2018 Breeders Cup Sprint
Top sprint contenders XY Jet (+800) and Promises Fulfilled (+800) are both extremely quick from the starting gate and have shown almost no desire or ability to harness their early speed. If both go in the Sprint as expected (Promises Fulfilled is also being considered for the Dirt Mile), then things should get really interesting.
Odds and thoughts
Speed duels are nothing new to racing, but it's very easy to project one of epic proportions in the 2018 BC Sprint. Thus, conventional handicapping wisdom says a horse able to employ off-the-pace or closing tactics should have the advantage. More on that in a moment, but let's meet the contenders according to their current odds on the futures line at Bovada and Bodog:
- Imeprial Hint +200
- Roy H +350
- Mind Your Biscuits +900
- Promises Fulfilled +800
- XY Jet +800
- Whitmore +1200
- Ransom the Moon +1200
- Mitole +1200
- Takaful +2500
If I seem dismissive of either of the two speedsters, I'll concede that many things can happen in a horse race. In many instances,, projection of such an early duel can prove foolish. One horse can stumble out of the gate. A jockey may get a clever idea and try something new.
While these things can and do happen, I think they are secondary factors in this year's sprint because the horse to beat is clearly Imperial Hint (+250). While I'm a staunch proponent of playing against the favorite in any type of future wager, Imperial Hint is the real deal. His preferred style of sitting just off the pace and unleashing the fury should play quite well behind the dueling pair of Promises Fulfilled and XY Jet.
The horse to beat, however, isn't always the horse to bet. Imperial Hint lost his only try at Churchill Downs, but that race was at 7 furlongs - an eighth of a mile further than his preferred distance. Still, a fast-closing horse like Whitmore (+1200) could prove to be the best value in this field.
I respect many of the runners in this field, but I think the race comes down to Imperial Hint attempting to hold off Whitmore in the Churchill Downs stretch. I give 2017 BC Sprint winner Roy H an outside look, but I think his best races are behind him.
Whitmore would have also been my pick in the BC Dirt Mile, but given recent comments by his trainer Ron Moquett, it seems like Whitmore is about 95% likely to run in the Sprint.
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