has won at an 11-percent clip (70-637) in all 6 1/2-furlong turf races at Santa Anita since 2007, a speed horse – like California Flag – breaking from the fence in a race run on the unusual downhill course here faces an especially daunting task. And California Flag’s situation is made all the more difficult by the presence of some brilliantly quick horses drawn to his outside, horses like Great Mills in post 3, and Reneesgotzip in post 7.

One horse whose connections wanted to run in the Turf Sprint, Boxeur des Rues, was excluded from the oversubscribed race. Global Power is the first also-eligible, and can get into the race if anyone scratches, while Starspangled Heat is the second also-eligible.

The Turf Sprint has never been won by an international shipper and includes only one such starter this year, the Aidan O’Brien-trained Starspangledbanner, who will break from post 14.

Whoever winds up going favored in the Turf Sprint – and that horse’s identity isn’t obvious: Bridgetown? Unbridled’s Note? – is unlikely to be a shorter price than something like 5-1. Bridgetown has a good draw in post 9 and has won three turf-sprint stakes this year, but while he ran well in his lone prior Santa Anita grass race, finishing second in the 2009 Juvenile Turf, that race was a two-turn mile, and Bridgetown has no experience going “down the hill.”

Unbridled’s Note made his turf debut here Sept. 28 and won the Eddie D Stakes racing on the downhill course.

“There’s a ton of speed in the race,” said trainer Steve Asmussen, who sends out Great Mills in addition to Unbridled’s Note, while pointing out that a horse’s draw can be rendered meaningless by an eventful start. “The thing about post position is that a lot of the time you feel a different about things right after they break.”

Daniel Passero More than 1 year ago
Take a long and hard look at reneesgotzip.......
Habib Fazal More than 1 year ago
if you think it a joke than think twice , da hoss remmeber him , he burned the field
Todd Elliot More than 1 year ago
the flag isnt da hoss,,,why compare,,,
Todd Elliot More than 1 year ago
well habib, how much you lose on the flag...horse got crushed
Todd Elliot More than 1 year ago
this may be the biggest joke thinking california flag has any chance at eight and has been through for a few years ,,this is like thinking babe ruth was going to hit 60 home runs for the boston red sox after the yankees got rid of him,,total joke and the joke will be on those who think this horse has any chance at all...
Gary Gibbs More than 1 year ago
So, Oh Great Prognosticator, who's going to beat him?
Chris Jones More than 1 year ago
Todd, Babe Ruth started with the Red Sox, then went to the Yankees, and finished with the Boston Braves. Work on your analogies while you practice your grammar and punctuation.
Todd Elliot More than 1 year ago
now jones is a english teacher,,,what an idiot,,go ahead and bet the flag...Im sure you are a loser at the track and in your life..
David Morant More than 1 year ago
Classy post ... Just because you have a differing opinion doesn't mean you have to resort to that BS eh?
David Morant More than 1 year ago
Wondering who YOUR pick is then.
David Morant More than 1 year ago
Ahhhh ... You beat me to it! Nice catch! ;) To Todd ... CF set the Santa Anita(Non Oak Tree) record on that course last race out ... and finished just .49 off of his Oak Tree record. He holds them both. It's not exactly like he's lost a step.
Todd Elliot More than 1 year ago
david,,you said flag hasnt lost a step at eight and having one race in a very long time,,so tell me how much you lost betting the horse who you think hasnt lost a step?
Todd Elliot More than 1 year ago
you should stick to boring baseball jones,,your flag got crushed as noted...I knew you didnt know how to handicap
Todd Elliot More than 1 year ago
bet your money gary,,haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
Todd Elliot More than 1 year ago
gary,,watch your spelling,,,chris jones is watching
jon g More than 1 year ago
Good betting race here. Not as many longshot opportunities as most the other breeders cups. One of the 7-10 race worth making a sizeable wager. my handle will be down at least 50%
Chris Jones More than 1 year ago
Lot of early speed - look at Corporate Jungle cutting back and the Wesley Ward trainee, Great Attack. GA ran a great race on the Derby undercard chasing down Bridgetown, and Ward excels at these layoff types.
Todd Elliot More than 1 year ago
chris,,watch your punctuation and grammar