10/04/2012 2:59PM

Santa Anita: Sprint Championship next step in Amazombie's quest to repeat in Breeders' Cup Sprint

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Amazombie wins the Bing Crosby under his regular rider, Mike Smith, at Del Mar in his most recent start.

ARCADIA, Calif. – The 2012 campaign of the reigning sprint champion Amazombie has been built around two autumn races – Saturday’s $250,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship and the Breeders’ Cup Sprint on Nov. 3.

He won the same two races last year, when the Breeders’ Cup was held at Churchill Downs, and is prepared for another attempt in coming weeks.

They are races that co-owner and trainer Bill Spawr expects to win.

[SANTA ANITA: Get PPs, watch Saturday's full card live]

“I think this is the best he’s been, and I shouldn’t say that because it’s bad luck,” Spawr said. “We feel – myself, my employees, and Mike Smith – he’s stronger since his last race.”

Smith is the regular rider of Amazombie, who has won two of four starts this year. The wins came in the Grade 2 Potrero Grande Stakes here in April and the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar on July 29, his most recent start.

In the last few weeks, Amazombie has consistently worked fast at Santa Anita, including six furlongs in 1:13.20 on Sept. 22. That was accomplished over a track that has not produced quick times of late.

More important to Spawr, Amazombie, a 6-year-old gelding, seems to recover from his workouts with little difficulty.

[BREEDERS' CUP 2012: DRF top 10 lists, video replays, latest news]

“It’s the way he comes out of his works,” Spawr said. “He’s already cooled out when he gets back to the barn. You follow him back to the barn, and it’s like he galloped.”

Co-owned by Tom Sanford, Amazombie will be a heavy favorite in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship, which is run over six furlongs and was formerly known as the Ancient Title Stakes. The Santa Anita Sprint Championship is part of the Breeders’ Cup’s “Win and You’re In” program, offering a fees-paid berth to the BC Sprint for the winner.

Amazombie is part of a field of seven in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship and should be well-placed under Smith. Amazombie is best when stalking the pace, which should be an easy job in a race with ample speed.

The 3-year-old filly Reneesgotzip, the 3-year-old colt Jimmy Creed, and the 4-year-old gelding Castletown can contribute to a quick pace. All three are making their first starts in a Grade 1 sprint. Reneesgotzip was second in two Grade 1 races for 3-year-old fillies around two turns earlier this year – the Las Virgenes Stakes and Santa Anita Oaks.

Trainer Bob Baffert has two prominent runners – Capital Account and Coil, who were first and second in the Grade 2 Pat O’Brien Stakes at Del Mar on Aug. 26. Coil won the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational last year but has raced in sprints this year.

Camp Victory, the winner of the Grade 1 Triple Bend Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park in June and third in the Pat O’Brien, will benefit if a quick pace develops.

“He just needs a lot of speed to run at,” jockey Joe Talamo said. “The last time we had no chance to be where we wanted. They sprinted the last quarter. It didn’t set up for him.

“With a lot more speed, he’ll be rolling in the last quarter.”

Richard More than 1 year ago
Can anyone tell me “How much the admission price will be Nov.02 and Nov.03rd 2012 T Santa Anita for The Breeders Cup? Thank you!
redboy More than 1 year ago
The Zombie is coming so get off the tracks ladies included! The horse is a absolute FREAK! love to watch him run Capital Account 2nd
Kyri Freeman More than 1 year ago
Amazombie is the most likely winner, stalking just off what looks like it'll be a very hot pace (which unfortunately affects the chances of a colt I really like, Jimmy Creed, unless he rates tomorrow), but he will be short odds and he doesn't have to win this. I wonder what odds will be available on the horse who will most likely be closing, Capital Account.
Joe Castillo More than 1 year ago
stop whinning and adjust youre handicapping to the particular race surface, as a handicapper you should be able to adjust to the bias of the day. every track is different. no racetrack is "perfect" the diversity is part of the challenge. man up and admit that you had a bad day at the track, then just go get em next time. happens to everybody. dont rag on tracks just because it didnt suit ur stubborn handicapping.
Pale Rider More than 1 year ago
It's easier to whine than man up and adjust one's handicapping!
Jade Sword More than 1 year ago
Let us know when you get to track bias. It's under 'T'.
Rene More than 1 year ago
SANTA ANITA ( SA ) acronyms for Stay Away........for good !!!
Rene More than 1 year ago
stay away forever jade sword......santa anita what are the first two letters SA ( STAY AWAY ) unfortunately the BC races are there this year but you can still stay away....
Jade Sword More than 1 year ago
The new bias is beyond a doubt. But it won't last, because there is no way they can have the BC under these conditions. So it's going to take some close monitoring of track maintenance. I'm going to -carefully- pencil it in as a two week window from the start of the meet.
PETER NUNEZ More than 1 year ago
i love amazombeie he is the now horse love santa anita race track if you can get 3/2 on him go to the win slot on him single him on pick 4 and pick 5 . good luck spawr ... love pete ////////////////////
Jade Sword More than 1 year ago
Normally love SA, but the track has been a joke so far this meet. I thought the first week might have set up some adjustments, but no such luck. Stay away until they get their act together.
rob More than 1 year ago
why is it a joke?
Jade Sword More than 1 year ago
The surface is too deep. Hardly anybody passing anybody in the stretch on the dirt. Compare to running on the beach in the soft deep sand.
Joe Castillo More than 1 year ago
stop whinning and adjust youre handicapping to the particular race surface, as a handicapper you should be able to adjust to the bias of the day. every track is different. no racetrack is "perfect" the diversity is part of the challenge. man up and admit that you had a bad day at the track, then just go get em next time. happens to everybody. dont rag on tracks just because it didnt suit ur stubborn handicapping.
Jade Sword More than 1 year ago
You assume to know a lot.
Marcelo Rivadeneira More than 1 year ago
Closers did very well yesterday. My feeling is the heat was a big contributing factor and since it has cooled this week expect closers to do well.