Six Salty Sailors Set for Santa Anita Sprint Championship 2014
Six Salty Sailors Set for Santa Anita Sprint Championship 2014: The Santa Anita Sprint Championship, formerly called the Ancient Title, takes place in balmy Santa Anita, California on Saturday, October 4, 2014 and is one of the Breeders’ Cup Championship series “Win and You’re In” for the Sprint to take place on November 1st at the “The Great Race Place”. This race is for 3 year-olds and up on the dirt going 6F for a purse of $300,000 and will round out the Santa Anita Breeders’ Cup prep races.
Last years GI Santa Anita Sprint Championship winner was the now deceased Points Offthebench who met up wtih Goldencents in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship. He made an impressive run and held on to win by half a length over Goldencents. After four consecutive wins, including two at Grade I level, Points Offthebench was considered a leading contender for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita last November. In a routine four furlong workout at the track on October 26, the gelding was approaching the sixteenth pole when he broke down. I was heartbroken. I miss that horse and he was one of my favorites for this race last year. RIP Points Offthebench.
The 2014 Santa Anita Sprint Championship is the 8th race on a card of 10 with a post time of 4:30 pm PST.
This is a small field but loaded with a few like Goldencents, last year’s Dirt Mile winner. We’ll see if Doug O’Neill is gonna gun it with Goldencents or let him get a nice work in before the Breeders’ Cup. Secret Circle, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner and Merit Man, who lost by a nose from winning the now-defunct Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Spring in 2012.
Note: My partner in crime and cappin buddy Sigi Mendoza is off on vacation so I’ll be flying solo. Yikes, not used to that lately! We will miss him this weekend.
My top pick for this race is Secret Circle. Gunning from the rail, and he is fast, I think he’ll get the jump on Goldencents. Secret Circle has not finished worse than second in his last ten races. Last out he was second in the (GII) Palos Verdes last February so he’s coming in off an 8 month layoff. However, trainer Bob Baffert seems pretty good at getting them back in great shape, plus he’s 28% at 90 plus days away. I think Secret Circle could be faster than Goldie at 6f and he recently worked 5f in a bullet 59 flat Sunday. He’s ready to kick some dirt in a few faces with Martin Garcia riding again.
Goldencents could use a nice workout before his Breeders’ Cup race. However, last out he did set that track record for 7f at Del Mar in the Pat O’Brien stakes at Del Mar on the fake stuff August 24th where he led thru the entire race. So, we’ll see how this new dirt at Santa Anita plays out for him. He appears to be the horse to beat and this will be a cut back for him. Looking at his past performances at 6f he has finished second in the last 3 so I think this may be a tad short for him. Goldencents breaks from post #3 with Bejarano in the saddle.
I’ll give mention to multi-surface Merit Man who does seem to be outclassed here. I liked him with Desormeaux up and he is trained by Bob Hess Jr. This jockey/trainer combo was virtually unbeatable at the recent Del Mar meet. With Desormeaux out from an injury sustained after getting kicked last weekend, Nakatani is up and we’ll see how he does. He won last on in the Green Flash going 5f on August 13th at Del Mar. He does have a win at Santa Anita at 6f a few years back. I think he could hit the board for at least third. He has a nice 5f work in 59.40 recently and exits post #4.
This race looks like a speed-fest Cali-style and I’m thinking Secret Circle gets his win and foot in the door for this year Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Can Goldencents get his first 6f win? Will he set the pace and take it up front or sit off Secret Circle and Ankeny Hill? Will Secret Circle gun it from the rail and bingo win it wire-to-wire? Who knows and we’ll find out Saturday. I’m going to play a $1 pick 3 starting race #6: 1,2,7/2,4,6,7/1 for $12.00. Good luck everyone and safe ride!
2014 Santa Anita Sprint Championship Post Positions & Odds
1. Secret Circle 7-5 M.Garcia/B.Baffert
2. Rich Tapestry 7-2 (IRE) O.Doleuze/C.Chang
3. Goldencents 8-5 R.Bejarano/D.O’Neill
4. Merit Man 8-1 C.Nakatani/R.Hess Jr.
5. Indexical 20-1 M.Gutierrez/B.Cecil
6. Ankeny Hill 8-1 T.Baze/M.Glatt