Heading into Breeders’ Cup week, trainer Bob Baffert was loaded with talented sprinters and while much of the attention was on dual “Win and You’re In” qualifier Lord Nelson, the four-time Sprint-winning trainer quietly prepared Charlie and Susan Chu’s Drefong for the race of his life.
And run the race of his life he did, dueling with heavily favored Masochistic under jockey Martin Garcia for the entire six furlongs, through quick splits of :21.49, :44.03 and :55.98 before dismissing his speedy rival in deep stretch to win by 1 ¼ lengths, stopping the Teletimer in 1:08.79 on a fast track.
Mind Your Biscuits turned in a strong performance to finish third, a nose behind Masochistic at the wire, while 3 ¼ lengths ahead of A.P. Indian. Limousine Liberal, Delta Bluesman and Noholdingback Bear completed the order of finish after the scratches of Lord Nelson and Joking.
At odds of nearly 4-1, Drefong returned $9.80, $4.80 and $3.80. Masochistic, at 8-5, paid $4 and $2.80, while Mind Your Biscuits was worth $4.60 at more than 15-1. The exacta was good for $15 and the $.50 trifecta $56.15.
“We drew a great post down on the inside,” Garcia said. “My horse broke sharply and came out running. My horse likes to run on the lead and ran hard every step of the way.”
Drefong was bred in Kentucky by Allor, Barnett and Warrender and was purchased by his owners for $450,000 as a Keeneland September yearling two years ago. With the $825,000 share of the winner’s purse, he boosted his bankroll to $1,203,040 and his career line now stands at 6-5-0-0. He also won the King’s Bishop Stakes (GI) earlier this year in what was his first stakes appearance.
“What a racehorse,” Baffert said. “What a race. He’s been getting better and better, but we didn’t know how fast he was. He had trained so well coming into this race I thought he was peaking. When I saw him in the paddock I just knew he was going to get it done.”