Wild Dude, a 5-year-old son of the late Journeyman Stud stallion Wildcat Heir, drew post position No. 8 for Saturday’s $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Keeneland.
Fresh off a Grade 1 win in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship Oct 3, Wild Dude galloped 1 ½ miles on the Keeneland main track on Wednesday and schooled in the walking ring between races on Thursday.
Wild Dude is campaigned by trainer Jerry Hollendorfer in partnership with Green Smith. The Florida-bred totes a hefty bankroll into the Sprint, having earned $954,887. Wild Dude is a winner in seven of 18 lifetime starts. In addition to the Santa Anita Sprint Championship, Wild Dude also annexed the Bing Crosby Stakes (G1) at Del Mar over the summer.
Usually a stalker, Wild Dude parlayed a change in tactics from jockey Rafael Bejarano into a game victory in his latest Grade 1 triumph. Wild Dude raced in fourth position early in the Santa Anita Championship, 15 lengths off the leader early. He closed with gusty, however, to prevail by a neck, while getting six furlongs in 1:09.45.
Hollendorfer admitted to the Breeders’ Cup notes team this week that he wasn’t expecting that kind of trip for his charge.
“For me, I was thinking, ‘Rafael, what are you doing right there?’ But apparently he knows more about how to rate them than I do,” Hollendorfer said. “That worked out well. He got a good, fast pace. I don’t know what the pace will be in the Sprint, but I suspect it will be plenty fast.”