Drefong turned back a stiff challenge from Masochistic in the Santa Anita stretch to come home a 1 ¼-length winner in the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) on Saturday.
Drefong is Bob Baffert’s fifth Sprint winner, a record for the race. Baffert won his first of his 13 overall Breeders’ Cup victories in the 1992 Sprint with Thirty Slews.
In the field reduced to seven with the scratches of Drefong’s stablemate Lord Nelson and Vosburgh S. (G1) winner Joking, the Sprint turned into a match race between Drefong and Masochistic, who both sped out of the gate to contest the lead. Rocketing through the half-mile in :44.03, the duo continued their battle until the final sixteenth, when Drefong began to pull clear to secure the win.
The final time for the six furlongs on a fast track was 1:08.79, less that a second off the track record set by the Baffert-trained The Factor in 2010.
"I knew there was going to be a little bit of a speed duel. I was worried about the inside post because it would force his hand, but Martin let him ease up there without forcing the issue," Baffert said. "Masochistic is a really good horse, and I thought we were going to run second. ... Those two horses really threw down in the stretch."
Drefong is the first horse raced by Charlie Chu’s Baoma Corporation. Chu and his wife Susan, who campaigned graded stakes winners Super Ninety Nine and Chitu, both also Baffert trainees.
“We are so honored to be sitting here with Bob and with Martin together,” Susan Chu said. “Bob knows how much we love this sport, and we love our horse. I’m so appreciative to everybody doing everything for us, Bob and [assistant trainer] Jimmy [Barnes], [bloodstock agent] Donato [Lanni], everybody in Bob Baffert’s stable that support us 100%. We so appreciate that we have a chance to be winning today. So this is so joyful. We have a big, strong family coming to support us today from everywhere, all over the country to watch us on such a special day. This is really so joyful.”
Drefong became racing’s newest millionaire after Saturday’s win. The 3-year-old colt has won five of his six lifetime starts, including the King’s Bishop S. (G1), and has earned $1,203,040.