The lightly-raced Drefong took it to older rival and favorite Masochistic in the early stages of the $1,365,000 TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), and put away that rival to claim the six-furlong, championship event Saturday at Santa Anita.
Taking over from Mike Smith, who chose to ride Masochistic rather than Drefong, Martin Garcia sent the three-year-old from his inside post position to engage Masochistic through splits of :21.49 and :44.03. Delta Bluesman, briefly in between the two, backed out around the far turn and it became a two-horse affair thereafter.
In deep stretch, Drefong fought back gamely to regain the lead and edged away to win by 1 1/4 lengths in a time of 1:08.79 over a fast track. The 7-2 third choice, Drefong returned $9.80.
Masochistic held on for second, a nose in front of longshot Mind Your Biscuits. Second choice A. P. Indian was fourth, while Lord Nelson and Joking were notable scratches earlier in the week.
Owned by Baoma Corporation and trained by Bob Baffert, Drefong has now won five of six career starts. Fifth as the favorite in his debut at Santa Anita last October, the son of multiple grass champion Gio Ponti next romped against maidens foes at Del Mar by more than nine lengths in mid-November.
Not seen again until late May, Drefong beat older foes in two Santa Anita allowances to start the season and last time overcame post 12 to take the King’s Bishop (G1) by 3 1/4 lengths in his stakes debut in late August.
“He’s been getting better and better, but we didn’t know how fast he was,” Baffert said. “He had trained so well coming into this race I thought he was peaking. When I saw him in the paddock I just knew he was going to get it done.”
Bred in Kentucky by Fred Allor, Michael Barnett, and Anthony Warrender, Drefong was a $450,000 Keeneland September purchase. He was produced by the unraced Ghostzapper mare Eltimaas, a half-sister to 2003 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner and champion Action This Day.