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Speedballs on Grass

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 10/13/2010 12:35:44 PM

A million will be up for grabs in the 5-furlong Turf Sprint this season and like the race itself, the history is short and sweet.

Desert Code blew up the tote in the inaugural running 2 years ago coming from third to last to pay $75. He was tenth at the top of the lane

The exploits of last year’s hero are chronicled later.

iming is everything in life and the timing seems to be right for Chamberlain Bridge going short on the lawn.

He is 4 for 6 this year including a neck beat at Churchill at this very distance in April when he was forced to steady. Fresh from a back-to-back 98 Beyers and half-lengths wins on different courses, this guy is trained by the talented Bret Calhoun and looms the one to deny.

Those with ties to the West Coast know all about California Flag. This guy is out to defend his title as he took this race last year with a 105 Beyer. Lightly raced this year, he opened the season with a third beaten a length in Dubai, then was game in a $102,000 Del Mar stakes in mid-August. Versatility is his calling card and with the right trip, he’ll be a handful.

Stradivinsky rates a longshot look in the Turf Sprint. The reformed claimer was working on a 4-race winning streak when he hooked Chamberlain Bridge but this guy is a good example of what can happen when a horse just gets good.

He doesn’t know that he is not supposed to handle stakes rivals after being claimed in May and one of his best races ever came on the Churchill course.

Gotta Have Her is fresh from a 86 Beyer taking the mile and a sixteenth Grade 2 Palomar at Del Mar but he can win short. He took the Grade 3 Maddy on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita last year and with a projected hot pace, he will be a legit factor in the final furlong.

The quickness of Awakino Cat, who took the Frank Sullivan Stakes at Saratoga early this summer, figures to be seen in the Turf Sprint and he has a super style in that he can run on the lead but prefers to sit just off of it and pounce when it counts.

He’s won three in a row and has been agile enough to overcome trouble to boot. Last of all, he is in the classy hands of Linda Rice.

Unzip Me is one quick miss. She is 6 for 7 this year and the loss came by only a half-length. Trained by Marty Jones, who’s father Gary was one of the best ever in California, knows what to do with a good horse and she proved she could ship and still prevail taking a Woodbine stakes in August.

The key to isolating the winner in this race is to try to visualize who has a chance to get the best kind of trip. The logical thing to think is that because it’s a short race that speed dominates but that is not always the case.

Stay tuned for the future installments about the Cup.

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