09/26/2008 11:00PM

Plenty of questions for Ancient Title favorites


ARCADIA, Calif. - There are reasons to bet against the favorites Saturday in the Grade 1, six-furlong Ancient Title Stakes at Santa Anita. But are the reasons valid?

Street Boss, California's top sprinter and winner of five straight, is buried on the rail. In Summation ran poorly last time, and his regular jockey was injured in a spill Wednesday. As for Idiot Proof, he won the Ancient Title one year ago and has lost every start since.

Whether those issues matter will be determined in the $250,000 Ancient Title, a Win and You're In race for the Breeders' Cup Sprint and the first leg of the pick six, which has a guaranteed $1 million pool Saturday. The Ancient Title, race 6 of 11, is likely to produce the BC Sprint favorite.

The current BC Sprint favorite is Street Boss, the Bruce Headley-trained son of Street Cry whose career is winding down. Breeding rights to Street Boss have been sold to Darley; the 4-year-old son of Street Cry will make his final start in the Breeders' Cup.

Street Boss overcame the inside post to win the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Handicap in his last start July 27 at Del Mar. After breaking from the rail, Street Boss rallied wide and won by a length with a career-best 107 Beyer Speed Figure. It was his seventh win from 11 starts.

Street Boss is good, and in the Bing Crosby, he also was lucky. Runner-up In Summation might have won with a better trip. In Summation was stuck inside, blocked into the lane, and by the time he found room, the race was over. He finished second, then regressed one month later when he finished a flat fourth in the seven-furlong Pat O'Brien.

"Seven-eighths probably is not his best distance," said Nicholas Bachalard, assistant trainer to Christophe Clement. "He's probably best at three-quarters or less."

In Summation has won 10 of 24 overall, and the abundance of speed in the Ancient Title favors his closing style.

He is likely to have a different rider, however. Corey Nakatani was injured in a spill Wednesday and is not expected to ride Saturday. Bachalard said the jockey assignment on In Summation would be determined Friday.

In Summation "is a pretty easy horse to ride," Bachalard said. "Whoever rides him won't get too much instruction."

The best front-runner is Idiot Proof, runner-up in his turf sprint comeback one month ago.

"He needed the race, no doubt," trainer Cliff Sise said. "He has trained good here, the only thing I am worried about is if the track is different in the afternoon than the morning."

Idiot Proof, 5 for 13 overall, finished second in the Group 1 Golden Shaheen in March and was runner-up behind Midnight Lute last fall in the BC Sprint.

Garrett Gomez rides Idiot Proof on Saturday and could ride him back in the Breeders' Cup if Midnight Lute does not make the race.

Other Ancient Title starters include Delta Storm, Decado, Sailors Sunset, Esperamos, and Cost of Freedom.