Shaft of Light Brings Top Form, Upset Potential to Belmont Sprint Championship

Shaft of Light Llega en Gran Forma, y es Potencial Lance en el Belmont Sprint Championship

Gambling
Eclipse Sportswire

The 11th running of the Grade 2, $350,000 Belmont Sprint Championship Stakes brings together a field of six on Saturday at Belmont Park, with the winner earning a starting spot in the $2 million TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Sprint this fall. The field has some accomplished runners including millionaires Limousine Liberal, winner of the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes in May, and Whitmore, who missed by a neck in the Grade 2 True North Stakes at Belmont last month. Then there is the consistent Eye Luv Lulu, with 20 first- or second-place finishes in 44 races, as well as the very speedy Shaft of Light, most recently second in the Grade 3 Salvatore Mile Stakes. Favorable Outcome won the Grade 2 Swale Stakes in 2017 but is winless in three races this year. Lewisfield has never finished worse than third in nine career starts and is going for his first graded stakes win.

Limousine Liberal
Limousine Liberal (Eclipse Sportswire)

Shaft of Light has won 10 of 23 races on dirt. The seven-furlong distance of the Belmont Sprint Championship is his forte as he sports a 6-for-10 record at that distance, and all 10 wins were earned when leading from start to finish. As a 7-year-old one would not expect the best races of his career to have come lately but that is exactly the case. Three races back at this distance, Shaft of Light earned a then-career-best 119 Equibase Speed Figure before bettering it by one point to 120 winning the Russell Road Stakes in April. Stretching his speed a bit further for the Salvatore Mile Stakes in May, Shaft of Light led from the start and almost held that lead to the end when beaten a half-length. With three exceptional five-furlong workouts since that race and cutting back to his best distance, Shaft of Light could break out to an early lead and never look back.

Limousine Liberal, who has earned $1.45 million in his career, is also very fond of running seven furlongs as he won the Churchill Downs Stakes in 2017 and 2018 at the distance. In this year's win, Limousine Liberal earned a 116 speed figure which was the third-best of his career, the best being a 120 figure when beaten a nose in the Phoenix Stakes in the fall of 2016 and an effort good enough to be competitive with Shaft of Light if that one runs as expected. Jockey Jose Ortiz, who is currently second in North America in 2018 earnings ($12.1 million), rode Limousine Liberal to victory in both the 2017 and 2018 Churchill Downs Stakes and gets back aboard after a one-race absence, adding more reasons to expect a top effort good enough to win the Belmont Sprint Championship Stakes.

Whitmore has earned $1.6 million while winning 10 of 20 races. Although Whitmore has only attempted to run this seven-furlong distance once, finishing fourth behind Limousine Liberal in this year's Churchill Downs Stakes, he has run well at 6 ½ furlongs, most recently when beaten a neck in the True North Stakes at Belmont. With a running style that usually sees him toward the back of the pack in the early stages, Whitmore would be the best beneficiary if Shaft of Light is tackled early by another horse and in that case he has the potential to pass the field for his 11th career win.

The rest of the Belmont Sprint Championship Stakes field, with their best Equibase speed figures is Eye Luv Lulu (107), Favorable Outcome (114) and Lewisfield (114).

Win contenders:
Shaft of Light
Limousine Liberal
Whitmore

2018 Belmont Sprint Championship S.
July 7th, 2018

Winning Time: 1:21.53
  • Purse: $350,000
  • Distance: 7 Furlongs
  • Age: 3 yo's & up
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Winning Time: 1:21.53
Results
Win
Place
Show
1st
1 Limousine Liberal
$5.70
$2.80
$2.30
2nd
2 Whitmore
$2.90
$2.50
3rd
3 Eye Luv Lulu
$3.50
4th
5 Lewisfield
5th
6 Favorable Outcome
6th
4 Shaft of Light
Payoff
Pick 3
9-7-1
9-7-1
$62
Daily Double
7-1
7-1
$16
Exacta
1-2
1-2
$7
Superfecta
1-2-3-5
1-2-3-5
$15
Trifecta
1-2-3
1-2-3
$15
Race Replay
Play
Payoff
Pick 3
9-7-1
9-7-1
$62
Daily Double
7-1
7-1
$16
Exacta
1-2
1-2
$7
Superfecta
1-2-3-5
1-2-3-5
$15
Trifecta
1-2-3
1-2-3
$15

La edición 11ma del Grado 2, $350,000 Belmont Sprint Championship Stakes reúne a un grupo de seis ejemplares este sábado en Belmont Park, premiando al ganador con un lugar este otoño en  el partidor del clásico TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Sprint con $ 2 millones de bolsa. El grupo tiene algunos participantes destacados incluidos los millonarios Limousine Liberal, ganador del Grado 2 Churchill Downs Stakes en Mayo, y Whitmore, quien perdió por pescuezo en el Grado 2 True North Stakes en Belmont el mes pasado. Después está el consistente Eye Luv Lulu, con 20 primeros o segundos puestos en 44 carreras, así como el ligerísimo Shaft of Light, que acaba de llegar segundo en el Grado 3 Salvatore Mile Stakes. Favorable Outcome ganó el Grado 2 Swale Stakes en 2017 pero no ha podido ganar en tres carreras este año. Lewisfield  nunca ha llegado peor que tercero en nueve salidas y está buscando su primer triunfo clásico de grado.

Shaft of Light ha ganado 10 de 23 carreras en arena. La distancia de siete furlones del Belmont Sprint Championship es su fuerte ya que exhibe un récord de 6-de-10 sobre la distancia, y todos sus triunfos fueron obtenidos cuando lideró el grupo de partir a llegar. Como siete añero uno no esperaría que las mejores carreras de su campaña ocurran tardíamente, pero es justamente el caso. Tres carreras atrás sobre esta distancia, Shaft of Light consiguió un 119, por entonces la mejor Figura Equibase de Velocidad de su campaña, antes de mejorar ésta por un punto para ganar con una de 120 el Russell Road Stakes en Abril. Llevando un poquito más arriba su velocidad para el Salvatore Mile Stakes en Mayo, Shaft of Light lideró desde la partida y casi sostiene esa punta hasta el final siendo derrotado por medio cuerpo. Con tres excepcionales ejercicios de cinco furlones desde esa carrera y recortado a su mejor distancia, Shaft of Light podría picar presto a la punta y no dejarla nunca más sin mirar atrás.

Limousine Liberal
Limousine Liberal (Eclipse Sportswire)

Limousine Liberal, quien ha acumulado $1.45 millones en su campaña, es también muy sólido corriendo siete furlones ya que él ha ganado el Churchill Downs Stakes en 2017 y 2018 sobre la distancia. En el triunfo de este año, Limousine Liberal obtuvo una figura de velocidad de 116 la cual fue la tercera mejor en su campaña, siendo la mejor una figura de 120 cuando perdió por nariz en el Phoenix Stakes en el otoño de 2016 y un rendimiento suficientemente bueno para ser competitivo con Shaft of Light si es que aquel corre como es esperado. El jinete Jose Ortiz, quien está actualmente segundo en Norte América en 2018 por sumas ganadas ($12.1 millones), llevó a la victoria a Limousine Liberal tanto en el 2017 como en el 2018 Churchill Downs Stakes y vuelve a conducirlo luego de una carrera de ausencia, añadiendo más razones para esperar el mejor de sus rendimientos y que con ello le alcance para ganar el  Belmont Sprint Championship Stakes.

Whitmore lleva ganados $1.6 millones en su campaña habiendo vencido en 10 de 20 carreras. Aunque Whitmore sólo ha corrido siete furlones una vez en su campaña, llegando cuarto detrás de Limousine Liberal en el Churchill Downs Stakes de este año, él ha corrido bien sobre 6 ½ furlones, siendo lo más reciente cuando perdió a pescuezo en el True North Stakes de Belmont. Con un estilo de correr que generalmente lo ubica en el fondo del grupo en los tramos iniciales, Whitmore sería el gran beneficiado si es que Shaft of Light es acosado inicialmente por otro rival y en ese caso él tiene el potencial de ir dejando atrás el lote para el triunfo 11mo de su campaña.

El resto del grupo del Belmont Sprint Championship Stakes, con su mejor Figura Equibase de Velocidad lo componen Eye Luv Lulu (107), Favorable Outcome (114) y Lewisfield (114).

Candidatos al triunfo:

Shaft of Light

Limousine Liberal

Whitmore

2018 Belmont Sprint Championship S.
July 7th, 2018

Winning Time: 1:21.53
  • Purse: $350,000
  • Distance: 7 Furlongs
  • Age: 3 yo's & up
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Winning Time: 1:21.53
Results
Win
Place
Show
1st
1 Limousine Liberal
$5.70
$2.80
$2.30
2nd
2 Whitmore
$2.90
$2.50
3rd
3 Eye Luv Lulu
$3.50
4th
5 Lewisfield
5th
6 Favorable Outcome
6th
4 Shaft of Light
Payoff
Pick 3
9-7-1
9-7-1
$62
Daily Double
7-1
7-1
$16
Exacta
1-2
1-2
$7
Superfecta
1-2-3-5
1-2-3-5
$15
Trifecta
1-2-3
1-2-3
$15
Race Replay
Play
Payoff
Pick 3
9-7-1
9-7-1
$62
Daily Double
7-1
7-1
$16
Exacta
1-2
1-2
$7
Superfecta
1-2-3-5
1-2-3-5
$15
Trifecta
1-2-3
1-2-3
$15

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