Secret Circle's thrilling neck win in Saturday's $1.5 million Breeders' Cup Sprint gave his trainer Bob Baffert a record fourth victory in the race and also made Secret Circle one of only three horses to win two different Breeders' Cup races in the 30 year history of the event. (The others are Beholder and Zenyatta.)
Baffert's previous Sprint wins came with Thirty Slews in 1992 and Midnight Lute's back-to-back wins in 2007 and 2008.
Owned by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, Secret Circle had made just one start since the 2012 Arkansas Derby (G1) some 18 months ago, and that came just three weeks prior in a six furlong allowance race at Santa Anita, where he earned a lifetime best Beyer Speed Figure of 104.
Ridden by Martin Garcia, Secret Circle took the overland route to victory. Well wide while in mid-pack down the backstretch, Garcia circled some six wide around the turn and into the stretch. He overtook Gentleman's Bet inside the sixteenth pole then held off a late-closing Laugh Track to secure the win.
The final time was 1:08.73.
"I had a really good trip," Garcia said. "My horse was outside and the whole field was inside of me. I took advantage from there because I knew I had the best horse. I saw the other horse (Laugh Track) coming up on the outside and my horse started messing around but by then it was too late to beat me.”
"He's an amazing horse," continued Baffert's assistant Jimmy Barnes. "It you look at his form, you'll see he's only been beaten twice. That last race of his, he ran in 1:07 (1:07.98) and the race didn't take anything out of him. He's a big, strong, resilient horse and the way he had to run today, coming from out of it, just makes him all the more amazing."
Secret Circle is unbeaten in four starts at the six furlong distance, including a victory in the 2011 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint. His previous Graded wins came in the Rebel S. (G2) and Southwest S. (G3), both at Oaklawn Park in 2012.
“I didn't know if he could get back in form (in time) give Bobby a lot of credit for getting him ready this soon,” said co-owner Paul Weitman of Secret Circle's year-plus layoff.
The Sprint was the second win on the day for the Baffert-Garcia duo. They won the $2 million Juvenile (G1) with Gary and Mary West's New Year's Day.
Baffert now has 10 Breeders' Cup wins, second-most of any trainer.