Drefong made his stakes debut in Saturday's $500,000 King's Bishop S. (G1) and came away with a stellar 3 1/4-length victory in 1:21.25 for the seven furlongs, less than a second off the track record.
The win was the second in the race for Bob Baffert, but the first since capturing the 1999 running with Forestry.
Drefong got away cleanly from post 12 and found himself with a one-length lead under Mike Smith after a half-mile in :23.11. With no one seriously mounting a challenge on the turn, Smith hand-rode the bay colt through the lane and was pulling away at the wire.
"The horse has always been incredibly fast," Baffert said of the winner. "We freshened him up and this was the race we were looking forward to, so I was happy when I saw the post. He's a quiet horse, he's a beautiful horse. When he left there and I saw the first quarter in :23, I thought that was a good pace. It wasn't too taxing on him. I'm proud of him, he ran so well. And the Chu family, they just got in the game a few years ago, they've been extremely lucky with their horses, so this was a big win for them. Good for them, I'm here just to fulfill their dreams."
Baffert referenced Charles Chu and family, who purchased the 3-year-old son of champion Gio Ponti for $450,000 at the 2014 Keeneland September Yearling sale. Drefong is now 4-0-0 in five starts and has won $378,040.
"He's got a great mind," Baffert said of Drefong. "I've always thought he was cut out to be this kind of horse, but he had to prove it today. That was a tough little bunch he was in there with. I'm trying to get him to the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1).”