Bafftert, Drefong Back In Search Of Another Breeders’ Cup Sprint Win

The following appeared on October 30th. Drefong is co-bred by Virginia Anthony Warrender. Fans can watch & wager the race — one of 13 Breeders’ Cup races this coming weekend —  on Saturday November 4th at 5:37 PM (Race 8 at Del Mar).

Bob Baffert, the lone trainer to win the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) with the same horse in consecutive years, will try to match that accomplishment with Drefong this season at Del Mar.

While Jenine Sahadi was the first trainer to win the Sprint in back to back years, with Lit de Justice in 1996 and Elmhurst in 1997, Baffert is the lone conditioner with back-to-back Sprint wins with the same horse (Midnight Lute  in 2007-08). Drefong posted a 1 1/4-length victory in last year’s Sprint at Santa Anita Park and returns this year for the Hall of Famer, who will try for his sixth Sprint triumph.

The lightly raced Drefong is on the same schedule this year as he was in 2016, when he parlayed a frontrunning victory in the Ketel One King’s Bishop Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course with a clear score over Masochistic in the Sprint. This year Drefong, a 4-year-old son of Gio Ponti , won the Forego Stakes (G1) in frontrunning style Aug. 26 at Saratoga and, like last year, trains up to the Sprint off 10 weeks rest.

Baffert planned to race Drefong in the July 29 Bing Crosby Stakes (G1) at Del Mar, then the Oct. 7 Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes (G1). But after Drefong ducked in at the gap and lost rider Mike Smith early in the Bing Crosby, Baffert went to a back-up plan, which repeated last year’s approach of racing at Saratoga and training up to the six-furlong Sprint.

Drefong is shown winning the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Photo by Anne Eberhardt.

“Sometimes your first plan doesn’t work out,” Baffert said. “Luckily he won the Forego. I thought about racing him again, but then thought I’d just run him fresh like last year. He looks good. He’s training well and happy, so that’s all you can ask for right now.”

This year’s preparation has included a string of impressive works at Santa Anita, including a bullet half-mile drill in :46 4/5 Oct. 23. He will start from post position 2.

While Masochistic is prohibited from competing in this year’s Breeders’ Cup because of a positive drug test for the anabolic steroid stanozolol after last year’s Sprint, Mind Your Biscuits, third under the wire in last year’s Sprint, but promoted to second, is back. The son of Posse posted the biggest win of his career this year, when he rallied for a three-length score in the Dubai Golden Shaheen Sponsored by Gulf News (G1).

Mind Your Biscuits, who won the Belmont Sprint Championship Stakes (G2) in July, also will enter the Sprint off an extended layoff. The Chad Summers trainee will try to bounce back from a sixth-place finish in the Forego.

While Mind Your Biscuits needs to return to top form, there are plenty of runners entered off big wins, including Santa Anita Sprint Championship winner Roy H, Vosburgh Stakes (G1) victor Takaful, Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes (G2) winner Whitmore, and Imperial Hint, who extended his win streak to five when he won the Donald LeVine Memorial Stakes Sept. 4 at Parx Racing under wraps.

The field also includes Ransom the Moon, who won this year’s Bing Crosby, contested at six furlongs at Del Mar.

Entries: TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1)

Del Mar, Saturday, November 04, 2017, Race 8

  • Grade I
  • 6f
  • Dirt
  • $1,500,000
  • 3 yo’s & up
  • 2:37 PM (local)
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 1Calculator (FL) John R. Velazquez 126 Peter Miller 20/1
2 2Drefong (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Mike E. Smith 126 Bob Baffert 5/2
3 3American Pastime (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Corey S. Nakatani 124 Robert B. Hess, Jr. 12/1
4 4B Squared (CA) Mario Gutierrez 124 Doug F. O’Neill 30/1
5 5Whitmore (KY) Manuel Franco 126 Ron Moquett 15/1
6 6Mind Your Biscuits (NY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Joel Rosario 126 Chad Summers 6/1
7 7Takaful (KY) Jose L. Ortiz 124 Kiaran P. McLaughlin 5/1
8 8Roy H (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Kent J. Desormeaux 126 Peter Miller 7/2
9 9Ransom the Moon (ON) Flavien Prat 126 Philip D’Amato 12/1
10 10Imperial Hint (FL)