Masochistic heads light BC work tab at Santa Anita; Baffert discusses American Pharoah

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TwinSpires Staff

October 25th, 2015

Edited Press Release

Grade 1 winner Masochistic headed a relatively light Breeders’ Cup work tab at Santa Anita Park on Sunday.

The Sought After gelding readied for the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) with a bullet five-eighths move in :58.40 over the fast main track. With Baltazar Contreras aboard, Masochistic recorded the fastest of 50 drills at the distance, the average time of which was 1:01.67.

Masochistic’s fractional times were :34.80 and :46.40, according to Santa Anita clocker Dane Nelson.

“It was awesome,” trainer Ron Ellis said of the five-year-old  bay, who departs Tuesday for Keeneland and the October 31 Sprint. “It was as easy as we could get him to go.”

Multiple Grade 1 scorer Obviously, pre-entered to the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), and dual Grade 2 victor Big John B, a candidate for the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), worked on Santa Anita’s firm turf course for Phil D’Amato.

Obviously recorded five furlongs in a bullet 1:00.80, breezing, and Big John B got the same distance in 1:03. The splits were :23.60 and :37.20 for Obviously, and :38 and 1:03 for Big John B.

Grade 2 heroine and last-out Rodeo Drive S. (G1) runner-up Elektrum posted five grassy panels in 1:02.80 for trainer John Sadler ahead of the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1).

At 7:45 a.m. (PDT) on Monday, 10 minutes after the second renovation break, Santa Anita will restrict the main track to Breeders’ Cup workers only, including Triple Crown champion American Pharoah.

The popular colt is scheduled to work a half-mile under jockey Martin Garcia on Monday before leaving Tuesday for Keeneland where the three-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile runs Saturday in his final race, the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).

After the Classic, it’s life as a stallion at Coolmore Ashford Stud near Versailles, Kentucky.

“He fulfilled a goal for me that I wanted but thought was probably unreachable, and that was to win the Triple Crown,” trainer Bob Baffert said.

“When I first got into the business, I felt if I could just win a Breeders’ Cup race it would be great, because winning a Breeders’ Cup is probably a little easier than a (three-year-old) Classic. But to win a Derby and then three more, and going through the Triple Crown three times before winning, I thought was pretty incredible.

“I just asked the Lord, ‘Give me one more shot, because I think I’ve got it down,’ and this horse came along and answered my prayers,” said Baffert, who turns 63 on January 13.

“It was emotional for me because unfortunately my parents weren’t around to see it and they were always my biggest fans. My mother always said I was going to win one. She’d say in her little Spanish accent, ‘You’re going to do it.’ That’s what made it so emotional for me.”

Baffert’s father, Bill, died in 2012. His mother, Ellie, died a year earlier.

“(American Pharoah’s) Belmont (G1) is the first time I’ve run a horse and never rooted for it,” he said. “I just watched in amazement, and that’s really rare. I always root and scream my lungs out, but watching him, I just knew he was going to do it. There was something about him that’s so special.

“His retirement is emotional for us because we’re used to seeing him every day, and he’s such a kind horse. It’s always tough when you see your good horses leave, but he’s so special because he put our whole team on a different level. I never thought I’d get there, and only 12 of us have been there.

“The Breeders’ Cup is a different vibe for me. It will be exciting, but it’s more of an end-of-the-year, big payday with big purses, not like the Triple Crown races.

“All my kids got to enjoy them with me, and what more can you accomplish in this sport after you win the Triple Crown?”

Masochistic photo courtesy of Benoit Photos