TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint Preview

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

October 30th, 2015

Undoubtedly one of the best betting races of the entire weekend, the TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1) is also a difficult handicapping exercise. In its short history the race has generally favored course-and-distance specialists. However, many of those in this field enter with suspect current form or class concerns. Perhaps of more importance in this renewal will be the ability to handle softish ground and show a strong closing kick after a long stretch of rain pelted the course earlier in the week.

1: READY FOR RYE (10-1), a Grade 2 winner on dirt early in the year, adapted to the grass quite well over the summer, beating older horses in a seven-furlong Belmont allowance and then taking the $100,000 Quick Call at Saratoga against fellow three-year-olds. In the latter, he stalked a lightning pace of :20 4/5 and :43 3/5 before drawing off to a 1 1/2-length score. Most recently an easy victor of an off-the-turf overnight stakes at Belmont, he figures to get trip similar to the one he had in the Quick Call. The pace won't be nearly as hot given the prevailing conditions, but there are a lot of speed types here and the testing ground should benefit a horse that can demonstrate a stalk-and-pounce style. Post 12 is a bit of a hurdle, but this ultra-consistent (9-5-2-2) gelding still has plenty of upside.

2: UNDRAFTED (4-1) missed by a half-length in this race last year at Santa Anita, and in June posted a 14-1 upset of the Diamond Jubilee (G1) at Royal Ascot against some of the world's best grass sprinters. Despite possessing a huge class advantage over most of this field, it's hard to ignore the fact he generally needs at least six furlongs to show his best. Minor checks in the TwinSpires Turf Sprint (G3) and Shakertown (G3) the past two seasons suggest the finish line will come up a tad too soon for him. He's an underlay in this spot.

3: LADY SHIPMAN (5-2) suffered only the third defeat of her 11-race career three weeks ago when headed late in the $100,000 Franklin County over this course and distance. That was restricted to fillies and mares, though, and this will mark her first attempt against males. The speedball has shown talent for setting or pressing blazing fractions while keeping plenty in reserve, which should give backers hope she can come out better than some of the other likely front-runners. Ultimately, the abundance of pace and course conditions figure to slow her down late, but perhaps not enough to keep her out of the lower rungs of the exotics.

Longshot: GREEN MASK (15-1), like his world-traveling stablemate Undrafted, ran a corker on the world stage earlier this term when third by a length in the Al Quoz Sprint (G1) on the Dubai World Cup undercard at Meydan. Although he weakened late to fourth in the $180,000 Kentucky Downs Turf Dash in mid-September, he likely needed the race coming off a 5 1/2-month layoff. He's posted four swift works in the interim and the race flow appears to be in his favor, but he'll still need a career best to pull off the upset.

(Ready for Rye photo: NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography)