December 7, 2022

Upstart Elite Power topples retiring Jackie’s Warrior in Breeders’ Cup Sprint

Elite Power, with Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard, wins the G1 Breeders' Cup Sprint for trainer Bill Mott (Photo by Horsephotos.com)
Elite Power, with Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard, wins the G1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint for trainer Bill Mott (Photo by Horsephotos.com)

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A rising star defeated a retiring champion when Elite Power downed Jackie’s Warrior, and nine others, in Saturday’s $1.84 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Keeneland.

The third choice in the wagering and coming off of a stakes debut win in the seven-furlong Vosburgh (G2) at Aqueduct, Elite Power rallied from seventh to win the six-furlong Sprint going away by 1 1/4 lengths. Owned by Juddmonte, Elite Power’s win was the second of the day for trainer Bill Mott following Cody’s Wish’s narrow triumph in the Dirt Mile (G1).

Elite Power returned $13.10 after stopping the timer in 1:09.11 over a fast track.

Jackie’s Warrior, the odds-on favorite for the third consecutive year in a Breeders’ Cup race, again tasted defeat. Last year’s champion sprinter never made the lead and weakened in the final furlong to third, two lengths behind Elite Power. Finishing in between the pair was 31-1 longshot C Z Rocket.

The order of finish was rounded out by Manny Wah, O Besos, Super Ocho, Kimari, American Theorem, Flash of Mischief, Willy Boi, and 2021 Sprint winner Aloha West.

“It’s just amazing that a horse as great as he is has never won a Breeders’ Cup race,” trainer Steve Asmussen said of Jackie’s Warrior, who was unplaced in the 2020 Juvenile (G1) at Keeneland and 2021 Sprint at Del Mar.

Not debuting until the fall of his three-year-old season last year, Elite Power went unplaced in his first two outings at Churchill Downs. Third in his May 7 comeback over the same track, Elite Power has now reeled off five straight. After beating maidens and first-level allowance types at Churchill, Elite Power nabbed a second-level allowance at Saratoga in advance of his 5 3/4-length score against a modest Vosburgh field.

“He’s just a horse with a lot of natural talent,” Mott said of Elite Power, who is expected to stay in training next season. “It was just a matter of waiting for his bones and his mind to mature a little bit. Once he got into the rhythm, he just kept improving.”

Bred in Kentucky by Alpha Delta Stables and a $900,000 Keeneland September acquisition, Elite Power is by Curlin and out of Grade 2 winner Broadway’s Alibi, by Vindication. Elite Power counts as his fourth dam 1992 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner and champion Eliza.