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ARCADIA, CA – William and Corinne Heiligbrodt’s Mitole gunned down a loose-on-the-lead Shancelot in the final stages to win Saturday’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita Park.
Breaking from post 4 at 9/5 odds under Ricardo Santana, Jr., Mitole flashed early speed but soon took back. Ahead of him, the 3/2 favorite Shancelot broke free and set blistering opening fractions of :21.47 and :44.04.
Running three-wide in fourth through the far turn, Mitole turned for home and set his sights on Shancelot. With the leader beginning to tire near the 1/16 pole, Mitole gobbled up ground tremendously in the stretch and soon met Shancelot’s eye.
Continuing to power home strongly, the Steve Asmussen trainee crossed 1 1/4 lengths clear in a final time of 1:09.00 for the 6-furlong sprint over the fast main track.
“I had a lot of confidence in my horse,” said Santana, Jr. “He’s a horse I’ve been riding since he was 2 years 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.”
Whitmore was off slow but made a five-wide move in the far turn to get up for third by a 1/2-length over Engage, while another 1/2-length back, a wilting Firenze Fire nosed out Hog Creek Hustle for fifth. A non-threatening Catalina Cruiser and a spent Matera Sky completed the order of finish.
Landeskog and Imperial Hint were scratched.
Mitole’s win was his sixth of the year and improved his overall record to 14-10-2-2. The 4-year-old son of Eskendereya, purchased for $140,000 as a juvenile, will head to the breeding shed having earned $3,104,910 in his career.
“I think that he is so easy to be around,” Asmussen said. “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 (G1), to retract from that and beat the best sprinters in the world and run in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint as opposed to the (Dirt) 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.”
Mitole returned $5.60 to win, $3.20 to place, and $2.60 to show. Shancelot brought back $3.20 to place and $2.80 to show, while Whitmore paid $5 to show.
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