The posted speed limits will be removed on Saturday at the Breeders’ Cup World Championships as the dirt sprinters take to the main track at Keeneland Race Course. Last year, it was a thrilling finish as trainer Wayne Catalano’s Aloha West cut to the outside and won the Breeders' Cup Sprint by a whisker at the finish line at Del Mar.
Who will take the top prize this year in the Qatar Breeders’ Cup Sprint? Here is a glance at the field …
Qatar Breeders’ Cup Sprint
1. Manny Wah (30-1 morning-line odds): A salty runner with 34 career starts, this 6-year-old by Will Take Charge wowed the crowd at Keeneland in the Grade 2 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes with a neck victory coming up the rail. One of a pair of Catalano entries that is sure to be a big price.
2. Kimari (4-1): Trainer Wesley Ward’s Munnings mare is going in the right direction after a pair of graded stakes wins in New York. Taking on the boys, her closing ability on the dirt is something to behold, as new rider in Jose Ortiz will try to replicate this past success with a perfectly timed ride. The class is undeniable here.
3. O Besos (20-1): The former Derby Trail runner is trying to get back to the winner’s circle in what will most assuredly be his toughest test for trainer Greg Foley. Fortunately, he will once again retain the services of Tyler Gaffalione, who just missed winning the Keeneland meet’s riding title. The colt by Orb will have to take it up a notch if he wants to win a race like this one.
4. American Theorem (10-1): The son of American Pharaoh punched his Breeders’ Cup ticket in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar in late July. He cruised to victory that afternoon with Joe Bravo aboard.
5. Aloha West (12-1): He’s back seeking a repeat victory, and once again he will have to prove that he belongs. Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, he was outclassed by Flightline in the Grade 1 Hill 'n' Dale Metropolitan Handicap on the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets undercard. It is going to take a monumental effort to repeat … but this is horse racing.
6. Elite Power (6-1): One of the hottest horses in this race, the son of Curlin comes to Keeneland with four wins in a row. The Grade 2 Vosburgh Stakes was against a short field but this colt was still impressive with a 5 ¾-length victory. Superstar jockey, Irad Ortiz Jr., has the call and the ability to take over a race.
7. Super Ocho (30-1): Here is a Chilean outsider that does have several stateside attempts to his credit. He is going to have to find much more though, especially considering the company he is keeping this time around.
8. C Z Rocket (20-1): A stalwart in the sprinting ranks for a number of years, the now 8-year-old gelding is looking to return to the glory days. He has 12 wins in his career, and earnings in excess of $1.6 million. If anyone can help get him to the winner’s circle it is Flavien Prat, who is known for making it happen from the irons when you least expect it.
9. Jackie’s Warrior (4-5): Owned by Kirk and Judy Robison, the equine highlight reel is taking to the track for the final time. A born sprinter, the son of Maclean’s Music has given Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen arguably his greatest speedster of all time. If he makes the lead, then it could be over. A special runner to be sure.
10. Willy Boi (30-1): When this gelding by Uncaptured runs in Florida, he can be unbeatable. Shipping to Kentucky, he will be up against the best field he has ever faced. Chantal Sutherland is a talented rider, but this might be too tough an ask, especially since her mount was a distant third last time out in the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga Race Course in late July.
11. Flash of Mischief (30-1): Based in Texas, Karl Broberg isn’t supposed to compete outside of the claiming ranks, but nothing could be further from the truth. He is an accomplished trainer and he has the opportunity to prove it at the highest level of racing. This colt by Into Mischief is a natural sprinter, and he could be a sleeper drawn from the outside.
THE PICK: Jackie’s Warrior
LIVE LONGSHOT: Flash of Mischief