October 26, 2018
INTERNATIONAL SPLIT DECISION
by Matt Dinerman, Golden Gate Fields
ANALYSIS:The inaugural Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint features a full field of competitive freshmen set to tussle at five and one-half furlongs on turf. A strong European contingent is expected from top trainers: Aidan O’Brien, Archie Watson and Richard Hannon. However, the home team seems strong, too. US-based conditioner Wesley Ward has Royal Ascot winner SHANG SHANG SHANG and he’s joined by top North American trainers Todd Pletcher and Mark Casse with legit players in the race.
MAIN CONTENDERS: SHANG SHANG SHANG broke his maiden at Keeneland and then took the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot. That was in June, though, and she hasn’t appeared in the afternoon since. Ward surely has pointed her for this and can get one ready off works alone. STRIKE SILVER, for Mark Casse, is another logical player from the US. He was a last-to-first winner of the Indian Summer Stakes at Keeneland. That rally was a reversal from previous winning front-running form. A top European candidate is SOLDIER’S CALL. He most recently was third in the Group 1 Prix de I’Abbaye at Longchamp vs. older horses. He’ll face contemporaries in here and that should be an easier task.
VALUE PLAYS: BULLETIN, a son of City Zip, debuted in the 5-furlong Hollywood Beach Stakes at Gulfstream, went to the lead and drew off by 7 lengths for trainer Todd Pletcher. O’Brien saddles two shippers: SERGEI PROKOFIEV and SO PERFECT. The latter, a filly facing males in here, appears classiest of the pair. The daughter of Scat Daddy most recently hit the board in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes at six furlongs. Her biggest win came in a Group 3 in July at The Curragh. SERGEI PROKOFIEV comes into the Breeders’ Cup fresh off a triumph in the Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes going 5-furlongs. He’s been off the board, though, in two career Group 1 tries.
WAGERING STRATEGY ($100):