THE MAIN EVENT ON A 10-RACE CARD, THE SPRINT CHAMPIONSHIP IS A BREEDERS’ CUP ‘WIN & YOU’RE IN’ CHALLENGE RACE THAT GUARANTEES WINNER A BERTH IN $1.5 MILLION B.C. SPRINT
ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 30, 2015)–Top sprinters Masochistic, Gimme Da Lute and Wild Dude head a competitive field of eight three-year-olds and up in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship at six furlongs. As a Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” Challenge race, the winner will be guaranteed entry in the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Keeneland on Oct. 31.
An emphatic 3 ½ length winner of the Grade I, seven furlong Triple Bend Stakes two starts back at Santa Anita June 27, Masochistic earned a career-high 109 Beyer Speed figure, but disappointed at 2-5 in his most recent out, finishing second, beaten 1 ¼ lengths by Wild Dude in the Grade I, six furlong Bing Crosby Stakes on July 26.
Owned by Los Pollos Hermanos Racing and Jay Em Ess Stable, Masochistic is conditioned by Ron Ellis and has been training forwardly for his return to action. With six works to his credit since the Crosby at Del Mar, Masochistic’s most recent drill, a bullet six furlongs here in 1:11.20 on Saturday, prompted the normally stoic Ellis to describe the move as “phenomenal.”
Originally trained by A.C. Avila, Masochistic, a 5-year-old California-bred gelding by Sought After, will be making his fourth start for Ellis. With three wins from four starts at Santa Anita (his lone defeat coming in a controversial fifth place finish in his six furlong debut March 15, 2014), Masochistic is 9-6-2-0 overall with earnings of $583,850.
Although he’ll be facing older horses for the first time on Saturday, California-bred Gimme Da Lute, who seeks his fifth stakes victory in-a-row, figures to be heavily supported in the tote and could vie for favoritism in the Sprint Championship.
By top Kentucky-based stallion Midnight Lute, 3-year-old Gimme Da Lute is trained by Bob Baffert and is owned by his breeders, Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman. Heavily favored in his last two starts, the one mile El Cajon Stakes Aug. 29 and the (state-bred) seven furlong Real Good Deal Stakes Aug. 2, Gimme Da Lute was a nose winner three back over highly regarded Prospect Park in the Grade II, 1 1/8 miles Los Alamitos Derby on July 4, and was half length winner over “Prospect” four back in the Grade III, 1 1/16 miles Affirmed Stakes June 7.
With three wins from for starts at The Great Race Place, Gimme Da Lute is 9-6-1-2 overall with earnings of $627,560.
Jerry Hollendorfer’s Wild Dude, who upset Masochistic at 11-1 two starts back in the Grade I Bing Crosby, comes off a close second, beaten a half length, in the Grade II, seven furlong Pat O’Brien Stakes on Aug. 22. A 5-year-old Florida-bred horse by Wildcat Heir, Wild Dude has three wins and two thirds from five tries at six furlongs and has been one of the most reliable sprinters on the Southern California circuit for nearly two years.
Ridden by the currently injured Flavien Prat in his last three races, he gets the services of leading rider Rafael Bejarano, who has guided him to four wins dating back to his maiden score in August, 2013 at Del Mar. Owned by Hollendorfer and Green B. Smith, Jr., Wild Dude is the leading money earner in the field with $774,887. He is 17-6-4-4 overall.
Although a well beaten fourth by Masochistic in the Grade I Triple Bend on June 27, trainer Karen Headley’s California-bred San Onofre appears fresh and dangerous in the Sprint Championship. Although he’s drawn the rail, the 5-year-old Surf Cat gelding will likely try to clear the field early and get a breather going into the far turn under Alex Solis. Bred by Headley’s father, trainer Bruce Headley, San Onofre is owned by Matson Racing and is 9-4-4-0 overall with earnings of $273,040.
The field for the Santa Anita Sprint Championship, to be run as the eighth on a 10 race program Saturday, with jockeys and weights, from the rail out: San Onofre, Alex Solis, 119; Masochistic, Tyler Baze, 124; Glacken Too, Edwin Maldonado, 119; Kobe’s Back, Gary Stevens, 119; Distinctiv Passion, Martin Pedroza, 119; Wild Dude, Rafael Bejarano, 124; Indexical, Mario Gutierrez, 119, and Gimme Da Lute, Martin Garcia, 117.
First post time Saturday is at 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m. For more information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.