Elite Power repeats in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)
Breeders’ Cup Press Release
ARCADIA, Calif.— Juddmonte’s Elite Power took over at mid-stretch and eased away from Gunite by a half-length to win the 40th running of the $2 million Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) for 3-year-olds and up and become the third back-to-back winner of the race Saturday afternoon at Santa Anita to close out the World Championships.
Trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., Elite Power covered the 6 furlongs in 1:08.34 over a fast track. It is the third victory of the weekend for Mott and Ortiz and back-to-back wins for the duo in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Ortiz also won the 2020 Sprint with Whitmore at Keeneland.
The other horses to repeat in the Sprint are Roy H in 2017-2018 and Midnight Lute in 2007-2008.
Speed Boat Beach led the field through an opening quarter in :21.99 but by the time he completed a half-mile in :44.35, he had company on the front end in Gunite as Elite Power was beginning a three-wide move.
At the head of the stretch, Gunite took over but was quickly joined by Elite Power as Speed Boat Beach backed out of the fray. Elite Power gradually eased away from Gunite to secure the victory.
Gunite held second by a half-length over Nakatomi, who finished a length in front of Speed Boat Beach.
The victory was worth $1,040,000 and increased Elite Power’s earnings to $3,775,711 with a record of 13-9-1-1.
Elite Power is a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Curlin out of the Vindication mare Broadway’s Alibi.
Winning trainer Bill Mott, Elite Power – “It’s a difficult job to keep a horse going year after year. To come back and win two Breeders’ Cups in a row says a lot about the durability of the horse and the luck that I have. We were lucky enough to have him and he’s had a great career. He’s off to his new career which will be in the stud barn and we wish him all the best. Irad (Ortiz Jr.) warmed him up good and he said he wanted to be close to the pace without using him too hard. He recognized all day that the only horse to come from behind was Cody’s Wish and he is observant enough to see that. The rivalry with Gunite was there and he certainly showed up. I thought he was the one we had to beat.”
Winning jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., Elite Power – “I had a beautiful trip. I was in the clear early and the horse took me beautifully right to the quarter pole. I was a good passenger sitting in the passenger’s seat until the quarter pole. Then I asked him and he just responded well.”
Second-place trainer Steve Asmussen, Gunite – “He’s beyond cool. I just love him. They go 1:08.34 here and he ran so well. I’m very proud of who he’s always been and how he shows up. He’s been unbelievably hickory for us. A tremendous animal.”
Second-place jockey Tyler Gaffalione, Gunite – “I’m very proud of my horse. This was probably the best race he’s run all year. It’s a shame he got defeated. My hat’s off to the winner. He ran a huge race. At the top of the stretch I thought I was going to get by him (Speed Boat Beach), but obviously, the concern was Elite Power. I was trying to keep him down inside of me on the backstretch, but I peeked in and he disappeared, so I figured he was on my outside. My horse was really running for me. He gave me his all.”
Third-place trainer Wesley Ward, Nakatomi – “He ran great. We’re really happy. Sheikh Fahad sponsors the race and he ran really big to be third. He had to check there at the three-eighths pole. He came around them and came running again. (Going forward to contest the lead) was never the plan.”
Third-place jockey Luis Saez, Nakatomi – “He broke from the inside and tried very hard. He was right there and finished strong. Very tough horses in the field but he tried.”
Fourth-place assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes, Speed Boat Beach – “He went to the front and I didn’t think he was going too fast. He just didn’t finish up.”