This year’s renewal of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint promises to be a cracker, but it is the Ronald Ellis trained Masochistic (9/2) who gets the vote. The six-year-old Sought After gelding has been gifted the dream draw, coming out of Stall 7. Another massive positive is that Mike Smith is booked to ride the horse; the Breeders’ Cup all time leading jockey with 22 victories and a staggering $28,900,000 in prize money. There may only be nine runners going to post, but it is one of the most competitive races of the Championships. Masochistic has won eight of his 13 starts to date and he absolutely loves Santa Anita; course form is always a big advantage. He is four wins from five at the track and he has a big chance to make that five from six on Saturday.
1 MIND YOUR BISCUITS – Grade 2 winner at Belmont Park, but the Robert Falcone trained three-year-old was no match for Drefong in the Grade 1 King’s Bishop Stakes at Saratoga in August, finishing over four lengths back in fifth place. Needs to improve massively if he is to take a hand here.
2 DREFONG – Bob Baffert trained three-year-old colt who has won four of his five starts to date, his only defeat coming on debut. He is two wins from two at Santa Anita, so clearly enjoys the track, albeit both wins were in claimers. He hacked up in the hands of Mike Smith to land the Grade 1 King’s Bishop Stakes last time out but, interestingly, Mike rides Masochistic here.
3 DELTA BLUESMAN – Exposed six-year-old trained by Jorge Navarro who has had a lot of racing this year, running nine times in 2016 already. Four of those resulted in wins, including a Grade 2 victory at Gulfstream Park. Entitled to take his chance, but he is up against better, fresher horses here and the win looks unlikely.
4 JOKING – Lightly raced for a seven-year-old, but this Charlton Baker trained horse is now seeking his fifth straight win. He won Listed and Grade 2 races at Belmont Park before going on to land the Grade 1 Vosburgh Stakes at the same venue last time out. He seems to be improving all the time, so he could be one of the dark outsiders.
5 A. P. INDIAN – Stunning six-year-old by Indian Charlie trained by Arnaud Delacour. He has now won nine of his last 12 races and is seeking his sixth victory in a row. He was a winner of the Grade 1 Alfred G Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga in July and he has landed further Grade 1 and 2’s since. He has a very strong turn of foot and doesn’t mind a battle. Looks the chief danger to our selection.
6 LORD NELSON – Another potential star trained by Bob Baffert who has a strong hand in the race. This four-year-old is unbeaten from four starts in 2016. Three of those four victories have come here at Santa Anita, including the Grade 1 Triple Bend Stakes and Grade 1 Sprint Championship Stakes. He has now landed three top races in a row and looks sure to be involved in the finish.
7 MASOCHISTIC – Every trainer looks for Mike Smith at the Breeders’ Cup – his record is out of this world. It has to be interesting that he gets the leg up on this six-year-old who is four wins from five at Santa Anita. He was an easy winner of a Grade 2 at Del Mar last time out and has been gifted the ideal draw in 7. He was last of the 14 runners in this race behind Runhappy last year, but nothing went for him that day. Massive player and will enjoy a smaller field.
8 NOHOLDINGBACK BEAR – Three-year-old trained by Michael De Paulo who has had a productive year to date. He was four lengths behind Drefong in the King’s Bishop Stakes, so has plenty of work on to reverse that form. However, he won the Gallant Bob Stakes nicely when last seen and is entitled to take his chance. Small place claims.
9 LIMOUSINE LIBERAL – Last victory came back in April in a Keeneland claimer, so he has to greatly improve to get involved and has now gone five starts without victory. Well behind A. P. Indian when they met at Saratoga in August, but improved massively only to go down by a nose to the same rival last time out. If he can reproduce that run, he would be a player.