Mitole mows down Shancelot to win Breeders' Cup Sprint

November 02, 2019 05:42pm

Over a track that wasn’t playing on the side of horses coming from anywhere off the pace, Mitole still ran his race Saturday to make history in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita Park.

The surefire Eclipse Award winner chased down Shancelot — who actually went off as the favorite over older rival Mitole — while finishing six furlongs in 1:09 under jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. Mitole finished 1 1/4-lengths in front of Shancelot with another 2 1/4-lengths back to Whitore.

“I had a lot of confidence in my horse," Santana said. "He’s a horse I’ve been riding since he was 2 ears 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.”

The victory capped a nearly perfect season that also enshrined Mitole as the second horse to win the Met Mile (G1) and Sprint in the same year following Gulch in 1988. Mitole returned $5.60.

This was the first Breeders' Cup win for Santana. For Asmussen, this was his seventh Breeders' Cup win and first in the Sprint for the Hall of Famer. 

“He is so easy to be around, nothing but class and the ability he has is just tremendous," Asmussen said. "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, to retract from that and beat the best sprinters in the world and run in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint as opposed to the 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.”

Bound for Spendthrift Farm and a breeding career next year, Mitole caught Shancelot, who set swift fractions before wearing down late. He opened up in a blazing 21.47 and 44.04 before Mitole nudged by late to strike.

Shancelot trainer Jorge Navarro offered nothing but praise for both his horse and the winner.

“No complaints," Navarro said. "Look at the horse who beat us. He’s the top sprinter in the nation, probably the world. To be second to him, guess what I have for next year, and by himself. It was fine. We’re good. I’m very proud of him. I feel like a winner."

Mitole is campaigned by Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt, longtime clients of Asmussen.

The Sprint was left without its co-second choice Saturday when veterinarians scratched Imperial Hint due to a minor foot issue. Trainer Luis Carvajal Jr. said he’s hopeful the 6-year-old will run again this season with plans to stay in training next year.


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