By Jarrod Horak
The Breeders’ Cup Sprint is one of the original seven BC races, and Eillo was the initial winner at Hollywood Park in 1984. The 2023 renewal will be held at Santa Anita Park on Saturday, Nov. 4, and they will be dashing six furlongs on the main track.
Recent Breeders’ Cup Sprint Results
Elite Power followed up a win in the Grade 2 Vosburgh in New York (Belmont at Aqueduct) with a rallying victory from post 6 at 5-1 odds in the 2022 BC Sprint at Keeneland. He is expected to ship to Santa Anita Park in 2023 for a repeat attempt.
Aloha West rallied from post 5 to nip my top choice Dr. Schivel in 2021 at Del Mar and he was exiting a place finish in the Phoenix (G2) at Keeneland.
In the 2020 renewal at Keeneland, Whitmore rallied from post 7 to win at 18-1 and was exiting a 4th in the Phoenix (G2). Mitole was the 2019 winner and he prepped for the BC with a win in the Grade 1 Forego at Saratoga.
Roy H went back-to-back in 2017-18 (post 8, post 9) and was exiting victories in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1) both times. Drefong won this event from post 2 in 2016 at Santa Anita and was exiting a victory in the King’s Bishop (G1) at Saratoga.
Runhappy took the 2015 edition at Keeneland from post 5 and that followed a win in the Phoenix (G3) at that same venue.
The Santa Anita Years
The Breeders’ Cup Sprint has been held at Santa Anita Park ten times. Three of the winners last raced at Santa Anita, and the 2016 and 2019 winners last raced at Saratoga. Five of the winners showed early speed and four were stalkers. Cardmania rallied from off the pace in 1993. Bob Baffert saddled three winners.
The chart below shows all 10 winners of the BC Sprint at Santa Anita, and it includes winning riders, trainers, post positions, running styles, win payoffs, and final preps.
Jockeys to Watch
Kent Desormeaux sports a pair of Breeders’ Cup Sprint victories (Desert Stormer, Roy H).
Martin Garcia rode Secret Circle to victory in 2013, and he scored aboard Drefong in 2016. Both were Bob Baffert trainees.
Irad Ortiz Jr. booted home the winner of this race in two of the last three years (Whitmore, Elite Power).
Mike Smith guided home Cherokee Run in 1994 and Amazombie in 2011.
Trainers to Watch
Bob Baffert has won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint five times overall including a trio of victories at Santa Anita.
Roy H captured this event in 2017 and 2018 for Peter Miller.
BC Sprint Trends
One long-term angle is to avoid runners from inner posts especially the rail. This race is all about speed and early-pressing types usually have to use up too much energy if they break from the inside. Jackie’s Warrior flopped from post 2 as the 1-2 favorite in 2021.
Based on recent history, watch out for horses exiting prep races at Keeneland, Santa Anita, and Saratoga. Nine of the last ten BC Sprint winners had their final prep races at one of those three venues. The Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland shows the way with four winners (Work All Week, Runhappy, Whitmore, Aloha West).
Check out these other Breeders’ Cup Saturday 2023 articles: