ARCADIA, CA—Florida-bred Speed Boat Beach was labeled the 3-1 second choice and drew post position seven for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint to be run Saturday at Santa Anita Park. Trainer Bob Baffert said he is thrilled with the draw and how the 3-year-old colt is training up to the race.

Bob Baffert – Suzanne Sheridan Photo

“He drew well. He got a really good post position,” Baffert said at his barn at Santa Anita Tuesday morning.

“I loved his last race in the [Santa Anita Sprint Championship] off the long layoff,” Baffert continued.

Speed Boat Beach will make his second start after nearly 10-months away from the track in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint. He most recently finished second, beaten just a head by Dr. Schivel, in the Grade 2 Santa Anita Sprint Championship going six furlongs on Sept. 30.

“[The Sprint Championship] was a very tough race but he came out of it well,” Baffert continued. “He was moving around [in the starting gate] a little bit and got lucky that he got away from there well.

“We liked him going in. He’s very aggressive. You have to watch him because he really enjoys what he does. We were disappointed when we got beat. We really thought we could win that race. But he got beat by a really good horse.

“But he’s fast. He broke the track record his first race,” Baffert said referring to Speed Boat Beach winning his debut going five-and-a-half furlongs in 1:01.86 at Del Mar on Sept. 10 of last year.

Baffert then started running Speed Boat Beach on the turf where he won the $102,000 Speakeasy by a length-and-a-quarter sprinting five furlongs at Santa Anita on Oct. 2 of last year before going to Keeneland for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint. There, Speed Boat Beach ran his only poor race in finishing ninth behind winner Mischief Magic (Ire).

He then won the Grade 3 Cecil B. DeMille by a half-length going a mile on the turf at Del Mar in December—his last race before returning in the Sprint Championship.

“I didn’t run him on dirt again because I didn’t have anywhere to run him,” Baffert said of Speed Boat Beach. “I had Cave Rock at the time and I wanted to separate them. So that’s why I put him on the grass. He ran well on the grass because he’s a good horse. But he ran better on the dirt.”

So Baffert has Speed Boat Beach on the main track to make his second appearance in a Breeders’ Cup race.

“We’re anticipating a good race,” Baffert said of Saturday’s six-furlong Sprint against eight other 3-year-olds and older at six furlongs. “But he still needs racing luck and he needs to break. But they’re going to be rolling.

“But he looks great. It’s going to be a good class check for him. This time there are some other good horses in there.”

Other Breeders’ Cup Sprint contenders include 9-5 morning line favorite Elite Power, winner of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Keeneland; Dr. Schivel (5-1), and Grade 1 Forego-winner Gunite, who is 4-1 on the morning line.

“I feel good about our chances, but you still have to have racing luck,” Baffert said. “If he doesn’t get away from there, it will be time to head to the parking lot.

“But from day one he’s really looked like a superior speed-type horse. So we’re looking forward to it.”

Speed Boat Beach will be ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, the all-time leader with 27 Breeders’ Cup victories and $38,344,605 in Breeders’ Cup earnings.

Speed Boat Beach is out of Sophia Mia, by Pioneerof the Nile and was bred in Florida by Richard Heysek’s Caperlane Farm in Morriston, Fla.

He twice passed through the auction ring at Ocala Breeders’ Sales, first when consigned by Stuart Morris at the 2021 October Yearling Sale where Rubin M. Sanchez selected him for $12,000. He was then purchased for $200,000 by current owners Michael E. Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman in the name of Three Amigos at the 2022 OBS March Sale out of the Really and Truly Thoroughbreds consignment.

Speed Boat Beach has three wins and a second in five career starts with earnings of $218,000.

Return to the Oct. 31 issue of Wire to Wire