May 17, 2024

Anarchist earns Breeders’ Cup berth with comfortable Pat O’Brien score

Anarchist wins the Pat O'Brien at Del Mar (Photo © Benoit Photo)

Second in the San Simeon (G3) and Kona Gold (G3) at Santa Anita. Second in the True North (G2) at Belmont Park behind champion Elite Power. Second in the Bing Crosby (G1) at Del Mar, beaten only a head.

After finishing second in six of his first seven 2023 starts, Anarchist appeared to be suffering from a severe case of second-itis, with only a victory in Woodbine’s Jacques Cartier (G3) on synthetic providing a respite.

But perhaps the durable Doug O’Neill trainee has found a cure. In his eighth run of the season, while making his sixth consecutive start in a graded stakes, Anarchist snatched first prize in the seven-furlong Pat O’Brien (G2) on Saturday at Del Mar.

A perfect ride from jockey Ramon Vazquez played a part. Intense early fractions of :21.49 and :44.44 set by the dueling duo of Brickyard Ride and Vivir Con Alegria proved destructive to the speed horses, including the pace-tracking Spirit of Makena. Rather than allow Anarchist to participate in the pace, Vazquez reserved his mount in fifth position early on, 3 3/4 lengths off the lead.

Vazquez allowed Anarchist to draw closer while racing wide around the turn, and when the leaders faltered Anarchist found himself with a clear advantage. Deep closers gained some ground down the lane, but Anarchist was always in control and came to the finish line clear by three-quarters of a length in 1:23.21.

“He was good today; full of run,” said Vazquez. “I took a little hold on him and he was fine with it. Then when I asked him, he really went. He was a runner today.”

Anarchist picked a good time to visit the winner’s circle, for the Pat O’Brien awards a “Win and You’re In” berth to the 2023 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Santa Anita.

“We loved when they drew the race and he was on the outside,” said O’Neill. “Ramon saved a lot of energy and he got good position. Angelo and James, the owners of the horse, we all wanted to try and make the finish line the quarter pole. If you can win the quarter pole, you’ve got a chance to win. He doesn’t have a big stretch run, but he grinds it out, and we were hoping if he was leading turning for home we’d have a big chance, and it worked out perfectly.”

Finishing second in the Pat O’Brien was Bye Bye Bobby, a 33-1 longshot cutting back in distance off a third-place finish in the 1 1/2-mile Cougar II (G3) at Del Mar. Despite trailing by 15 1/4 lengths after the opening quarter-mile, Bye Bye Bobby gobbled up ground in the homestretch to snatch second prize from two-time Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) runner-up C Z Rocket, who finished another length back in third place.

Sir Atticus, Spirit of Makena, Hoist the Gold, Moose Mitchell, Brickyard Ride, Vivir Con Alegria, and Go Joe Won completed the order of finish.

Bred by Centaur Farms and owned by Ilium Stables, Anarchist is a four-year-old son of Distorted Humor out of the Elusive Quality mare Vicarious Won. He started as the 5-2 favorite in the Pat O’Brien and banked $150,000, boosting his career earnings to $460,508 from a 12-3-7-0 lifetime record.