2021 Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint Cheatsheet
By TwinSpires Editorial Team, Sponsored Content

By Vance Hanson (TwinSpires.com)

1. DIAMOND OOPS (15-1) – Versatile sort can handle any surface, with his biggest win on grass coming last fall in the TwinSpires Turf Sprint (G2). However, inconsistency has been an issue in the interim. Proved no real threat in his title defense of that race in April nor in the Smile Sprint (G3) last time, a decline in form from a year or two ago. Although the expected strong pace here will help, seemingly less effective of late when racing without Lasix.

2. FAST BOAT (10-1) – Enters in the form of his career with three wins in his last four, while loss in the Jaipur (G1) was blamed on the ground being softer than he would prefer. That doesn’t figure to be an issue here, the pace scenario projects to be quite favorable, and he has winning over this course. With Sharp/Rosario in his corner, expect odds to be far lower than inflated ML price.

3. BOMBARD (10-1) – Dead-heat runner-up in this event last year, he’s had a sporadic campaign of three starts since. However, that’s not been unusual for an eight-year-old with just 18 career starts. With blinkers added, he led all the way in the Daytona (G3) when last seen more than three months ago. Hit-or-miss when it comes to firing fresh, he’ll meet a number of other pace elements here and a field that’s seemingly deeper than it was 12 months ago.

4. GEAR JOCKEY (10-1) – Emphasis on sprinting this summer has proved beneficial. Not only was he much the best in the allowance at Saratoga, but follow-up in the Troy (G3) was solid, considering how much ground he lost after a slow start. Normally more of a stalking type, he should be one of the first to get first crack at the potentially fading leaders. One of several double-digit prices to consider.

5. BORN GREAT (15-1) – Despite winning the nominal stakes prep at Ellis Park, doesn’t look quick enough on paper to topple this much classier field. The main plus is his apparent love for this course. Note he zipped through his maiden and first-level allowance condition here a year ago in the span of eight days. That competition doesn’t compare to this, obviously, but fondness for the surroundings might convince some to toss him in the lower rungs of the exotics.

6. FRONT RUN THE FRED (20-1) – Just missed in this last year when dead-heating with Bombard for the place, though form since then leaves a bit to be desired. However, excuses for last couple are there if willing to look for them. Effort last out in the Troy was plain dull after a slow start, while third in the Poker (G3) okay considering he was losing to a mare who loves Belmont. Favored against Casa Creed three back in the Elusive Quality S. and just missed, and price disparity between the two here figures to be great. Intriguing at a price for a share, or more.

7. CASA CREED (7-2) – Evolved earlier this season into a rather effective sprinter, and should appreciate the cut back in distance after running third in the two-turn Fourstardave H. (G1) for a second time. Like several of the other major contenders, the projected pace scenario looks as if it will be beneficial. The main knock is the lack of experience over this course, which can be tricky for newbies. That’s something to consider if price continues to hover around 7-2, but otherwise most indicators are positive.

8. SIEM RIEP (20-1) – His form since returning from a layoff approaching two years has been commendable, but in neither case was he facing the class of horse that he meets here. On the plus side, he gets more ground to work with here and has run okay over this course in the past. Overall, however, this veteran looks up against it.

9. GOT STORMY (9-2) – Best never to count her out, or else she’ll surprise you. That was never more evident than when she captured the Fourstardave (against the boys for a second time) at big odds last out. Despite not getting the ground she likes, she looked super winning the Ladies Sprint (G3) here last year, and the expected firm ground for this will suit her ideally. Latest notwithstanding, she arguably showed last fall to be a better sprinter than miler at this stage of her career. All this makes her one of the obvious candidates.

10. CHEWING GUM (12-1) – Like some others here, a slow break in the Troy left this deep closer with too much to do. Form in turf sprints generally good otherwise, though he does seem a cut below the likes of stablemate Casa Creed (and others), nor has he come really close yet to snagging one of these bigger prizes. Has winning experience over the course, but others offer more appeal.

11. STUBBINS (12-1) – With just one start (three months ago) since finishing fourth in this event a year ago, relative fitness is the primary concern. Class-wise, he’s been a generally dependable inclusion in the lower rungs of the vertical exotics, which looks on paper the way to use him, if so inclined, following a pair of swift works at Del Mar.

12. IMPRIMIS (6-1) – Not seen to best effect in the Troy, and only the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) flop was a worse effort over the past couple seasons. Form, otherwise, is very strong, and hard not to be impressed with his victory in this event last season after being shuffled back and losing precious position midway through. Favored in the last two editions of this, but that’s unlikely to be the case this time, a plus for his longtime backers. Intriguing rebound candidate.

13. JOHNNY UNLEASED (20-1) – Also eligible has had multiple chances to make an impact against stakes company, graded or otherwise, but has consistently fallen short. Probably better than what he showed in the stakes prep at Ellis Park, but not enough to suggest he can pull off a shocker over a course he’s failed to place at in two prior attempts.