ARCADIA, CA – Breeze Easy’s Four Wheel Drive broke sharply from the gate and never looked back en route to wiring Friday’s $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) at Santa Anita Park.
Darting from post 9 as the 3/2 favorite under Irad Ortiz, Jr., Four Wheel Drive immediately asserted command and was able to clear his inner-drawn foes before completing the opening 1/4-mile in :21.55. While Chimney Rock and Dr Simpson gave closest chase, Four Wheel Drive took a quick breather through the far turn before the 1/2-mile in :44.03.
Chimney Rock made a valiant effort off of the turn, but Four Wheel Drive proved much the best. Continuing to run strongly while not being asked for his best, the Wesley Ward trainee hit the wire in a final time of :55.66 for the 5-furlong sprint over the firm turf course.
“I got a good trip,” said Ortiz, Jr. “He broke good and put me on the lead. He was relaxed, and turning for home, when I asked him, he responded. He ran really well. He’s a nice horse.”
Chimney Rock stayed on to take second, just 3/4 of a length off of the winner. Another 2 1/4 lengths behind him, Another Miracle was able to hold off the late-running Kimari, one of two fillies running in the race for Ward, by a head. Dr Simpson faded late to fifth, a nose over Encoder.
Drea Shot, Alligator Alley, Cambria, A’Ali, King Neptune, and Band Practice completed the order of finish. Bulletproof One, Air Force Jet, Fore Left, and Karak were unable to draw in from the Also-Eligibles list.
Four Wheel Drive’s win extended his unbeaten streak to three in as many starts, all at the stakes level. After debuting victoriously in the Rosie’s Stakes at Colonial Downs on August 31, he returned on October 6 to win the Futurity Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park. A first-crop son of the 2015 Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup Classic champion American Pharoah, Four Wheel Drive has now earned $692,500.
“We got it!” Ward said. “It’s great for the owners, fantastic for Coolmore, fantastic for everyone that put a lot of money behind American Pharoah. There is a lot riding on him as far as how his progeny will turn out. For this horse to turn out to be a Breeders’ Cup winner is sensational. (Four Wheel Drive) is a real cool dude. He takes it all in. He popped right out like a real professional horse will and he kind of settled. When (Ortiz, Jr.) called upon him, away he went.”
Four Wheel Drive returned $5 to win, $3.40 to place, and $3 to show. Chimney Rock brought back $8.20 to place and $5.40 to show, while Another Miracle paid $7.80 to show.