TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Sprint Preview
1: RUNHAPPY (3-1) has been nothing short of remarkable since joining the barn of Maria Borell earlier this year. In his last three races he's broken a track record at Ellis Park, romped in the King's Bishop (G1) after breaking from post 11, and easily defeated reigning sprint champion Work All Week in the Phoenix (G3) despite breaking last, rushing back into contention and having the saddle slip underneath Edgar Prado. His local works have been mind-boggling -- five furlongs from the gate in :57 4/5, six furlongs in 1:09 4/5. The main drawback has always been his tardy breaks. They haven't prevented him from reaching the winner's circle in five of six career starts, but it's always a cloud threatening to open up. Posts 1 through 5 have been the best places to break from in Sprints past (18 for 31), thus the three-year-old Super Saver colt drew well in post 5. Anything close to his best should win this.
2: PRIVATE ZONE (5-2) is a former two-time winner of the Vosburgh (G1), but his very best races have come either at seven furlongs or a mile. He's run 10th and third in the past two editions of this race. Santa Anita simply might not have been his track, but then again he didn't have enough of a closing kick to improve his position last year chasing splits of :21 and :43 1/5, gift fractions most anywhere. Although he generally runs well fresh, post 13 is far from ideal. No horse has ever won this race from such a wide draw. His raw talent figures to get him another prominent placing, but the post and the presence of Runhappy might be too much to overcome.
2: LIMOUSINE LIBERAL (15-1), like Runhappy, is a three-year-old who scorched his way to an allowance score at Ellis Park this summer (1:07 4/5 for six furlongs). The two met in the King's Bishop, with Runhappy proving four lengths best while this one surprised by finishing second at nearly 16-1. Perhaps bouncing a bit when second as an odds-on choice in the Gallant Bob (G3) to next-out winner Trouble Kid, he has since returned to his Keeneland home base and lit up the morning worktab for trainer Ben Colebrook. The most lightly-raced entry in the field with just four starts since June 21, he has tremendous upside and figures to be prominently placed throughout with a clean beginning.
Longshot: KOBE'S BACK (15-1) has left a load of money on the track during his career due to his slow-starting tendencies. He has just three wins and has hit the board in slightly more than half of his 15 starts, but has managed to make things interesting on occasion when the fractions have been blistering hot. Six furlongs seems a tad short for him, but he made a nice rally to win the Commonwealth (G3) over this track in April going seven furlongs. That's a fondness for the track few of his rivals can match.
(Runhappy photo: Keeneland/Coady Photography)