PRESTIGIOUS SPRINT IS A BREEDERS’ CUP ‘WIN & YOU’RE IN’ CHALLENGE QUALIFIER
ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 3, 2015)–With favored Masochistic and Distinctiv Passion slugging it out through rapid fractions on the front end, late running Wild Dude bided his time and unleashed a furious stretch rally to just hold off fellow come-from-behinder Kobe’s Back by a neck in Saturday’s Grade I Santa Anita Sprint Championship at six furlongs. A 5-year-old Florida-bred horse by Wildcat Heir, he got the distance in 1:09.45.
Owned in-part and trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Wild Dude, a winner two starts back of the Grade I Bing Crosby Stakes and most recently a close second in the Grade II, seven furlong Pat O’Brien Stakes, picked up his third win from eight starts this year and punched a ticket to the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Keeneland Oct. 31.
Off at 2-1 in a race that was hurt by three scratches, including the defection of Gimme Da Lute, the 3-1 second choice on the morning line, Wild Dude paid $6.20, $3.80 and $3.20.
“I saw the fractions a little late (21.44, 43.93 and 56.64), but when I saw the 43 and change go up, I thought we had a chance,” said Hollendorfer. “Then I started thinking Kobe’s Back was going to close, too, and he did.
“I think we will (go on to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint) if he comes out of this good. Nobody knows right now when they’ll ship because of the weather conditions back there.”
Owned by Hollendorfer and Green B. Smith, Wild Dude picked up $180,000 for the win, running his bankroll to $954,887. In getting his fourth win from six starts at six furlongs, he improved his overall record to 18-7-4-4.
“I let him relax and let him finish like he has won before,” said Bejarano, the leading rider at the current Autumn Meet. “His style is to come from behind and make one run. He’s getting better and he’s been working great in the mornings.”
As is his custom, trainer Peter Eurton’s Kobe’s Back broke awkwardly, but soon settled into stride under Gary Stevens and finished in monstrous fashion to be second, 4 ¼ lengths clear of longshot Glacken Too.
“Tough beat,” said Stevens. “He had way more energy today. The break wasn’t pretty, but it wasn’t horrendous. I’d absolutely love to ride him (in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint). There’s gonna be a lot of horses and he likes that track (at Keeneland). The winner got the jump on me, but my horse was like Pac Man. He was eatin’ ’em up late.”
Owned by Lee and Susan Searing’s CRK Stable, “Kobe” was off at 6-1 and paid $6.00 and $4.60.
Easily the biggest price in the field, Glacken Too was off at 26-1 with Edwin Maldonado and paid $7.40 to show while finishing 3 ¾ lengths in front of Masochistic, who tired badly.
First post time for a nine-race card Sunday at Santa Anita is at 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.