Reigning champion male sprinter Elite Power is in line to earn another championship title after ending his career with a second straight victory in Saturday’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).
Elite Power came to Santa Anita as the 17-10 favorite after winning three of his four starts in 2023. Early victories in the Riyadh Dirt Sprint (G3), True North (G2), and Alfred G. Vanderbilt H. (G1) preceded a pace-compromised runner-up finish in the Forego (G1) at Saratoga, a defeat bettors willingly forgave when Elite Power returned to the Breeders’ Cup off sharp workouts.
The bettors got it right. Under a perfect ride from Irad Ortiz Jr., stretch-running Elite Power stayed closer to the pace than usual. Although racing in seventh place after an opening quarter-mile in :21.99 set by the dueling duo of Speed Boat Beach and Nakatomi, Elite Power was only 3 1/4 lengths off the lead. Ortiz then allowed Elite Power to unleash a strong mid-race move to third place by 1 1/2 lengths through half a mile in :44.35.
Speed Boat Beach still led in midstretch, but was growing leg-weary as Elite Power hit top gear. With a powerful finish in the final furlong, Elite Power wore down the leaders to prevail by 1 1/2 lengths in the fast time of 1:08.34.
“I had a beautiful trip,” said Ortiz. “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.”
Conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, Elite Power is a five-year-old son of Curlin out of Broadway’s Alibi, by Vindication. Saturday’s triumph gave Curlin a third Breeders’ Cup winner in 2023—following Cody’s Wish in the Dirt Mile (G1) and Idiomatic in the Distaff (G1)—and marked the eighth time a horse sired by Curlin’s has won a Breeders’ Cup race, breaking the all-time record.
“It’s a difficult job to keep a horse going year after year,” said 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.
“Irad 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.”
Gunite, who capitalized on a slow pace to conquer Elite Power in the Forego, tracked the pace throughout and fought on to finish second by half a length over Nakatomi, who re-rallied after dropping back around the turn. Speed Boat Beach faded to fourth place, followed by The Chosen Vron, Hoist the Gold, Dr. Schivel, and Three Technique.
Bred by Alpha Delta Stables and owned by Juddmonte, Elite Power retires with a decorated 13-9-1-1 record, good for earnings of $3,775,711. After losing the first three starts of his career, Elite Power won nine of his remaining 10 races, including six graded stakes.
“He’s off to his new career which will be in the stud barn and we wish him all the best,” said Mott.