Although no favorite has won the Sprint since Eillo won in the first year, don't hold that against Housebuster. This race lacks the freakish, speed-crazed types of prior Sprints, so Housebuster should always be close, ready to blow past at will. Inadvertently, the Breeders' Cup seems to do everybody a favor this year by starting its new Pick-7 with a gimme.
Selections: Housebuster, Polish Numbers, Clever Trevor
& Long shot: Take Me Out
Last year, this race was a pushover when Meadow Star won at 1-5. Although there's no such standout today, Preach could have the little edges she needs -- she has the rail and "Miss Julie," and she has progressed to a peak for Shug McGaughey. Speed Dialer, a come-from-behinder, is a solid threat. And there are plenty of others with "sleeper" written all over them, including Miss Iron Smoke and Pleasant Stage.
Selections: Preach, Speed Dialer, Soviet Sojourn
* Long shot: Miss Iron Smoke
With a 10-for-12 record, the Distaff has another star in Dance Smartly. Or does it? The filly has been largely untested while racing in Canada all year, and she's liable to take some heat today. But with a typical Pat Day ride, she'll have plenty of run in the stretch and should score as the favorite. Til Forbid could come charging late and make for a worthwhile exacta.
Selections: Dance Smartly, Til Forbid, Versailles Treaty
* Long shot: Brought To Mind
With its wonderful mix of European and American runners, this race is the most interesting of today's tremendous card. You start by admiring the records of Tight Spot and In Excess, the two U.S. stalwarts -- but you don't stop there. No less than five foreigners -- Priolo, Polar Falcon, Shadayid, Kooyonga and Second Set -- have shown flashes of brilliance, and all come from reputable outfits. In what should be a frantic finish, give Polar Falcon and Priolo great chances.
Selections: Polar Falcon, Priolo, Tight Spot
# Long shot: Shadayid
The enigma horse is Arazi, the French wunderkind who has won his last six starts. But what about the fact he has never run on dirt? What about the large field? And most notably, what about his brutal No. 14 post and the short run into the first turn? If this colt is a superstar, he'll sure get a chance to prove it -- and if not, this is another scramble. Bertrando has had things his own way out West, but an abundance of challenging speed could foil him. With that, either of Jerry Fanning's runners -- Bag or Star Recruit -- could be along for the upset.
Selections: Bag, Tri to Watch, Arazi
' Long shot: Star Recruit
This is another Europe vs. U.S. confrontation -- except Europe is even stronger in this one, as might be expected with the increase in distance. Kartajana has had two fine efforts in California after a promising career overseas; the filly is sitting on a monstrous effort for Neil Drysdale. Filago is a European import now trained by an American (Bobby Frankel); the colt is a bonafide long-distance turfer. Pistolet Bleu and Pigeon Voyageur come highly recommended by European racing experts. Sky Classic (Canada), winner of six in a row vs. lesser, and Itsallgreektome, last year's grass champion, try holding up North America's end.
Selections: Kartajana, Filago, Pistolet Bleu
* Long shot: Pigeon Voyageur
The Classic lacks the glitz of some prior runnings, such as 1987 (Ferdinand-Alysheba) or 1989 (Sunday Silence-Easy Goer), but with its highly contentious field, it could offer as much drama. Black Tie Affair should set the pace, followed closely by a well-bunched group that should include Summer Squall, Fly So Free, Twilight Agenda and Marquetry. And when they hit the top of the long stretch, Unbridled and Festin should start moving best of all. Assuming top efforts from them all, Unbridled's best may be the best -- again at Churchill, and again in the Classic.
Selections: Unbridled, Black Tie Affair, Festin
Long shot: Marquetry