10/23/2002 11:00PM

Handicappers' analysis of the Breeders' Cup Sprint


California's best sprinter this year is presser Disturbingthepeace, who figures for a great trip behind the pace. A winner of six straight starts, he is geared for a huge effort in his first start in two months for terrific layoff trainer Darrell Vienna. Post 3 is not a significant obstacle. Fast-working comebacker Kona Gold typically runs his best race fresh and is dangerous from behind in a speed-filled race. Orientate has proven he can cope with heat, but he will have lots of company. Potential bomber Carson Hollow, potentially overmatched Bonapaw, and past-her-prime Xtra Heat are all heat. This race should be won from behind. Crafty C.T., a top miler, may pick up pieces. Same with Swept Overboard, who has rebounded in the past from subpar efforts.

- Brad Free

I will take a swing for the fences here. Crafty C.T. has been improving steadily, and should be in good position to make an early bid at the dueling speedsters. A good trip, and a top effort would enable him to register a $30 or $40 upset. If Orientate runs his race he will be hard to beat, but I don't like the fact that he hasn't started since Sept. 1. At low odds in the range of 2-1, that is reason enough to try to beat him with a longshot. Kalookan Queen is on the upswing, and will be well placed behind the battle for early supremacy. Although she edged the top selection by a half-length last time, the feeling here is that Crafty C.T. is more likely to make the bigger move forward today. Bonapaw has won three straight starts, including the Vosburgh, but must rate more kindly than he usually does to get the job done.

- Steve Klein

Swept Overboard came within a length of winning the 2001 Sprint rallying into slow pace on dead rail, and pace will likely be faster this time. Fact that he Beyered 122 in Met Mile off low-figure preps leads one to believe low-fig Ancient Title tune-up was also by design. Four tracks, five sprint stakes, five open-lengths wins this year for Orientate, who has never lost at six furlongs. Rested since dueling Squirtle Squirt into submission with huge pace fig in Forego, he becomes top selection if track is sloppy or muddy. Great post. Is Kona Gold ancient history after losing four of his last five, or cranked up for one last hurrah (8 for 11 first race of form cycle)? He won 2000 Sprint from similar post.

- Dave Litfin

It's not like trainer D. Wayne Lukas to back off on a horse who was as hot as Orientate was over the summer, but even with those concerns, it's hard to go against him. Orientate delivered a monstrous performance winning the Forego at Saratoga last out, not only running fast, but also demonstrating that he can be effective when displaced from the early lead. That quality will help him here. Kona Gold comes into this off a July layoff, but he ran big fresh before. There was nothing wrong with his first win this year, and his closing style fits this race. Swept Overboard would be the prime closer here, but a dull effort in his recent comeback puts his present condition in doubt.

- Mike Watchmaker