Coil wins Santa Anita Sprint in upset of Amazombie
ARCADIA, Calif. -- Bob Baffert has a lot of decisions to make heading into the Breeders' Cup.
Coil and Capital Account made things a little more interesting with their 1-2 finish for the Hall of Fame trainer in the $250,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship on Saturday.
Coil edged Capital Account by a head in a finish decided by a photo.
Baffert plans to enter both of them in the Sprint.
"I thought it would be too short for them, but they seemed to take to distance today really well," he said in an email to The Associated Press.
Amazombie, last year's champion sprinter, was fourth as the 4-5 favorite ridden by Mike Smith.
Coil ran 6 furlongs in 1:09.89 under Martin Garcia and paid $17.20, $7.60 and $4 after being sent off at 7-1 odds in his ongoing transition to sprinting this year.
"It's a great opportunity to get this horse back and I did my job," said Garcia, who had ridden Coil in five straight races before being replaced by Rafael Bejarano in the 4-year-old colt's previous two.
Capital Account and jockey David Flores returned $5.80 and $3.80, while Jimmy Creed was another three-quarters of a length back in third and paid $6.40 to show.
The result was a reversal of the Pat O'Brien Stakes at Del Mar on Aug. 26, when Capital Account beat Coil by a half-length.
"It was very close at the end, but I knew it would have taken a couple more jumps to beat the winner," Flores said. "I have to give great credit to my horse because when I asked him to go he was responding. Maybe next time I'll have to go a little bit earlier."
Amazombie was being prepared to defend his title in the Breeders' Cup Sprint next month at Santa Anita.
"At the top of the lane I could tell he was starting to get a little bit tired," Smith said. "He kicked on good until the eighth pole and then got really tired at that point.
"You'd certainly like to win, but with these types of horses, you're talking about the first two finishers probably being one of the favorites going to the Breeders' Cup. The important thing was to get a good race in him and move forward."
Trainer Richard Mandella said he's considering either the BC Sprint or BC Dirt Mile or the $100,000 Damascus on the Breeders' Cup undercard for Jimmy Creed.
Coil, winner of last year's $1 million Haskell Invitational, earned an automatic berth in the Sprint on Nov. 3, with his entry fees being paid as part of the "Win and You're In" program.
Baffert wasn't at the track on a day when he had eight starters, and hit the board with three of them. He came into Saturday winning at a 46 percent clip since the autumn meet began on Sept. 28. Baffert has seven wins, three seconds and a third with 21 starters.
In other stakes:
-Obviously defeated Trailblazer by 1½ lengths to win the $150,000 Arroyo Seco Mile in a prep for the BC Turf.
Ridden by Joe Talamo, Ireland-bred Obviously ran a mile on the turf in 1:31.95 and paid $4.40, $3 and $2.10 as the 6-5 favorite. It was his third straight win for trainer Mike Mitchell, who had brain surgery this summer.
"He needed to perform like this today to consider the Breeders' Cup with him, but now, why not?" he said.
Japan-bred Trailblazer returned $5.60 and $2.80 in his U.S. debut. Mr. Commons was another half-length back in third and paid $2.10 to show, with trainer John Shirreffs saying he would consider the Breeders' Cup for the 4-year-old colt. Midnight Interlude, who won last year's Santa Anita Derby for Baffert, finished last in the field of five and is 0-3 this year.
Obviously has six wins in 11 career starts and earnings of $370,361.
-Merit Man overtook South Floyd nearing the stretch and went on to a 5½-length win in the inaugural $100,000 Tim Conway Stakes under Patrick Valenzuela. The 2-year-old colt ran 6 furlongs in 1:10.56 and paid $7.80, $3.80 and $2.60.
Trainer Bob Hess Jr. said Merit Man might be pointed toward the BC Sprint. Valenzuela, who turns 50 later this month, returned after missing a few days with knee issues.
South Floyd returned $3.60 and $3, while No Rachmones paid $4.40 to show. Scherer Magic, the 6-5 favorite, finished last among five in the race named for the actor and comic who starred on the Carol Burnett show and is a longtime supporter of the racing industry.
-A Jealous Woman won the $70,000 Swingtime Stakes by 2½ lengths under Brice Blanc.
She ran a mile on the turf in 1:33.64 and paid $14.20, $7 and $4.20 for her fourth win in seven starts on Santa Anita's downhill turf course. Lady Ten, trained by Baffert, finished second.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
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