The first Breeders' Cup race on Friday is the $500,000 Juvenile Sprint, which is a six furlong race that usually feels like it's over in 30 seconds. If past performances hold up, this race appears to be a two-horse race between Beholder and Merit Man.
I will use Merit Man on top because this two-year-old colt has been solid in both career starts, and has a win at six furlongs over the main track at Santa Anita. I don't necessarily like the slow work on October 19, but none of the workouts for this horse ever look overwhelming.
Beholder is trained by Richard Mandella and was spectacular last time out, winning by 11 lengths over the main track at Santa Anita in 1:09 flat. It won't shock me one bit if this horse goes wire to wire. My biggest concern is that she doesn't break well and has to come from off the pace.
To fill out my trifecta wagering, I'm going to use two horses that I like but I don't think can win the race.
Super Ninety Nine a very inexperienced horse trained by Bob Baffert, with just one career start, which he won. I like this horse and think the odds could be very fair—about 5-1—but he's going to have to really improve in order to beat Merit Man and Beholder.
Sweet Shirley Mae could be flying late, but might need more distance. In her last race, Kent Desormeaux had her flying late but at seven furlongs, so I'm not sure six furlongs is the right distance for her. I'm going to use her in my trifecta and superfecta wagering off her two awesome workouts for this race.
Merit Man will probably have to stalk the pace setting Beholder and pass her in the deep stretch to win this race. Kauai Katie could be Merit Man's best weapon tomorrow—she might be pressing her early and force her into blazing fractions.
Beholder holds on by half a length over Merit Man with Super Ninety Nine in 1:08.94.
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