Masochistic and jockey Tyler Baze win the 2016 Pat O'Brien Stakes

Masochistic and jockey Tyler Baze win the 2016 Pat O'Brien Stakes

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Masochistic Breezes to Pat O'Brien Victory

Sought After gelding easily won the grade II event.

The $200,000 Pat O'Brien Stakes (gr. II) didn't look like a top race with an automatic berth to the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I) on the line Aug. 27 at Del Mar.

Part of that was the fact that only three horses made it to the gate for the seven-furlong event. The other aspect was that Los Pollos Hermanos Racing and Jay Em Ess Stable's Masochistic made it look like a morning breeze. 

Video: Pat O'Brien S. (G2)

The speedy son of Sought After trained by Ron Ellis popped out of the gate under jockey Tyler Baze, took a 2 1/2 length advantage after a first quarter in :22.65, and cruised to the wire, just more than three tenths off the track record, without any asking.

"The plan? Just to go out there and have a good breeze," Baze said. "He's faster than these horses, so I just wanted to get him out of there and get him in his stride. Then I wanted to stay out of his way. I was a good passenger today. It was a lot of fun."

Vyjack, 5 1/2 lengths back early, rallied past Indexical easily to pick up place honors, but finished an unthreatening 3 3/4 lengths back, 7 1/2 clear of the third-place finisher. Outside Nashville and Cautious Giant scratched.

"He tried," said Flavien Prat, who rode Vyjack in the three-time graded stakes winner's first start for trainer Phil D'Amato. "That other horse was just too fast. But (Vyjack's) next race will be longer. That will be good for him."

Masochistic covered a half-mile in :45.01, six furlongs in 1:08.22, and hit the wire in 1:20.31 with his ears pricked. Solar Launch holds the track record, at 1:20 flat, which dates back to 1990.

"I didn't have any anxious moments during the running of the race," said Ellis, who also said the California-bred gelding will train up to the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I). "Tyler got him to relax beautifully coming out of there and they were just loping along. He disappointed at this track last year at low odds (in the grade I Bing Crosby), but this year he's a different horse. Last year he just wanted to run as fast and as far as he could."

The winner paid $2.40. No place or show wagering was offered, but a 50-cent trifecta paid $1.15.

Masochistic has an 8-2-0 record from 13 starts, with earnings of $772,550. The Pat O'Brien was his third graded win, following scores in the 2015 Kona Gold (gr. II) and Triple Bend (gr. I).