LAST YEAR'S WINNER - DREFONG
- Trainer: Bob Baffert
- Jockey: Martin Garcia
- Owner: Baoma Corporation (Drefong)
- Odds: 7/2
- Betting Stats
- Favourites: 1/8 (12.5%) | Level stake loss -56.3%
- Odds on Favs: 0/0 (0.0%)
- Median winning price: 15.2/1
For me this is the archetypal Breeders’ Cup race, particularly when it is held in California, where raw speed is at such a premium.
How has the favourite fared?
In what is usually a very competitive division, it is little surprise that just one favourite has succeeded in California in the last two decades - Secret Circle at 5/2 in 2013 and only two others manged to reach he frame. Although a couple of other winners were in the first three in the betting, overall this has been a bit of a pin-stickers race.
Run record and class clues
Six of the winners of this won their most immediate prep race and one of the others had finished runner up. Half of the winners blazed early speed with only one of them (Elmhurst in 1997) coming from way back.
One of the vagaries of the graded race system in US is that there are only four G1 sprints at six furlongs in the run up to the Breeders Cup compared with ten at seven panels! This is probably why only two of the winners of this division arrived with a G1 success already on their race record.
Unsurprisingly, as a former Quarter Horse trainer, Bob Baffert has trained three winners of the Sprint in the last two decades at his home track but the five other trainers who saw one success each here were not household names.
Half of the winners were on or within a length of the lead at the first call (after two furlongs) where the first split is taken. The leader there has only once stopped the clock in a time slower than 21½ seconds for the first quarter of a mile showing just how quick they go early in this contest.
A couple of the winners have been deep closers but the preference is for early pace or stalkers in this division.
Although, in general terms, older runners in the Sprint have thrived, three-year-olds have a good record in California taking three in the last twenty years.
Again, in this division, winners have emerged from across the gate with five of them breaking from the outer post positions.
- Upgrade contenders with a win last time out.
- They take no prisoners early so look for fast starters.
- Local trainers have an advantage and not just Bob Baffert.
- Prefer runners coming in off local preps.
- This is not a great division for favourites.
- The draw has had little impact.