09/06/2009 12:00AM

Zensational romps; BC Sprint next


DEL MAR, Calif. - The freakishly fast Zensational won his fourth straight race, and third consecutive Grade 1 race, in his final prep for the Breeders' Cup Sprint with a 2 1/4-length romp in the Grade 1, $300,000 Pat O'Brien Stakes on Sunday at Del Mar.

Zensational ($2.60) broke a little inwardly at the start, but then rocketed to the front. Although the opening quarter-mile was a moderate 23.10 seconds, he flew through the second quarter-mile in 22.27 seconds while opening a six-length lead, then coasted to the wire while under only a hand ride from Victor Espinoza. He completed seven furlongs on Polytrack in 1:22.31.

Noble Court rallied from last in the five-horse field to finish second, with Nikki'sgoldensteed another length back in third.

Because Zensational was a prohibitive favorite, there was no show betting.

The victory earned Zensational a spot in the BC Sprint on Nov. 7 at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting through the Win and You're In program. That is where Zensational will make his next start, trainer Bob Bafert said.

"He won't run again until the Breeders' Cup," said Baffert, who won the BC Sprint the past two years with Midnight Lute. "I'm going to freshen him up. He's had two nice races here. He's got a good foundation. Now I have to get him fresh."

Zensational won the six-furlong Bing Crosby here last month. He has won five times in six starts this year, his lone loss coming in his only race around two turns. He is 4 for 4 with Espinoza.

"Victor hasn't turned him loose yet," Baffert said. "Come Breeders' Cup Day, Victor will turn him loose."