Keeneland preview: Breeders’ Cup Sprint (18.50)
David Metcalf | October 31, 2015
Private Zone can make it third time lucky to land the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Keeneland (18.50).
The Jorge Navarro trained gelding finished down the field in 2013, but posted a much better effort in last year’s renewal at Santa Ainta when staying on strongly to finish a 1 3/4 length third of 14 to Work All Week.
Private Zone has since won four of his six starts, and the gelding comes into the contest on the back of two very easy wide margin successes.
After scoring by 3 1/4 length in a Grade 3 at Belmont, Private Zone pu in an awesome display to land a Grade 1 at Saratoga by 3 3/4 lengths.
Private Zone made all in the latter and drew readily clear from the three marker to score with tons in hand.
It was a performance which suggested the son of Macho Uno was in the form of his life, and Private Zone has since been given a break to freshen up.
His ability to come from behind or do it from the front is a big plus, and should Private Zone win it would be one of the greatest stories in Breeders’ Cup history.
The horse was bought while racing in Panama by paralysed former jockey Rene Douglas, who put together a racing partnership to thank the friends who helped him through his recovery after his horror fall in the 2009 Matron Stakes at Arlington Park.
Since then Private Zone has proved a revelation, and winning four Grade 1 contests and ammasing over $2.6 million for the Good Friends Stable syndicate.
Punters could be Runhappy
Runhappy is a three-year-old on a serious upward curve and looks the one most likely to give Private Zone most to think about.
The Maria Borell trained colt has won his last four starts, and was particular impressive when landing the Grade 1 King’s Bishop Stakes at Saratoga two starts back.
After breaking well, jockey Edgar Prado kept Runhappy close to an early pace set by Limousine Liberal before taking up the running after two furlongs.
The pair then never looked like being pegged bag, and Runhappy drew clear inside the last to win by four lengths in stakes-record time.
A repeat of that effort would give Runhappy major claims, and if breaking in his best style from stall five the son of Super Saver could be a tough not to crack if allowed to dominate.
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