, winner of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint
and the 2011 Eclipse Award as the nation’s top sprinter, will defend
his title against six other top sprinters in Saturday’s Grade I Santa
Anita Sprint Championship (formerly run as the Ancient Title). The race
will serve as a final prep for the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Sprint to be run
at The Great Race Place Nov. 3.
The Santa Anita Sprint Championship, to be contested at six furlongs, is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race.
Owned by Thomas Sanford and Bill Spawr, the 6-year-old gelding by
Northern Afleet is also trained by Spawr. A winner of the Grade I Bing
Crosby Stakes July 29 at Del Mar, Amazombie has been training forwardly
since returning to Santa Anita, evidenced by his 1:13.60 six furlong
drill here on Saturday.
“He went the first quarter in 25 and one (fifth) and the last in
24 flat,” said Spawr. “He galloped out in (seven furlongs) in 1:26 and
two. I’m very happy.”
Amazombie broke from the rail post in the Bing Crosby and has
shown the kind of early speed that enables him to secure a
forwardly-placed early position if wanted. Last year’s Breeders’ Cup at
Churchill Downs was an exception, as Amazombie was fifth, 6 ½ lengths
off the lead after the first quarter mile.
He’ll once again be ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith, who has
been aboard the Spawr trainee in his last nine races, with five
first-place finishes. Amazombie’s complete record is 27-12-5-6, with
earnings of $1,905,378.
A winner of the Grade I Triple Bend Handicap on June 30, Camp
Victory was most recently third, beaten 1 ½ lengths in the Grade II Pat
O’Brien Handicap on Aug. 26. The Mike Mitchell trainee is without doubt
one of the toughest sprinters on the West Coast and should give a good
account of himself on Saturday. Owned by Featherston, Jacobsen or
Miller, Camp Victory has been assigned co-high weight along with
Amazombie of 124 pounds. The 5-year-old Virginia-bred gelding has a
24-8-3-3 record with $547,986 in money-won.
Capital Account, who is trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert,
comes off a solid win in Del Mar’s Pat O’Brien Stakes on Aug. 26 going
seven furlongs and was third, beaten 1 ½ lengths by Amazombie in the
A winner of two of his last three starts with David Flores up,
the 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Closing Argument has never been off
the board in nine career starts and has record of 4-1-2-1 at Santa
Anita. Owned by Thoroughbred Legends Racing Stable, his overall mark is
9-5-2-2, with a bankroll of $347,080.
Baffert will also send out the highly regarded Coil, who was
second, beaten a half length by Capital Account as the 7-5 favorite in
the Pat O’Brien.
Coil, 4-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by Point Given, has an
impressive resume that includes a Grade I win in last year’s Haskell
Invitational Stakes at Monmouth Park.
Although he amassed a bankroll of $755,200 in six starts last
year, all but one of them routing, Coil has been relegated to sprints in
his two previous starts this year. He is owned by Karl Watson, Mike
Pegram and Paul Weitman.
The lone 3-year-old in the Santa Anita Sprint lineup is
Spendthrift Farm’s Jimmy Creed, who will cut back in distance following a
big second-place finish to the highly regarded Fed Biz in the one mile
El Cajon Stakes on Aug. 31 at Del Mar.
On speed figures, Jimmy Creed ran the best race of his career in
the El Cajon, earning a 103 Beyer while pressing the pace throughout.
Trained by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella, Jimmy creed is 2-2 at six
furlongs and the Kentucky-bred son of Distorted Humor has an overall
mark of 4-2-2-0, with earnings of $103,000.
The complete field for the Santa Anita Sprint Championship,
which will be run as the eighth race on a 10-race card, with jockeys and
weights in post position order: Castletown, Edwin Maldonado, 119;
Amazombie, 124, Mike Smith; Coil, Martin Garcia, 119; Camp Victory, Joe
Talamo, 124; Capital Account, David Flores, 119; Jimmy Creed, Garrett
Gomez, 118, and Reneesgotzip, Corey Nakatani, 115.