TVG Analyst: Matt Carothers
Trainer Jorge Navarro has had some pretty talented, fast horses over the past few years. In 2017, his lightning quick sprinter, El Deal, wired the field in the Grade 1 Vanderbilt at Saratoga by 8. That same year, Navarro lost a heartbreaker in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile to Battle of Midway with Sharp Azteca, who did win the G1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct in his subsequent start. But his most accomplished speedball to date is clearly X Y Jet. After two gut-wrenching defeats in the in the Dubai Golden Shaheen, the third time was the charm, as he finally got his win in 2019. His charge in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint, #6 SHANCELOT, may be the fastest and most talented of the lot.
In just the third start of his career, Shancelot shattered the track record for 6.5 furlongs at Saratoga by covering the distance in 1:14, en route to a 12.5 length score and a 121 Beyer, which is the highest of the year. In his Sprint prep, which was the Santa Anita Sprint Championship, he showed a ton of heart in defeat. He lost by a head to Omaha Beach, who would have been your Derby favorite before being sidelined by an entrapped epiglottis, and is your 8-5 favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
With the ultra-quick Landeskog scratching on Tuesday, Shancelot clearly looks to be the main speed. I love a confident trainer, and Jorge is never lacking in that area, as he said that the 3-year-old son of Shanghai Bobby’s move of 46:2 on October 26th was the best work of any Breeders’ Cup horse all week. To me, he’s too fast and talented for this bunch, and I am expecting him to dominate on the front end.
If, somehow, I am mistaken and Shancelot doesn’t win, then I think it will be because someone like an Imperial Hint softens him up on the lead. If that happens, I’m looking at #1 CATALINA CRUISER to close on the turn back and get all the money. He is 7-for-8 lifetime, with his only defeat coming as the 4-5 favorite in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. We all know that John Sadler is an elite trainer, so the fact that he chose the Sprint over the Dirt Mile is a good sign. He is 2-for-2 at Santa Anita, with both of his wins being at 6 furlongs. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if #4 MITOLE were to win, as he will be the post time favorite. He is obviously very fast, but has taken his game to the next level, showing the ability rate in recent months. My only real knock on him are that he hasn’t won a six furlong race on a fast dirt track in eight months.
Top pick #6 SHANCELOT
2- #1 CATALINA CRUISER
3- #4 MITOLE
Money Back Special Pick: #3 FIRENZE FIRE
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