IMPACT OF EDDIE D ON BREEDERS' CUP TURF SPRINT
Eddie D. Stakes (GIII)- Division 1
(September 30, 2016)
Course Specialist AMBITIOUS BREW scored in the slightly slower timed (1:11.57) division of the split local prep for the Breeder’s Cup Turf Sprint on the newly installed turf course. What made his win impressive from two lengths off the pace is that the fractions were significantly slower than division 2 which usually favors pace setters/pressers. Stakes-winning turf sprinter RICHARD’S BOY, with a win in the listed Desert Code S. and a third in the G.3 Echo Eddie S. down the hill, looked primed for the score after inheriting the lead into the lane under high riding Victor Espinoza. The Peter Miller trained runner-up will be an interesting longshot contender because of his trouble-free style. However, Bill Spawr trained AMBITIOUS BREW under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith fired a strong closing kick coming home the last 2½ furlongs in :27.71. In a field likely at capacity, there will be traffic. The horse(s) who can travel a relatively trouble-free path in any pace situation will have maximized their win chances. Consider the winner and runner-up strong contenders on ‘Cup weekend.
There were two disappointments beginning with the 8-5 favorite LADY SHIPMAN, runner-up in last year’s BC Turf Sprint. However, this undulating downhill course with a dirt crossing is a much different trip than 5½ furlongs on the flat Keeneland turf. She bobbled at the start (not noted in the chart note) from the dreaded rail draw preventing her from being part of the leading vanguard. She chased in mid-pack, made a mild bid, then tired. Her supporters could get an inflated price off the troubled 5th but it’s hard to envision her making up 6 ¼ lengths on the winner and 4 ¾ lengths on the runner-up. The tepid 5-2 second favorite HUNT, a winner down the dip in the listed Siren Lure S. along with a third in the listed Joe Hernandez S., was seemingly compromised by the pace situation but on video review he looked one-paced and lost ground to the winner down the lane after following him into the stretch. It’s hard to envision him being a major factor if he starts in the BC Turf Sprint.
Eddie D. Stakes (GIII) - Division 2
Cassidy trained HOLY LUTE was ultra-impressive, chasing a lightning pace
(:21.38, :43.14; division 1 splits were :21.79, :43.86) and closing from just
about two lengths back in a very wide open wagering event. Jockey Jamie Theriot coaxed the son of former
two-time BC Sprint winner MIDNIGHT LUTE to a :28.09 final fraction and held
closers BOOZER and GUNS LOADED at bay by 1 ¼ lengths. There was a point at mid-stretch that HOLY
LUTE, sent off the 10-1 sixth choice in the field of 11, looked vulnerable to
attack from the outside but he found that quickening gear in a matter of few
strides that separates and wins turf races.
This is the only one to consider coming out of the second heat which was
run in faster time (1:11.23) but a race shape which should have aided the
second and third finishers more than it actually did.
So What Did We Learn?
AMBITIOUS BREW, RICHARD’S BOY, and HOLY LUTE figure with winning chances off
their BC Turf Sprint preps, I will
remind fans that horses showing speed in middle distance events cutting back to
6½ furlongs at Santa Anita will be very tough as BOBBY’S KITTEN was when winning
the race in 2014.