11/04/2011 4:24PM

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint: Secret Circle scores as heavy favorite

Barbara D. Livingston
Secret Circle holds off Shumoos to win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint by one length.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Secret Circle entered Friday’s inaugural $500,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint as the 2-5 favorite. More important, he exited it a winner with the potential to become one of the favorites for next year’s Kentucky Derby.

Busting out of the gate under regular rider Rafael Bejarano, Secret Circle ran the other speed into submission and had enough left in the stretch to score a one-length victory over late-running British invader Shumoos.

A 2-year-old son of Eddington, Secret Circle raced six furlongs in 1:10.52 and paid $2.80 to win.

Winning trainer Bob Baffert - who trains Secret Circle for Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman - said he was concerned at a couple of stages of the race. First, in the early stages, when Secret Circle was pushing Trinniberg to a quarter-mile in 20.96 seconds, and later in the stretch when Secret Circle began to drift out in the middle of the track after surged to a three-length midstretch advantage.

Bejarano said Secret Circle drifted because he was struggling somewhat over a wet, drying-out racetrack, officially labeled "good."

Garrett Gomez, who rode Shumoos, praised her runner-up performance after she was reluctant to load in the starting gate and nervous awaiting other starters.

Advancing swiftly along the inside in early stretch, she looked like she might challenge the winner but flattened out late.

“I really thought I had a good chance to get him,” Gomez said.

None of the seven other starters came close to the winner.

Longshot Holdin Bullets ran a distant third, and was followed by Seeker in fourth. Jake Mo, Sum of the Parts, Trinniberg, Blacky the Bull, and Vexor completed the order of finish.

The poor finish from pacesetting Trinniberg proved costly after the colt was supplemented for $100,000.

Baffert, who notched his eighth Breeders’ Cup victory with Secret Circle’s triumph, was noncommittal regarding where his colt would run next but noted Secret Circle will eventually get the opportunity to stretch his speed beyond the six-furlong distance of the Juvenile Sprint.

“Down the road we’ll give him his chance,” he said.