10/12/2011 12:59PM

Breeders' Cup: Amazombie bound for Sprint after Ancient Title win

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Amazombie earned a spot in the Breeders' Cup Sprint with his win in the Ancient Title Stakes.

Another spot in the starting gate filled for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint when Amazombie circled the field under jockey Mike Smith to capture last Saturday’s Win and You’re In Ancient Title at Santa Anita. The victory was sweet for trainer Bill Spawr, who owns Amazombie in partnership with Thomas Sanford, in light of the gelding’s controversial disqualification in the Grade 3 Los Angeles Handicap earlier this year at Hollywood Park.

The Grade 1 Ancient Title was one of two Breeders’ Cup Challenge Win and You’re In races decided last weekend for the Sprint, along with the Grade 3 Phoenix over Polytrack at Keeneland, which was won by Hoofit in a tight photo over Aikenite.

But unlike Amazombie, who is headed to the Sprint, trainer Graham Motion said Hoofit is not going to run in the Sprint, with his only possible goal on Breeders’ Cup Day at Churchill Downs being the Turf Sprint.

Spawr said Amazombie will fly to Louisville on either the Sunday or Tuesday before the Nov. 5 Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

“I’ve started three other horses in the Sprint, but I believe Amazombie gives me the best chance I’ve ever had to win the race,” Spawr said.
Spawr sent out Bordonaro to finish fourth in the 2006 Sprint and sixth in 2007 as well as Music Merci to finish sixth in 1993.

“I think his best races are on conventional dirt and Mike [Smith] says he just feels different on dirt,” Spawr said. “Our horse’s style, the way the Sprint may potentially set up with a lot of speed, and the long stretch at Churchill Downs, all should be to our advantage.”

Motion definitely ruled out the Sprint for Hoofit, who has never raced over dirt. Although Hoofit can apply the Sprint Win and You’re In entry fees toward the Turf Sprint, he does not get an automatic berth in the race and also will have to be supplemented since he is not Breeders’ Cup eligible.

Trainer Todd Pletcher confirmed Tuesday that Aikenite will be considered for both the Sprint and Dirt Mile, while Bob Baffert said The Factor remains on target for the Sprint, despite his fourth-place finish as the odds-on favorite in the Ancient Title.