Wild Dude unleashed a furious stretch kick to mow down favored Masochistic and held off late-running Kobe’s Back to prevail by a neck in Saturday’s Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship.
The 5-year-old Florida-bred by the late Wildcat Heir, covered six furlongs in 1:09.45 for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. A winner of the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes two starts back and most recently a close second in the Grade 2 Pat O’Brien Stakes, Wild Dude stamped his ticket to the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Keeneland Oct. 31.
“I saw the fractions a little late (21.44, 43.93 and 56.64), but when I saw the 43 and change go up, I thought we had a chance,” said Hollendorfer. “Then I started thinking Kobe’s Back was going to close, too, and he did. “I think we will (go on to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint) if he comes out of this good. Nobody knows right now when they’ll ship because of the weather conditions back there.”
Owned by Hollendorfer and Green B. Smith, Wild Dude picked up $180,000 for the win, improving his bankroll to $954,887. In getting his fourth win from six starts at six furlongs, he improved his overall record to 18-7-4-4.
“I let him relax and let him finish like he has won before,” said Rafael Bejarano. “His style is to come from behind and make one run. He’s getting better and he’s been working great in the mornings.”