E Z Warrior, purchased for $1.2-million earlier this year, provided the fireworks on Independence Day at Hollywood Park as his explosive late run carried him to a 2 3/4-length victory over Great Hunter in the $100,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship.
The son of Exploit remained perfect in two starts for trainer Bob Baffert and Zayat Stables while showing the poise of a much more experienced horse. Breaking from the inside post, he was caught on the inside in fifth place nearing the far turn, but he relaxed until jockey David Flores was able to move him outside into a striking position.
He moved to the lead between horses on the turn for home and was never threatened while covering six furlongs in 1:09.96 under a hand ride.
"At first I said, 'If I draw the one, I'm scratching,''' Baffert said. "That's why I threw the other horse (Hot Flame) in there at the last minute. The reason I thought of scratching is you have to be way the best to win out of the one-hole. A high-profile horse like this, we're going to have to take him back, you just can't send him, he's not going to learn anything.
"It's exciting when you have a horse like this," Baffert added. "We knew when we bought him he looked like a race horse, but you never know until you start going five-eighths."
E Z Warrior paid $4, $2.80 and $2.40. Great Hunter, the second choice in the field of nine 2-year-olds at 3-1, returned $3.20 and $2.60. The show price on Tom Rickey was $4.60.
"He's got the signs," Flores said. "He's got the talent, he's got the ability. His mind is great. I'm very pleased with the way he ran today, it's only his second time out and he acts like an old horse already."
E Z Warrior, the second straight Juvenile winner for Baffert, collected $60,000 to boost his earnings to $87,000.
E Z Warrior was bred in Kentucky by Gulf Coast Farms Bloodstock. He was purchased by Zayat Stables for $1.2 million from the Murray Smith consignment to this year's Barretts March sale of 2-year-olds in training. Smith bought the colt for $100,000 from the Beth Bayer consignment to the 2005 Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's August yearling sale.