Cajun Beat, center, finishes first in a blistering Sprint.

Cajun Beat, center, finishes first in a blistering Sprint.

Mike Corrado

Cajun Beat Wins Race to the Wire in Breeders' Cup Sprint

Cajun Beat, ridden by Cornelio Velasquez, won a dash to the wire in Saturday's Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) by 2 1/4 lengths over Bluesthestandard, a race completed in three-fifths of a second off the track record.

"We took a big gamble coming here but he had been training so good, and his last race he ran such a big Beyer number," said winning trainer Stephen Margolis, whose Cajun Beat was sent off at odds of 22-1. "He showed his abilities today. He can lay where he was today and make the lead. He is versatile. That's all."

A 3-year-old son of Grand Slam -- Beckys Shirt (by Cure the Blues), Cajun Beat jumped out to the early lead before being taken back quickly while four wide, running just off pacesetters Zavata and Shake You Down. After a quarter-mile was completed in a sizzling :21, the front-runners continued to lead through a half in :43 1/5 as there was stiff competition for the lead. Cajun Beat emerged on top as the field rounded the turn, with five furlongs run in :55.07.

Cajun Beat continued to lead through the stretch, with Bluesthestandard closing well on the rail to be second. Shake You Down held on for third. The final time for six furlongs was 1:07 3/5.

"We initially wanted to be on the pace, but everybody was going so fast out of the gate, I was trying to stay with them and sometimes a horse gets discouraged when you do that, said Mike Smith, who rode the runner-up. "I just put my hands down and after slipping and sliding a little, he was fine. Anywhere I pointed him, he went and we would up getting through the hole."

Cajun Beat paid a whopping $47.60, $19.80, and $11.20. Bluesthestandard paid $12.60 and $8.00 and Shake You Down, under pressure from the start with Mike Luzzi in the irons, was worth $5 to show. Shake You Down was the 7-2 second choice.

"I had an inside post (#2) so I had to use him a little down the backside," said Luzzi. "The winner just parked beside me and he got the best of it. The inside post just hurt us."

Aldebaran, the 2-1 favorite trained by Bobby Frankel and ridden by Jerry Bailey, picked up some back markers after trailing the 13-horse field after the first quarter mile, finished sixth.

The Sprint represented the fifth win in 11 career starts for Cajun Beat, who was bred in Kentucky by John T. L. Jones Jr. and Smoot Fahlgren. The victory was worth $1,082,060, bringing his career bankroll to $1,300,760.

Previous to the Sprint, the gelding won the Kentucky Cup Sprint (gr. III) at Turfway Park.

After the first three, the order of finish was, in order, Posse, Yankee Gentleman, Aldebaran, Captain Squire, Midas Eyes, Private Hoard, Ethan Man, Great Notion, Zavata and Valid Video.

Ethan Man was vanned off following the race.

"At first glance, it appears he may have damaged an old suspensory injury from way back when," trainer Patrick Byrne said. "We're going to take X-rays in about an hour when he's cooled out, and we'll go from there."

(Chart, Equibase)