The Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint is set to be one of the most open races taking place at Del Mar later in the year, as there are a number of interesting contenders that could be primed.
As the name suggests, it is one of the races that takes place on the turf, and will be run over a distance of between five and six and a half furlongs. The field will all be hoping to claim the $1 million purse from the illustrious Grade 1, but which horse could be the best pick?
Wesley Ward is yet to train the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, but he has a few chances to end that wait in this year’s renewal. Golden Pal is considered to be his leasing chance, but we are yet to see the three-year-old since a run at York at the end of August. On that occasion, he finished back in seventh in the G1 Nunthorpe.
However, his American form before that start in the United Kingdom was extremely strong, which included a victory in the G2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at last years meet. His first start this season continued with some strong graded form, as he came out on top in the G3 Quick Call Stakes. There’s no denying that this three-year-old has ability, and he could present Frankie Dettori with an excellent chance of winning this race for the first time.
The leading British-trained horse in the field looks set to be Starman. The four-year-old showed excellent form throughout last season, winning two listed races. He returned in 2021 with a very impressive showing at York in the G2 Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes, beating Nahaarr by a neck.
There were high hopes for a Royal Ascot appearance, but the Ed Walker-trained horse missed the royal meeting before returning at Newmarket with a victory over Dragon Symbol in the G1 Darley July Cup. He has been winless since that success, with a third in France followed by a narrow defeat at Haydock in the G1 Betfair Sprint Cup Stakes. However, his claims in this race are unquestionable.
Another Ward runner that looks set to challenge for the Turf Sprint is Kimari. Her form this season has been nothing short of excellent, but it has been six months since we last saw her. The four-year-old was a very impressive winner of the G1 Madison Stakes at Keeneland earlier in the year, which was her second straight success after winning the Spring Fever.
She has achieved speed figures of at least 108 in each of her last two runs, but a final decision on where she will be heading at Del Mar is yet to be made. She was fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint in 2019, but she will likely be much closer to the pace if she heads to this race in November.
Ward’s third runner that could be set for the Turf Sprint is Campanelle. She was heavily favoured to get over the line first at Royal Ascot earlier in the season, which was her first start of the season. She lived up those hopes in dramatic fashion after a stewards enquiry following a tense finish between the three-year-old and Dragon Symbol.
However, she couldn’t make it back-to-back Grade 1 wins, as she came undone in the Prix Maurice de Gheest, finishing last of the 12 on that occasion. However, back on American soil, she has every chance of claiming a first Grade 1 winner in the United States.
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