Elite Power Goes Out On Top With Successful Title Defense In Sprint

Elite Power | Horsephotos

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A rivalry in any sport makes it more exciting. People tune in to watch a pair of foes with a well-established history of beating one another give it another go. And so it was that Elite Power (Curlin), in his final start before retiring to stud next year, came home first in front of his long-time rival Gunite (Gun Runner) to defend his title in the GI Qatar Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Last year's Eclipse Champion Male Sprinter, Elite Power kept his good form going into 2023 and defeated Gunite for the first time in the Middle East with a 3 1/4-length score in the G3 Riyadh Dirt Sprint. After winning both the GII True North S. and the GI Alfred G. Vanderbilt H.–defeating Gunite for a second time in the latter–the 5-year-old saw his win streak end at eight races when the tables were turned in his last race and he had to settle for second in the GI Forego S.

Off a two-month layoff, the Bill Mott trainee shipped west for the first time and was given a deserving 8-5 shot on a day that had already seen a pair of horses successfully defend their crowns. With rival Gunite breaking just to his outside, Elite Power broke in a line that only Speed Boat Beach (Bayern) was quick enough to clear. Nakatomi (Firing Line) was not going to let the Baffert runner get an easy lead and the 26-1 longshot surged up along the inside to stick a head in front through a contentious opening quarter in :21.99. Elite Power, running near the back of the field, kept his face clean along the outside and really began to pick it up as Speed Boat Beach again tried to open up on the front end. Moving three wide with an impressive move to draw to within a length of the leading pair at the top of the lane, the Juddmonte runner really turned it on once he switched leads at the eighth pole. Speed Boat Beach and Nakatomi both began to fade along the rail as Gunite surged up but he had to tip outside of that pair for running room as Elite Power was already finding his best stride close to the wire. And, just as they had in their last three starts against one another, Elite Power and Gunite came home one in front of the other. The win gave Juddmonte a second on the day following Idiomatic (Curlin) in the Distaff and was a third win on the weekend for trainer Bill Mott.

“It's a difficult job to keep a horse going year after year,” admitted Mott. “To come back and win two Breeders' Cups in a row says a lot about the durability of the horse and the luck that I have. We were lucky enough to have him and he's had a great career. He's off to his new career which will be in the stud barn and we wish him all the best. Irad [Ortiz Jr.] warmed him up good and he said he wanted to be close to the pace without using him too hard. He recognized all day that the only horse to come from behind was Cody's Wish and he is observant enough to see that. The rivalry with Gunite was there and he certainly showed up. I thought he was the one we had to beat.”

“I had a beautiful trip,” added Ortiz, Jr. “I was in the clear early and the horse took me beautifully right to the quarter pole. I was a good passenger sitting in the passenger's seat until the quarter pole. Then I asked him and he just responded well.”

Pedigree Note:

Elite Power, a $900,000 KEESEP yearling, is one of 55 graded winners, 21 at the Grade I level, for the super-sire Curlin. His dam Broadway's Alibi, a MGSW & GI Kentucky Oaks runner-up and Robsham homebred, brought $2.15 million from Alpha Delta Stables while in foal to Smart Strike at the 2013 KEENOV sale. Broadway's Alibi is also represented by a Curlin colt of 2021. She was bred to City of Light for 2023. Further back in the family, Elite Power's fourth dam is champion 2-year-old filly and GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies heroine Eliza (Mt. Livermore). This is also the family of GISW and sire Dialed In (Mineshaft). Elite Power will stand stud for Juddmonte next year at an introductory fee of $50,000.

“I know, Bill [Mott] would like me to say otherwise, but we're going to retire him to stud,” said Juddmonte' Garrett O'Rourke. “I think he's earned it. He's a very masculine horse, and I bet he'll enjoy it. He's got all the credentials to be a tremendous stallion. I think breeders will just swarm to him. Twice, he's surely sewn up the championship two years in a row, and that's pretty special.”

Elite Power's unnamed 2-year-old full-brother, the last reported foal out of Broadway's Alibi, has yet to race but has been spotted on the worktab.

 

Saturday, Santa Anita Park
QATAR RACING BREEDERS' CUP SPRINT-GI, $1,800,000, Santa Anita, 11-4, 3yo/up, 6f, 1:08.34, ft.
1–ELITE POWER, 126, h, 5, by Curlin
         1st Dam: Broadway's Alibi (MGSW & GISP, $521,500), by Vindication
         2nd Dam: Broadway Gold, by Seeking the Gold
         3rd Dam: Miss Doolittle, by Storm Cat
($900,000 Ylg '19 KEESEP). O-Juddmonte; B-Alpha Delta Stables, LLC (KY); T-William I. Mott; J-Irad Ortiz, Jr.. $1,040,000. Lifetime Record: Ch. Male Sprinter, 13-9-1-1, $3,775,711. Click for the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Gunite, 126, c, 4, Gun Runner–Simple Surprise, by Cowboy Cal. O/B-Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC (KY); T-Steven M. Asmussen. $340,000.
3–Nakatomi, 126, g, 4, Firing Line–Applelicious, by Flatter.
1ST G1 BLACK TYPE. ($18,000 Wlg '19 KEENOV; $25,000 Ylg '20 FTKOCT; $205,000 4yo '23 FTKHRA). O-Qatar Racing LLC and Hay, Mrs. Fitriani; B-Arnold Zetcher LLC & Crestwood Farm (KY); T-Wesley A. Ward. $180,000.
Margins: 1HF, HF, 1. Odds: 1.70, 3.10, 26.60.
Also Ran: Speed Boat Beach, The Chosen Vron, Hoist the Gold, Dr. Schivel, Three Technique. Scratched: American Theorem.
Click for the Equibase.com chart or the TJCIS.com PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

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