Before the big showdown in the October 31 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Keeneland, there will be a smaller showdown on Saturday as Masochistic and Wild Dude face off yet again in the $300,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship S. (G1).

The six-furlong contest drew a field of eight, including the aforementioned pair as well as Gimme Da Lute and San Onofre. All will be vying for a guaranteed spot in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint as the Santa Anita Sprint Championship is part of the “Win & You’re In” Challenge series.

Five-year-old Masochistic is relatively lightly raced with just nine career starts on his record. However, during that time the bay gelding has racked up wins in the Triple Bend S. (G1) and Kona Gold S. (G2) along with a runner-up effort last out in the Bing Crosby S. (G1). The Ron Ellis pupil has finished worse than second just once and boasts a 6-2-0 mark heading into the Santa Anita Sprint Championship.

Wild Dude was the one who beat Masochistic in the Bing Crosby, but that followed him running third to that self-same rival in the Triple Bend. While Masochistic hasn’t competed since the July 26 Bing Crosby, Wild Dude was last seen just missing by a half-length in the Pat O’Brien S. (G2) on August 22 for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

Gimme Da Lute earned his fourth straight victory just seven days after the Pat O’Brien, taking the El Cajon S. at Del Mar by a half-length. The Bob Baffert pupil began his current win streak in the Affirmed S. (G3) at Santa Anita Park on June 7, was next seen getting his nose down to triumph in the Los Alamitos Derby (G2) on Independence Day and entered the El Cajon off a 12-length romp against fellow California-breds in the Real Good Deal S. on August 2.

Like Masochistic, five-year-old San Onofre is another lightly raced runner showing just nine career starts. The bay gelding strung together four straight wins after breaking his maiden by 10 lengths in November 2013 but saw that streak broken when second in his 2015 debut in the California Cup Sprint S. in late January. San Onofre posted another pair of seconds over the spring in the Kona Gold and Los Angeles S. (G3), and was fourth most recently in the Triple Bend.

Earlier on Santa Anita’s Saturday program, 11 will line up for the $100,000 Eddie D. S. (G3) going about 6 1/2 furlongs on the downhill turf. One race following the Santa Anita Sprint Championship 12 go in the $70,000 Swingtime S. at a mile on the grass.

Masochistic photo courtesy of Benoit Photos