Breeders’ Cup Sprint Odds & Early Prediction

All good things must come to an end, and the big show at Santa Anita reaches its conclusion with fireworks in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint. This is a proper barnburner, with last year’s champion Elite Power taking on his old nemesis Gunite again and three blisteringly fast Californians – Speed Boat Beach, Dr Schivel and The Chosen Vron – ensuring that whoever ends the weekend on a high will really have had to work for it.

Breeders Cup Odds

Breeders’ Cup Sprint

G1, $2m, 6f dirt, 3yo+, Santa Anita, Saturday 5pm PT

For the first time ever, owing to broadcast requirements, the BC Sprint closes out the Breeders’ Cup weekend, and the way this speedfest stacks up it will be well worth the wait.

Bill Mott has one superstar bidding to go back-to-back at the Cup in Saturday’s opening race – Cody’s Wish in the Dirt Mile – and has another here with Elite Power (9-5), who is the morning-line choice now but upset the odds-on Jackie’s Warrior 12 months ago when coming home strongly at Keeneland.

That was victory number five in a streak he stretched to eight before coughing it up in the 2023 G1 Forego at Saratoga over seven furlongs, the latest instalment in his ongoing strife with the hard case Gunite (4-1), which has lit up the sprint scene this year.

In the 2023 G3 Riyadh Dirt Sprint over six furlongs Elite Power rolled Gunite by three and a quarter lengths; in the 2023 G1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt at Saratoga over six furlongs the pair fought out a magnificent stretch duel before Elite Power prevailed by a head; in the Forego, Gunite took his revenge by a length and three-quarters, benefiting hugely from the extra yardage as Elite Power could not go with him. What a difference 220 yards can make.

However, the six-furlong distance today tips the balance firmly back towards Elite Power, who is a pure speedball while Gunite is better over seven furlongs – and failed to get home when tried over further in both the 2022 G1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and a stakes at Parx last time.

It will need a lifetime best from the mighty, indomitable Gunite to get past Elite Power over six furlongs, and although never say never, the cards are stacked against him.

This is by no means a two-horse race, though, and Dr Schivel (5-1) will be a tough nut to crack considering that he is four-for-four over course and distance including two G1 victories. He was beaten by the length of a well-smoked cigarette when caught right on the line in the 2021 G1 BC Sprint at Del Mar, and later had more than a year on the bench – but he is back now.

He showed all his old brilliance in the 2023 G2 Santa Anita Sprint Championship last time, digging in hard close home to turn back Speed Boat Beach (3-1) and get the money by a head, with the longshot American Theorem (30-1) never raising a glove in fifth, beaten six and a half lengths.

That was also a remarkable effort from the three-year-old Speed Boat Beach, who was coming off a ten-month layoff and stepped up fresh as paint to run the race of his life, and just the fifth race of his life.

It was a return to the main track for the first time since his debut, and there is no question that he will move forward a long way with the rust rubbed off. His trainer Bob Baffert has won the Sprint a record five times – although not since 2016 – and Speed Boat Beach is a big threat to the established names.

American Theorem, on the other hand, was eighth in this race 12 months ago and has missed the board in all three starts in 2023. He is hard to like.

Vron just goes on and on

Dr Schivel excels at Santa Anita but he is not in the same horses-for-courses league as the phenomenal The Chosen Vron (5-1), who has built a career characterised by remarkable numbers.

The five-year-old has a 13-for-17 lifetime count, has only missed the board once, and is a mindblowing nine-for-ten at Santa Anita on the main track and the lawn at distances between six furlongs and a mile-sixteenth. He is perfect in five starts in 2023, the first four of them in lesser-quality state-bred stakes around this circuit, and he put all concerns about whether he could cut it at a higher level to bed at Del Mar last time.

He stepped right up in the six-furlong 2023 G1 Bing Crosby, leaving it all out on the field when nailing his top-level breakthrough by a head, with Dr Schivel another head back in third, American Theorem sixth and Hoist The Gold (12-1) making no show at all in eighth, beaten about four and a half lengths.

The Chosen Vron is fresh from a three-month layoff and the subsequent G2 course-and-distance score of Dr Schivel made that performance look even better.

Hoist The Gold also did his bit for the relevance of the form when making his stakes breakthrough last time out, chasing the pace and driving on to land the 2023 G2 Phoenix at Keeneland over six furlongs, turning back the late rally of Nakatomi (15-1) to get the job done by three-quarters of a length in a good time.

Nakatomi comes out of the speedball academy of Wesley Ward and was favoured on that occasion after dominating the opposition in a seven-furlong allowance at Saratoga. He has yet to make a breakthrough at Graded level after eight attempts, and it seems unlikely that he will suddenly get the mojo working in this white-hot contest.

Three Technique (20-1) has shown decent form over longer distances, notably when making it pay in style in the 2023 G2 John A. Nerud at Belmont Park over seven furlongs – but there is the problem. Like Gunite, but without the class and the huge heart, Three Technique will not appreciate the cutback and is likely to find everything happening too quickly for him.

Breeders’ Cup Sprint Early Prediction

It is impossible to question the credentials of Elite Power, but it is tough to stay at the top and THE CHOSEN VRON, who is almost unbeatable at this track and made his G1 breakthrough last time, looks capable of upsetting the chalk.

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