The $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) had the reputation as one of the toughest races to handicap, but horseplayers had figured things out pretty well in recent years.
From 2015 to 2019 the average mutuel of the winner was just $8. In 2019 we saw a puny exacta of just $15.60 with second choice Mitole beating the favorite Shancelot.
That changed last year with the grizzled veteran Whitmore rallying from the back of the pack to pull off the upset and pay $38.80 and topping a $2 exacta with C Z Rocket (6-1) that paid $276.00. The betting favorite Yaupon checked in eighth.
Whitmore prepped with a fourth-place finish in the Phoenix (G1) at Keeneland and it not often a Sprint winner landing out of the money in their final prep.
The favorite this year appears likely to be the Steve Asmussen trained Jackie’s Warrior, who will come into the race having won his three precious starts and will be facing older for the first time. The colt is currently listed at 27-20 in early Sprint betting at BUSR.
Betting Trends for the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Sprint
|Sprint by the Digits: (last 11 years)
Avg. Win payoff: $16.85
Avg. Exacta payoff: $116.20
Avg. Beyer Speed Figure: 106.3
Betting Favorites All time: 8 for 37
|2020 Winner: Whitmore ($38.80)
$2 Exacta: $276.00 $1 Trifecta: $1,092.00
Winner final prep: 4th Phoenix (G1)
Runner up: C Z Rocket
Runner up final prep: Won SA Sprint Champ. (G1)
The Breeders’ Cup Sprint has produced eight winning favorites, the last one being Runhappy in 2015 who paid $5.20. The favorite has run second and third just four times each meaning the betting favorite has run out of the money 16 times.
Between 1997 and 2012 the betting favorite ran out of the money 11 times in 16 editions of the race.
Three-year-olds have won the Sprint nine times, the most recent Drefong in 2016. There have been 14 four-year-olds win. The oldest is Cardmania (1993), Elmhurst (1997) and Whitmore last year who each won at the age of seven.
Bob Baffert has been the most successful trainer in the Sprint with five victories from 18 starters including in 2016 with Defrong.
The Baffert trained Midnight Lute was the first back to back winner, taking the title in 2007 and 2008. Roy H became the second, winning the Sprint in 2017 at Del Mar and 2018 at Churchill Downs for trainer Peter Miller.
A dozen Sprint winners took the field gate to wire, the most recent being Drefong in 2016 at Santa Anita. Roy H stalked the early pace in 2017 in the one edition contested at Del Mar.
In the Del Mar running in 2017 Roy H had prepped by winning the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1) and the runner up Imperial Hint tuned up by winning the Donald LeVine Memorial Stakes at Parx Racing which was his fifth win in a row.
Jackie’s Warrior Wins Jerkens Memorial
The top exacta came in 2006 with Thor’s Echo (15-1) and Friendly Island (58-1) combining for a $955.40 payoff. The shortest was in 2019 when Mitole ($5.60) combined with the favorite Shancealot with a $15.60 payoff. Only eight went to the post.
The 12-14 posts are a combined 1 for 63. The best posts have been the two with five winners and the five post with six winners.
The Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1) has been the key prep producing eight winners while the Vosburgh (G1) at Belmont Park has produced six.
Only two winners in history won the race without a prior stakes win. A sharp win in a graded stake is key.
The winner of the Sprint from 2013 to 2019 all won their final prep. The streak was snapped last year with Whitmore running fourth in the Phoenix (G1) at Keeneland in his final prep.
Trainer records in the Sprint: Steve Asmussen 1 for 12, Peter Miller 2 for 5, Todd Pletcher 1 for 9, John Sadler 0 for 7, Wayne Catalano 0 for 2.