11/12/2011 3:49PM

Mountaineer: Sophomore Sprint's prime contenders seek form reversals

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Patrick Lang/Lang Photography
Two starts ago, Matthewsburg captured the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Sprint on Polytrack.

Despite ugly looking running lines in their most recent races, Matthewsburg, Doinmysongndance, and Pass the Crown may still be the prime contenders in Tuesday night’s $75,000 Sophomore Sprint at Mountaineer Racetrack.

The six-furlong sprint drew a field of nine 3-year-olds, eight of whom finished fifth or worse last time out. The lone exception is Thistledown-based gelding B’jimney, who won his first start locally in a first-level allowance over a muddy track on Oct. 21. He earned a career-best 82 Beyer Speed Figure, a 13-point increase over his previous outing at the same class level.

It seems unlikely B’jimney can duplicate that effort, based on his trainer’s historical pattern. Manuel Criollo is just 1 for 27 with winners returning off a career top and 4 for 52 with all last-out sprint winners returning in 30 days or less.

That leaves handicappers looking for reasons to toss out the bad lines posted most recently by Matthewsburg, Doinmysongndance, and Pass the Crown. Two starts ago, all three ran races that would be good enough to win in this spot.

Matthewsburg, switching surfaces after nearly two months on the sidelines, upset the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Sprint at 9-1 when he rallied from eighth to draw off by 2 1/4 lengths, earning a career-high 88 Beyer.

Likewise, Doinmysongndance ran well two starts back, wiring four opponents in a second-level optional $40,000 claimer at Hoosier Park with an 82 Beyer.

Matthewsburg and Doinmysongndance regressed badly, however, as outsiders in the $88,000 Jimmy V on the first day of the Breeders’ Cup undercard at Churchill Downs. Both horses turned in dull efforts while racing in the mud for the first time.

Pass the Crown put together five straight solid races in Indiana, including a win in the restricted Brickyard and a second two starts ago making his two-turn debut in the Hoosier Breeders’ Sophomore. After being within a head of the lead after six furlongs in 1:11.20 of the 1 1/16-mile Too Much Coffee, Pass the Crown stopped badly and wound up last of 12 on Oct. 23. He is eligible to improve returning to a sprint and has attracted Mountaineer’s leading rider, Deshawn Parker.

A fourth horse seeking a dramatic form reversal is Faisal Prince, who returned from an eight-month layoff to finish ninth in a second-level allowance on Keeneland’s Polytrack. Faisal Prince was cross-entered in an optional $62,500 claimer with a $50,000 purse Sunday at Churchill Downs.