Breeders Cup Sprint Handicapping Tips

Handicapping the Breeders' Cup Sprint Races

Horse Betting Tips & Racing Picks

The 2020 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships is taking place on November 7 , at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, featuring eight championship horse races. Strong race contenders for the Breeders' Cup Sprint include Atta Boy, Big Drama, Cash Refund, Dancing in Silks, E Z's Gentleman, Girolamo, Kinsale King, Smiling Tiger, Warrior's Reward and Wise Dan. The best of luck on handicapping the 2020 Breeders' Cup Sprint!

The Breeders' Cup Sprint (Grade 1) gathers the world's fastest horses yearly to create some 70 seconds' worth of high-speed action that have provided some wild results at the Breeders' Cup. The favorite has won three of the last six runnings but this very competitive six-furlong dash has been a good race in the past to go searching for some handicapping value.

Generally, the $2 million Breeders' Cup Sprint fills to the 14-horse capacity and has featured impressive performances from horses of both sexes. Desert Stormer, Safely Kept, and Very Subtle are all female winners, and distaffers have hit the board nine times, including narrow runner-up finishes from Xtra Heat and Honest Lady in 2001 and 2000, respectively. Other distinguished female sprinters who have placed in previous runnings of the Sprint are Meafara - twice, Soviet Problem, and Pine Tree Lane.

The 2002 running of the Breeders' Cup Sprint featured Orientate, who closely stalked the early pace before grabbing the lead late at Arlington Park. Five Breeders' Cup Sprint winners have been named champion. Thirteen out of 21 runnings produced winners that went on to bag the Eclipse Award for champion sprinter. The winner of the 2009 Breeders' Cup Sprint in a four-horse blanket finish, marked the fourth straight win for Dancing in Silks and his first try in a Grade One event; he was later named 2009 California Horse of the Year, an honor he shares with California Flag.

In 2003, 13 horses went six furlongs, and 23-1 longshot Cajun Beat stalked the pace for the first quarter, which went in a blistering 21 seconds, grabbed the lead after half a mile and then drew away down the lane to win by 2 1/4 lengths over 14-1 shot Bluesthestandard in a time of 1:07 4/5. It was 2 lengths back to 7-2 shot Shake You Down in third.

California-based sprinters accounted for four straight and six of seven wins from 1992 to 1998. Runners from California have a total of nine wins. Those from New York have won two of the last five, and seven overall.

European-based runners have not enjoyed as much success in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. Most are making their dirt debut and not prepared for the mad calvary charge, with the exception of Sheikh Albadou who is the only foreign horse to claim the top prize. Dayjur's jumping antics in the stretch probably cost him the 1990 edition.

Eillo captured the first running of the Breeders' Cup Sprint in 1984 as the 6-5 favorite. Precisionist triumphed in the following year as the 3-1 second choice. Short-priced horses were then blanked over the next eight runnings as every Breeders' Cup Sprint winner returned more than $10. Longshots like Very Subtle in 1987, Dancing Spree in 1989, Sheikh Albadou in 1991, and Thirty Slews in 1992 were all good for more than $30.

Since Cherokee Run snapped the slump for favorites in 1994, short-priced runners like Reraise in 1998, Artax in 1999, Kona Gold in 2000, and Orientate in 2002 have emerged victorious. On the other hand, there are bombs like Desert Stormer in 1995 and Elmhurst in 1997, reinforcing the wide-open nature of the Breeders' Cup Sprint. High-priced horses do not always win but are usually right there at the wire. Seven of the last nine runner-ups were 15-1 or higher, including Thunderello at 48-1 in 2002.

Keep in mind that every winner in the Breeders' Cup Sprint horse races has won at the distance before and all owned a stakes win earlier the same year.

Along with the Breeders' Cup Mile (Grade 1), the Breeders' Cup Sprint has averaged the most starters in the Breeders' Cup, with slightly more than 13 per race. Early runners and deep closers have both fared well. There have been only four official wire-to-wire wins, albeit Smile in 1996, Safely Kept in 1990, and Artax had the lead at all but one call.

Eight Breeders' Cup Sprint winners have turned for home in front, and eventual winners like Precisionist, Thirty Slews, Cherokee Run, Kona Gold, and Squirtle Squirt in 2001 were all very close to the lead at this point. Six contending horses, meanwhile, have closed from at or near the back of the pack to win the Sprint, including two who placed tenth with only a quarter-mile remaining.

Fillies and mares can be backed with confidence against their male counterparts. Geldings have also performed better in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. Five of the eight geldings to win a Breeders' Cup championship race did so there.

Ten Breeders' Cup Sprint winners have been cutting back in distance, six from 7 furlongs, three from 6 1/2 furlongs. The amazing Precisionist, who made his previous start in the 1 1/4-mile Hollywood Gold Cup (Grade 1) more than four months beforehand, is the only previous winner to cut back from a route and returned from a longer layoff than any Breeders' Cup Sprint victor.

Smile is the only winner from the rail in Breeders' Cup Sprint history. Horses from inside posts (1-3) have won only six times. Horses from post 8 and out have captured seven runnings.

Success in the final prep is not a huge factor, with 11 horses winning the Breeders' Cup Sprint off a loss. Horses do run well fresh. Orientate had his final prep on September 1, Very Subtle returned after an 84-day rest, Desert Stormer after 76 days, Lit de Justice after 69 days, and Thirty Slews after 56 days off. Eleven winners of the Breeders' Cup Sprint had raced within the last 35 days.

At the 2004 Breeders' Cup Sprint, Speightstown ran away with the championship at 3.70 odds with jockey John Velasquez. Kela placed second at 4.00 odds with jockey Jerry Bailey, and My Cousin Matt followed in third place at 60.70 odds with jockey Ramon Dominguez.


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