- Henny Hughes (Hennessy) will be the favorite in the Sprint, and he seems on track to top off his spectacular year with a big win. He completed his preparations with an easy half in 51 seconds flat at windy Belmont, and Kiaran McLaughlin was, of course, happy with what he called a "maintenance work."
"Henny Hughes could have gone a second or two slower or faster, and it wouldn't have bothered me. He is a :46 or :52 kind of horse, and :50 is right in the middle." [BRIS]Henny's last two wins were nearly identical. He broke just a step slowly both times, but was quickly in position behind the front runner. In each case, he moved up for the lead on the turn with John Velazquez sitting motionless. It's particularly striking to watch in the King's Bishop how easily he was going as Prado was driving on Songster, a colt who came into the race in good form. It was ridiculous how easily Henny Hughes disposed of him. In the more recent Vosburgh at the Sprint six furlong distance, Velazquez gave him a couple of right-handed smacks in the stretch, and the colt visibly quickened and sprinted away, getting the final eighth in 11.4. The rider said, " I just got on him at the quarter pole, and let him go and he responded right away." I get the feeling that there's more there if it's needed.
Bordonaro (Memo) was just cruising through those blazing fractions in the Ancient Title, or so it seemed. On Sunday he worked a half-mile in :48 4/5 (6/64). After the Ancient Title, trainer Bill Spawr said of supplementing to the Sprint: "..it's four weeks between races, and he usually likes six weeks." [ESPN] But they did pay the money to enter, and Spawr later told the Form that he came out of the race well. "Maybe he's peaking."
I think he'll find two others absolutely committed to the lead:
Siren Lure (Joyeux Dancer) has finished in the money in 11 of his last 12 starts, and he has a good chance to do so again. In fact, it's hard to see how he won't. He always fires and should get a pace scenario to his liking. He's come a long way this year, developing from a nice overnight stakes horse to a legitimate Grade 1 horse. But as far as getting top honors, I think he prefers a seventh furlong.
Too Much Bling (Rubiano) is a bit like a Henny Hughes Lite. Returning at three strictly as a sprinter, he's won four of five, all stakes. And like Henny, he has excellent tactical speed. But I just don't think he can kick home like the favorite.
Pomeroy (Boundary) loves Saratoga. Kelly's Landing loves Churchill, and may be worth a spot at the bottom of exotics at a price.
Interested In: I'm rooting for Henny Hughes; he's really won me over with the way he's won with such ease and professionalism. I also think he's going to win, though the post draw will be significant in the crowded field. But I'll be looking at the board, and I think that Dubai Escapade could be worth a win wager at a price. You never know what will happen at the break, and if she can get a jump on Bordanaro and Atilla's Storm (Forest Wildcat), she could be hard to run down.
Against: I'll close my eyes and stand against Bordanaro, and try to create some value in the exotics. I won't use War Front, Pomeroy, or Too Much Bling, though I could change my mind on the latter.
Exotics: Siren Lure is a must-use; Kelly's Landing, and how about Nightmare Affair and Malibu Mint for some picking-up-the-pieces minor awards at prices?