Warrendale Graduates Manny Wah and Hog Creek Hustle Square off in the $2 Million Breeder's Cup Sprint
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When the Breeders' Cup first visited Keeneland five years ago it was sophomore Runhappy who lit up the World Championships with a hair-on-fire stretch run in the Sprint (G1). For this year's $2 million Sprint, will it be the 3-year-old Yaupon who streaks to the line, or will it be one of the many older horses with more expertise? There are plenty who fit that profile.

It only seems as if Whitmore faced Runhappy in 2015, but he was only 2 at the time. The venerable gelding will be making his fourth start in the six-furlong Sprint. Always game, the son of Pleasantly Perfect was third in last year's Sprint behind champion Mitole and Shancelot. Trainer Ron Moquett has the old boy as sharp as he can be based on a snappy :46 4/5 half-mile Oct. 25 at Churchill Downs.

Experience also plays into the hands of Firenze Fire, who makes his 30th career start in the Sprint. Fifth a year ago, he was a 2 3/4-length winner of Belmont Park's Vosburgh Invitational Stakes (G2) Sept. 26 while under the care of Kelly Breen, who took over the horse's training earlier this year.

"He was a nice horse when I got him and he's continued to be a nice horse," said Breen. "He looks like a nice horse, trains like a nice horse, and he runs like a nice horse.

"You don't get into the Breeders' Cup without having a quality horse. Anybody can win it and I'm glad to have an opportunity."The wildest of wild cards in the race is the George Weaver-trained Vekoma, who was perhaps the best horse in training earlier this year with back-to-back wins in the June 6 Runhappy Carter Handicap (G1) at seven panels and the July 4 Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap (G1). However, the 4-year-old son of Candy Ride has not started since but has been firing bullets in works at Saratoga Race Course.

Diamond Oops showed he's just as good on dirt as turf last time out, taking Keeneland's Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes (G2), the route also taken by Runhappy. A non-factor in last year's Big Ass Fans Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1), he appears razor sharp for this.

But a pair of 3-year-olds may trump experience. Yaupon has dazzled in his four starts and the dark bay Uncle Mo colt was impressive Oct. 1 at Pimlico Race Course, waltzing to a four-length score in the Chick Lang Stakes (G3).

His speed may be matched the 3-year-old filly Frank's Rockette, a 7 1/4-length winner of the Gallant Bloom Handicap (G2) Oct. 3 at Belmont Park. By leading sire Into Mischief, she's a homebred for Frank Fletcher Racing Operations and has won three successive graded sprint stakes in New York. Of note is she'll be facing C Z Rocket, who was raced by Fletcher before being claimed in late April. The 6-year-old City Zip gelding has climbed the ladder in Southern California with trainer Peter Miller, winning the Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes (G2) in late September. Miller has won the Sprint twice with Roy H in 2017-18, as well as the Turf Sprint (G1) from 2017-19.


Keeneland, Saturday, November 07, 2020, Race 8

  • Grade I
  • 6f
  • Dirt 
  • $2,000,000
  • 3 yo's & up
  • 2:36 PM (local)
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 Echo Town (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Ricardo Santana, Jr. 124 Steven M. Asmussen 20/1
2 C Z Rocket (FL) Luis Saez 126 Peter Miller 7/2
3 Collusion Illusion (FL)Keeneland Sales Graduate Flavien Prat 124 Mark Glatt 20/1
4 Bon Raison (KY) Adam Beschizza 126 Jack Sisterson 30/1
5 Manny Wah (KY) Tyler Gaffalione 126 Wayne M. Catalano 30/1
6 Frank's Rockette (KY) Junior Alvarado 121 William I. Mott 10/1
7 Whitmore (KY) Irad Ortiz, Jr. 126 Ron Moquett 15/1
8 Firenze Fire (FL) Jose Lezcano 126 Kelly J. Breen 8/1
9 Empire of Gold (KY) Declan Carroll 124 Terry Eoff 30/1
10 Yaupon (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Joel Rosario 124 Steven M. Asmussen 7/2
11 Diamond Oops (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Florent Geroux 126 Patrick L. Biancone 8/1
12 Hog Creek Hustle (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Corey J. Lanerie 126 Vickie L. Foley 30/1
13 Jasper Prince (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Jose L. Ortiz 126 Hideyuki Mori 30/1
14 Vekoma (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Javier Castellano 126 George Weaver 3/1
15 Lasting Legacy (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr. 126 Robert B. Hess, Jr. 30/1
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