Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:56 AM

BC - Sprint

Distance: 6 furlongs
Purse: $2 million
Age: 3up
Date: Saturday, November 1
Time: 5:36 pm EDT

The History

Dayjur was home free in 1990 before famously jumping a shadow at Belmont Park and allowing Safely Kept to become one of three fillies to win this. Thirty Slews won the 1992 running, introducing the world to a then unknown trainer by the name of Bob Baffert.

Kona Gold ran in the Sprint five times, grabbing the brass ring just once in 2000. Midnight Lute won back to back races in 2007 and 2008, while 2011 Juvenile Sprint winner Secret Circle won the 2013 renewal with just one prep in over 18 months. In 2016, Drefong gave Baffert five wins to in the event.

Favorites: 8 for 35 (23%)
Shortest: $4.60 (Ellio, 1984)
Highest: $54.60 (Sheikh Albadou, 1991)
The champ is here? No. Roy H will not be looking to win his third straight Sprint.

Best

Mitole will try to lay claim to Horse of the Year honors while seeking his first G1 win at this Sprint distance for trainer Steve Asmussen. A picture of consistency throughout his career, Mitole has finished in the trifecta in all 13 starts, including nine wins.

After having his sophomore campaign cut short in May 2018, Mitole returned from an almost ten-month break and picked up right where he left off this season, winning his first four starts of the year, including the G1 Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day going seven furlongs and the historic, G! Metropolitan Handicap going a mile on Belmont Stakes Day.

Perhaps the Met Mile took its toll on Mitole but many believe it was the dead-rail that got him beat when he tired early on from his rail draw in the G1 Vanderbilt at Saratoga where he finished third. He returned to his winning ways over that course when he romped in the G1 Forego some four weeks later.

Imperial Hint hopes the third time is the charm when it comes to the Sprint, having finished second by a length in 2017 after making the lead in the stretch and a third-place finish last year as the 8-5 favorite.

The most accomplished at this distance in the field, Imperial Hint has won the last two runnings of the Vanderbilt and G1 Vosburgh at Belmont, along with three other stakes going three-quarters of a mile for trainer Luis Carvajal, Jr. His versatility should serve him well in here as he will likely have to come from off the pace despite going gate-to-wire in the Vosburgh most recently.

Catalina Cruiser suffered the lone defeat of his eight-race-career at last year’s World Championships, an inexplicable off-the-board performance as the 4-5 favorite in the Dirt Mile. He won all four starts prior and all three since, including the G2 True North against an insider speed bias at Belmont in his seasonal bow back in June and the G2 Pat O’Brien most recently at Del Mar.

Trained by John Sadler, who was on the fence as to where to run Catalina Cruiser since the Dirt Mile is around two turns this time around, he hasn’t raced at this distance since cruising to a pair of victories to start his career.

Rest

Diamond Oops has tried his hand at both turf and dirt and has had success on both surfaces. He comes into this off of a solid runner-up finish going a two-turn mile on the grass in the G1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland where he set the pace before losing by less than a length. Earlier this year, he won the G3 Smile Sprint at Gulfstream and finished second in the Vanderbilt.

Engage has won both of his starts, including the G2 Phoenix at Keeneland in the final strides most recently, since being transferred to Asmussen. He’s won five of his eight starts overall at this distance including the G3 Futurity and Gold Fever at Belmont along with a minor stakes at Parx two starts back.

Firenze Fire did all of the dirty work chasing Imperial Hint in the Vosburgh while taking himself away from his best game in the process. A bit more accomplished at a mile, having won the G1 Champagne and G2 Dwyer at that trip, he should be able to return to his off-the-pace style with all of the speed signed on in here.

Hog Creek Hustle is another who appreciates a bit more ground with his best efforts coming when he passed nearly all of his rivals to win the G1 Woody Stephens at seven furlongs on Belmont Stakes day and runner-up finish in the G1 H Allen Jerkens where he missed by just a nose at the Spa two back. He finished fifth in the Phoenix, his first start against older rivals.

Landeskog tired to second after he battles on the lead for most of the way in the G2 Gallant Bob at Parx last out. He’s won two of his five starts overall and is seeking his first stakes score.

Matera Sky ships in from Japan seeking his first win in five tries this year. He’s made just two of his 26 starts outside of Japan, finishing fifth behind Mind Your Biscuits and second behind X Y Jet in the last two runnings of the G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen at Meydan.

The ultra-speedy Shancelot won the first three starts of his career, including the G2 Amsterdam at Saratoga by over a dozen lengths while earning a 121 Beyer Speed Figure, the highest recorded this year. He tired in the final stages when against the bias going seven furlongs in the Jerkens as the 3-10 favorite when third and got nipped on the money by Dirt Mile favorite Omaha Beach in the G1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship just four weeks ago.

Second in this event last year, Whitmore turned in one of his better performances of the season when he fell a half-length short in the Phoenix. Earlier this year, he took the Hot Springs at Oaklawn before finishing second in the Count Fleet when he sat second the entire way behind Mitole.

If I’m Right…

Mitole is undoubtedly the horse to beat but I don’t think he is unbeatable like some do and I did just four months ago. An inside draw could really hurt his chances so keep an eye on which post he pulls.

Live Longshot

Firenze Fire is going to get a pace to run at and has had enough success at this distance to warrant a second look at 10-1 or so, especially in exotic wagers.

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