June 8, 2023

Four Wheel Drive takes Juvenile Turf Sprint to give American Pharoah first Breeders’ Cup win

Four Wheel Drive wins the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint 2019

From the first crop of 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, Four Wheel Drive seized the advantage at the start and led all the way in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita. The five-furlong turf affair kicked off the Future Stars Friday program and Irad Ortiz Jr. was up for owner Breeze Easy LLC and trainer Wesley Ward.

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Four Wheel Drive remained unbeaten winning by three-quarters of a length and stopped the teletimer in :55.66 after recording splits in :21.55 and :44.03 on a clear lead. A 3 ¼-length debut winner in the Rosie’s S. at Colonial Downs in late August, the bay colt was exiting a three-length score in the October 6 Futurity (G3) on Belmont’s turf.

Favored at 3-2 odds, Four Wheel Drive was chased the entire way by 12-1 Chimney Rock, who edged closer in deep stretch while never a serious threat to the winner. It was another 1 ½ lengths back to the late-running Another Miracle in third at 19-1. Another Miracle is also a son of freshman sire American Pharoah.

Kimari, who lost all chance when breaking slowly as the 5-2 second choice for Ward, came next in fourth and was followed by Dr. Simpson, Encoder, Dream Shot, Alligator Alley, Cambria, A’Ali, King Neptune and Band Practice.

Bred in Kentucky by Glenvale Stud, Four Wheel Drive sold for $525,000 at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Yearling Sale. He is out of the stakes-winning More Than Ready mare Funfair.

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint Quotes

 Winning Trainer Wesley Ward (Four Wheel Drive) – “We got it. It’s great for the owners, fantastic for Coolmore (where American Pharoah stands), fantastic for everyone that put a lot of money behind American Pharoah. There is a lot riding on him as far as how his progeny will turn out. For this horse to turn out to be a Breeders’ Cup winner is sensational.

RELATED: Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint Transcript

“He (Four Wheel Drive) is a real cool dude. He takes it all in. He popped right out like a real professional horse will and he kind of settled. When (Ortiz) called upon him, away he went.”

Winning Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. (Four Wheel Drive) – “I got a good trip. He broke good and put me on the lead. He was relaxed and turning for home when I asked him, he responded. He ran really well. He’s a nice horse”

Second-Place Trainer Mike Maker (Chimney Rock) – “He ran great. No complaints. We’ll get through today and figure it out tomorrow. I don’t think five furlongs is his best distance, so we have been trying to keep him a little sharper and close to the pace and that worked out.” 

Second-Place Jockey Jose Ortiz (Chimney Rock) – “He broke alertly, rated behind the leader and responded when I asked him.  I wasn’t sure if we were going to catch the winner, but he was really trying.  Good race.  They are both are really nice horses.”

Third-Place Trainer Gary Contessa (Another Miracle) – “He’s smaller in stature and he really got beat up going down the backside. He was like a ping pong ball, just in the wrong place with three or four horses inside of him and three outside of him, and you see him beat up. Then to overcome that and come running and finish third, I thought he ran a heck of a race. I’m very proud of him today.”

Third-Place Jockey Manuel Franco (Another Miracle) – “I had a very good trip. At the beginning, the two horse (Band Practice) was trying to get to the same hole I was and he kind of pushed me out a little bit. Then, I was able to do whatever I wanted after that. I couldn’t ask for a better trip. He ran great. He tried so hard today. He was there for me the whole way. He did his best.”