Turf Sprint spot perhaps a blessing in disguise for Obviously

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

October 26th, 2016

A few thoughts following the release of this year's Breeders' Cup pre-entries:

*The connections of Obviously perhaps weren't too pleased with the fact their veteran turf star was not among those selected to be in the Mile (G1), and he is so far down the list of "also eligibles" that it's hard to envision him getting into the field by draw day next Monday.

On the other hand, not making the field for a fifth consecutive Mile might prove to be a blessing in disguise. After running a solid third to Wise Dan in the 2012 Mile, Obviously has subsequently finished fifth, fifth, and ninth the past three years. "Fifth time's the charm" is a saying I'm not too familiar with.

Obviously did, however, make the cut for the Turf Sprint (G1). As I noted last week, Obviously has a solid record running down Santa Anita's hillside turf course, winning once and finishing second twice, including in the 2013 San Simeon (G3).

With so few course-and-distance specialists in the main body of the Turf Sprint field (far fewer than I expected when I wrote that piece), it might end up working to the advantage of this locally-based speedster

*As expected, Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1) winner Found was cross-entered in both the Turf (G1), which she won at Keeneland last year, and the Classic (G1), which is her first preference.

Connections have until Monday to make their choice, but I don't see them choosing to let her defend her title in the Turf, especially as they already have in the field Highland Reel, whose stud credentials they'd like to enhance with a victory.

As sporting as Found's presence in the Classic might be characterized, this particular renewal of the Classic is a veritable lion's den in which to be tossed in for your first appearance on dirt. I understand the low-risk, high-reward point of view Coolmore is taking here, but as a fan I do have an appreciation for sometimes just letting your horse do what it does best.

Especially, in Found's case, after winning a race as important as the Arc.

*Bigger fields are not always better. Two cases in point are the Distaff (G1), for obvious reasons, and the Sprint (G1).

I'm not including the latter just because the company I work for is sponsoring the race, but because the field of nine (tied for third smallest in race history) has every legitimate contender for division honors in it and without much filler.

There are plenty of solid wagering opportunities with big fields throughout the weekend. This is not to say the Sprint won't be an interesting betting affair, but if turns out in retrospect to have been better sport than money-making opportunity, that's more than acceptable.

For me, the Breeders' Cup is as much about the sport as one of the great betting days you can find anywhere.

(Joe Labozzetta/Adam Coglianese Photography)