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Ricardo Santana Jr. celebrates aboard Mitole after the Sprint.
A field of 8 older horses went to post in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1), a 6 furlong trip around one turn of the main track. Allen Jerkens (G1) 3rd place finisher and Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1) 2nd place finisher Shancelot was sent off as the 3-2 favorite. In to challenge him included 9-5 second choice Mitole, winner of the Metropolitan (G1) and Forego (G1), and 4-1 third choice Catalina Cruiser, winner of the San Diego Handicap (G2) and Pat O'Brien (G2).
Mitole leads down the stretch
Jockey Jose Ortiz sent Shancelot loose on the lead through fractions of 21.47 and 44.04 while stalked by 33-1 Matera Sky and 10-1 Firenze Fire. Shancelot continued to lead to midstretch through 5f in 56.19 but Mitole, 4th early under Ricardo Santana Jr., rallied past to win by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:09.00. It was another 2 1/4 lengths back to late-running 19-1 Whitmore third.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 4 Mitole Santana 5.60 3.20 2.60 6 Shancelot Ortiz 3.20 2.80 7 Whitmore Prat 5.00 Winning Time: 1:09.00 $1 Exacta 4-6 7.80 $1 Trifecta 4-6-7 59.10 $1 Superfecta 4-6-7-5 402.50Results chart
Left: Mitole in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Steve Asmussen said, "I think that he is so easy to be around, nothing but class and the ability he has is just tremendous. I don't know that people realize from where he was in the spring to stretching out to beating the field that he did in the Met Mile, to retract from that and beat the best sprinters in the world and run in the Breeders' Cup Sprint as opposed to the Mile, that's twice as much money on his way out. But, it's a very difficult job, one that a horse of his elite abilities is capable of doing."
Right: The trophy presentation for the Sprint. Winning owner Bill Heiligbrodt said, "To have a horse this fast, it's like an athlete. Like if you played football, and you have to play every week, when you get to the last game, it's really, really difficult. And the horses are no different. And of all these fast horses Corinne and I have had, it's very difficult to keep them at that level of performance. I watched him in Arkansas, in the pouring down rain, beat some really, really tough horses. And then to come back here like this and to do it all this time later, after everybody in the country trying to beat you, it's really, really something."
Left: Mitole in the post parade. Winning jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. said, "I had a lot of confidence in my horse. He's a horse I've been riding since he was 2 ears old. I changed my mind today. A lot of people thought he'd go to the lead. I took him back and made one move and got to the wire first."
Right: Mitole heads back to the barn after the race. Asmussen added, "You're concerned with everybody, but we thought the best thing for Mitole was, just Ricardo knows him so, is be comfortable. Not enough could be said about the job Scott Blasi and Angel did coming on out here early, making sure everything was right and eliminating all the variables that could keep us from being in this position."
Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Shancelot returns after the race. Trainer Jorge Navarro said, "No complaints. Look at the horse who beat us. He's the top sprinter in the nation, probably the world. To be second to him, guess what I have for next year, and by himself. It was fine. We're good. I'm very proud of him. I feel like a winner. Look who he was running against. He's had an amazing year for us and he'll be by himself next year so we're happy about that. This race was a big one for him. We're going to do what's best for the horse and there's next year for him. I'm very proud of him."
Right: Third place finisher Whitmore returns after the race. Jockey Flavien Prat said, "He ran a great race. He got a good trip and he made a nice move around the turn. He got beat by two really good horses. He fought to hold on and run third." Trainer Ron Moquett added, "He tries hard. He's a good horse. That's the reason everyone loves him is he tries."
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