Sprinting is always thrilling to watch, regardless of the specific athletes or caliber of those performing.
However, when the athletes in question are elite Thoroughbreds, the drama is always turned up a notch. For the minute-and-change that sprint races typically take, these illustrious creatures are all-out in a pure contest of speed.
There are four Breeders’ Cup races which are held at sprint distances, which for Thoroughbreds is any race under one mile: the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (five furlongs on the turf for two-year-olds), the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (six furlongs on the turf for three-year-olds and up), the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (six furlongs on the dirt for three-year-olds and up), and the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (seven furlongs on the dirt for females three-year-olds and up).
You can check the current odds for the event here: twinspires.com/breeders-cup/odds
As the summer fades into fall, leaders of each division begin to rise to the top. One such horse is the five-year-old mare Kimari, an up-and-comer in the female sprint division.
While it is possible that Kimari could attempt to stretch out to a longer race, switch to a different surface, or compete against the boys, it is most likely that Kimari will stake her Breeders’ Cup claim in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. Let’s take a look at her credentials.
Kimari is sired by Munnings. Munnings was a multiple graded stakes winner at sprint distances at age three and four, winning the Grade II Woody Stephens Stakes, Grade II Tom Fool Stakes, and the Grade II Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship Stakes. In addition to Kimari, he has sired graded-stakes-winning sprinters Scaramouche and Jack Christopher.
Kimari’s dam, Cozze Up Lady, was a graded stakes winner at age four, when she won the Grade III Chicago Handicap, run at seven furlongs on an all-weather track. Her sire, Cozzene, was a winner of the Breeders’ Cup Mile who went on to sire many successful grass and all-weather specialists who excelled at a mile or less.
With her bloodlines, it is evident that short distances are a natural strong point for Kimari. But what about surface? Does she prefer dirt, taking after her father’s side of the family, or has she invented her mother’s side’s affinity for turf or all-weather?
Kimari has a record of nine wins from 16 starts. Of those nine wins, seven came in stakes races, and three of those have been graded stakes victories: the Grade I Madison Stakes in April of 2021, the Grade II Honorable Miss Handicap in July of 2022, and the Grade II Gallant Bloom Stakes in September of 2022.
While several of her ungraded stakes wins have led to higher-level attempts on the grass (namely in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint and the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint), all three of those graded stakes wins came at sprint distances on the dirt.
Her most recent victory, the Gallant Bloom, was her most impressive race. While on paper it looks as though she was in a tight duel with Lady Rocket, the visuals of the two jockeys riding down the stretch tells the real story: Lady Rocket’s jockey, Irad Ortiz Jr., rode his mount hard down the stretch, pumping his arms and cracking the whip. Joel Rosario, aboard Kimari, hand rode his filly.
In the end, though only 1 ¼ lengths separated Kimari and Lady Rocket, the difference in exertion between the two was apparent. To further drive the point home, Lady Rocket was nearly ten lengths ahead of the third-place horse, Sterling Silver.
Kimari has a pedigree and a race record that points toward her being a major contender in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. Ignore her at your own risk!
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