Lady Shipman stars in split Eddie D.

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

September 27th, 2016

As host of the Breeders' Cup in five weeks time, Santa Anita's major preps figure to take on added significance this year. Potentially one of the more important ones is the $100,000 Eddie D. (G3), a course-and-distance tune-up for the Turf Sprint (G1). Friday's opening day feature of the fall meet proved so popular it will be run in two divisions.

From the Turf Sprint's inaugural in 2008 through 2013, the race was the domain of horses for the courses. In the renewals at Santa Anita, that list included Desert Code (2008), California Flag (2009), and Mizdirection (2012-13).

That changed in 2013 when Bobby's Kitten flew home late to score in the Turf Sprint, although the three-year-old had a run strong third going longer in the Juvenile Turf (G1) the previous fall. Nonetheless, it can only be beneficial to get a feel for Santa Anita's unique hillside course, which along with the turf oval was redone over the summer.

Lady Shipman, last year's Turf Sprint runner-up at Keeneland, is getting in a practice session in Friday's first division. The filly, coming off back-to-back wins in the Royal North (G3) at Woodbine and the Turf Amazon at Parx, drew the rail post against a maximum of 10 opponents.

While the lady has the class, rivals like Hunt, Ambitious Brew, and Richard's Boy have had prior stakes success on this course. Hunt, in particular, capped a three-race, course-and-distance win streak with an odds-on score in the $75,000 Siren Lure in June. Only sixth to Why Two in the shorter five furlongs of the Green Flash H. at Del Mar last out, he has a strong chance to bounce back here.

The second division also has 11 in the main body and two also-eligibles. After two modest showings out east, Guns Loaded will be on more favorable ground here after taking the San Simeon (G3) and Joe Hernandez last winter. Toowindytohaulrox, hero of the Daytona (G3) last December and second in the aforementioned Siren Lure, is another capable of bouncing back after a recent unsuccessful venture out of state.

Holy Lute and also-eligible Jimmy Bouncer, one-two in a recent Del Mar allowance, figure with their best. Ohio, a two-time winner over a mile during the summer, was a capable sprinter in South America and also merits a look.

A bit of femininity is infused in this division, too, by the presence of So Sweetitiz, who takes on the boys for the first time after back-to-back scores in the Mizadirection and Daisycutter H.

Jim McCue/MJC photo