C Z Rocket schooling at the gate. Coady Photography
Elite Power, Jackie’s Warrior
Breeders’ Cup Notes/Edited
LEXINGTON, Ky.—Altamira Racing Stable and Madaket Stable’s 8YO veteran sprinter C Z Rocket will make his third consecutive start in the Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) on Saturday for trainer Peter Miller, breaking from post eight of 11 under Flavien Prat.
Second in 2020 at Keeneland after a troubled trip and seventh in 2021 after a slow start, the son of City Zip will seek better fortunes in 2022. The only time he has teamed with Prat resulted in a victory in the 2020 Pat O’Brien Stakes at Del Mar.
“In 2020 we didn’t have our best trip and things didn’t go well. I think with a better trip, we maybe could have won it with him,” Miller said. “We broke way inside of Whitmore and wound up running 30-or-so more feet than Whitmore. All credit to Whitmore, but we felt compromised by our trip.
“I like our post with him,” Miller continued. “I like being outside. He’s drawn the rail in the last four races, so it’s nice to get off the fence. He’s a fresher horse this year and his last race was his best race and I think he’s coming up to an equal or better race. We need a pace setup, and it should be hot, so I’m optimistic. He loves this racetrack, that’s for sure.”
The 12-time winner will be making his 35th lifetime start Saturday and has raced four times in 2022, including a nose loss in last month’s Santa Anita Sprint Championship.
Juddmonte’s Elite Power will try to extend his win streak to five on Saturday for trainer Bill Mott in the Sprint when the 4yo son of Curlin breaks from post six of 11 under Irad Ortiz Jr. Assigned third-choice morning line odds of 6-1, the $900,000 Keeneland September 2019 purchase has started just seven times, five of those in 2022, including a “Win and You’re In” victory in the Vosburgh last month.
“He’s been a late developer and didn’t break his maiden until he was a 4-year-old,” Mott said. “He’s a horse who really took a lot of patience. He ran late in his 3-year-old year and his bones were still developing. We had problems with his shins and had to get a couple races in him just for the experience and then gave him the winter off. He has repaid us.
“He was third in his first start back as a 4-year-old and hasn’t been beaten since,” Mott continued. “He’s taken every step and done everything right.
“Is the six furlongs his ideal distance? We’ll see. I think the seven-eighths is probably a perfect distance for him, but we don’t have that option. We hope for a good honest pace up front and something that might back up a little bit and give him a shot to show himself off.”
J. Kirk and Judy Robison’s Champion Male Sprinter Jackie’s Warrior had an easy gallop Thursday as he prepares to make his third overall Breeders’ Cup appearance and second in the Qatar Racing Sprint (G1). He’ll be looking to redeem himself after last year’s sixth-place finish as the heavy 1-2 favorite in the Sprint and his fourth in the 2020 Juvenile as the 4-5 favorite.
This year, the 4yo colt has won four of five starts and comes into the 6f race having not started since his second to Cody’s Wish in the Forego Stakes Aug. 27, a move trainer Steve Asmussen said was by design.
“We brought him in here fresh because he obviously did not respond well off the top (Ragozin) number at Parx (in the Gallant Bloom) and then the trip all the way to California” Asmussen said. “But, but there’s so many variables year to year in a Breeders Cup. When you think about it, last year, the fact that we started off in Derby preps with him and then back down to the Pat Day Mile and to end the year as an Eclipse winning sprinter is something. This year, he’s been running very fast in all five of his races, including his second-place finish.”