Idiot Proof blazed his way into the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) picture with an eye-catching victory in Oak Tree's $300,000 Ancient Title (gr. I) (VIDEO) at Santa Anita Park Oct. 7.
Idiot Proof won the six-furlong Ancient Title by three-quarters of a length in a remarkable time of 1:07.57 on Santa Anita's new Cushion Track surface. The victory guarantees the Clifford Sise trained Idiot Proof a spot in the BC Sprint. The 3-year-old Benchmark colt figures to be especially tough on the Monmouth Park dirt, where he won the Jersey Shore Breeders' Cup (gr. III) July 4.
With David Flores aboard, Idiot Proof had a perfect set-up, racing second on the outside of the pulling Bordonaro, who left from the rail determined to get the lead. Fractions were hot -- :21.69 and :43.87 -- yet Bordonaro, ridden by Richard Migliore, wasn't finished when tackled by Idiot Proof in the stretch. The two warriors battled through the lane while Greg's Gold looked desperately for room after tracking the leaders from the rail throughout.
Greg's Gold, the 7-10 choice ridden by Victor Espinoza, finally bulled his way between Bordonaro and Barbecue Eddie in deep stretch. But it was too late to seriously challenge Idiot Proof, who had inched away under left-handed urging in the final strides. Greg's Gold finished second by a head over Barbecue Eddie, who was piloted by Aaron Gryder.
“When Bordonaro made the lead, I was OK with that because I could see he was being asked," said Flores, the regular rider for Idiot Proof. "When (Bordonaro) got out going to the far turn, Greg’s Gold tried to sneak through there.
"As (far as) the Breeders’ Cup goes—I love him. He’s at the top of his game right now and he likes Monmouth. I think this race is going to get him where he needs to be.”
Stewards reviewed the stretch run, which included bumping between Greg's Gold and Barbecue Eddie, but made no change in the order of finish.
“I tried (to get through in the stretch)," Espinoza said. "For a minute, it kind of opened up and then closed right up again. It’s one of those things. In a short field, it always happens – everybody’s always on everybody else’s horses. It’s one of those things – if I get lucky, I get through and win the race, but not today."
Pam and Martin Wygod own and bred the California-bred Idiot Proof, who has won five of his eight lifetime starts. The bay colt is out of the Bertrando mare Perfectly Pretty.
“I thought David (Flores) might go on with it a little sooner than he did," said Sise after his first grade I win at Santa Anita. "I was getting a little heart failure. We may have found another dimension, but we’d still rather use what his best weapon is, which is speed. It’s a little easier."
When asked about going on to the Breeders' Cup Sprint, Sise responded: "Oh, yeah”
Sise saddled Paying Dues for a second-place finish behind Lit de Justice in the 1996 Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Woodbine.
The winning share of $180,000 increased the colt's earnings to $430,136. Idiot Proof rebounded from a third-place finish in his last start, a state-bred stakes Aug. 10 when he tired over the Del Mar Polytrack in a seven-furlong event.
Sent off as the second choice in the field of five, Idiot Proof paid $6.80, $2.60 and $2.40. Greg's Gold, who has also earned a spot in the Breeders' Cup Sprint with his win in the Pat O'Brien Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar Aug. 19, returned $2.10 and $2.10. Barbecue Eddie, making his graded-stakes debut for trainer Brian Koriner, paid $3.40 to show.
It was 1 1/4 lengths back to Bordonaro, the defending Ancient Title winner who ran fourth in last year's Breeders' Cup Sprint. Bad Boy trailed.