The $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), at 6 furlongs, figures to showcase some of the world’s fastest dirt horses, with as many as five “Win and You’re In” qualifiers lining up in a race that could mark the much-anticipated return of R. A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables’ VEKOMA, who was one of the leading handicap horses in the country for the first half of the season.
Vekoma, a 4-year-old son of Candy Ride (ARG) is perfect in three starts this year for trainer George Weaver, including the Carter (G1) at Aqueduct in April and “Win and You’re In” Metropolitan Handicap (G1) at Belmont Park in his last start, July 4. Vekoma, who is 6-for-8 lifetime, earned a berth into the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile with his Met Mile win, but Weaver indicated he’s leaning towards the Sprint for his return.
The other four Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series winners, Dan Agnew, Rodney Orr, Jerry Schneider, and John Xitco’s COLLUSION ILLUSION, who won the Bing Crosby (G1) at Del Mar in August for trainer Mark Glatt, Madaket Stables, Gary Barber, and Tom Kagele’s C Z ROCKET, who is 5-for-5 since being claimed by trainer Peter Miller and won the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G2) Sept. 27, Diamond 100 Racing Club, Amy Dunne, D.P. Racing, and trainer Patrick Biancone’s DIAMOND OOPS, who won the course and distance Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2) Oct. 2, and Mr. Amore Stable’s homebred FIRENZE FIRE, who won Belmont’s Vosburgh (G2) Sept. 26 for trainer Kelly Breen, all will be well-backed at the windows in a Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
The race could also include BON RAISON, COMPLEXITY, ECHO TOWN, FLAGSTAFF, FRANK’S ROCKETTE, HOG CREEK HUSTLE, WHITMORE and YAUPON.
Breeders’ Cup Sprint – Breeders’ Cup Challenge (BCC) Winners and Points Leaders
Photo: Vekoma wins the 2018 Nahsua. Credit: Coglianese