Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert had to scratch morning-line second choice Lord Nelson from the $1.5 million Twinspires Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park, but Baoma Corporation's Drefong came in off the bench and gave the white-haired one his fifth score in the six-furlong event.
Racing for the first time since his Aug. 27 Ketel One King's Bishop (gr. I) score at Saratoga Race Course, the 3-year-old Gio Ponti colt turned back 8-5 favorite Masochistic to land his second consecutive grade I by 1 1/4 lengths. Grade II winner Mind Your Biscuits finished third by a nose. The final time was 1:08.79 on a fast track.
"Drefong looked so good in the paddock. This is probably the sharpest he's ever been," said Baffert, whose first of 13 overall Breeders' Cup wins came with Thirty Slews in the 1992 Sprint. "We've been taking our time bringing him up to this point."
Martin Garcia sent Drefong up to the front to challenge Masochistic early on from post 2, and those two clicked through early fractions of :21.49 and :44.03, with Delta Bluesman keeping close company.
"I was pretty confident since I got on him in the paddock. I was really comfortable," Garcia said.
Masochistic dug in off the turn for home, but Drefong turned him back through five-eighths in :55.98 en route to victory.
"I knew there was going to be a little bit of a speed duel. I was worried about the inside post because it would force his hand, but Martin let him ease up there without forcing the issue," Baffert said. "Masochistic is a really good horse, and I thought we were going to run second. ... Those two horses really threw down in the stretch."
Drefong was a $450,000 Keeneland September yearling sale purchase from the Woods Edge Farm consignment by owners Susan and Charlie Chu's Tanma Corp. He was pinhooked to that sale by Wood's Edge for $200,000 from the Keeneland November breeding stock sale, where he was consigned as a weanling by Blackburn Farm. He was bred in Kentucky by Frederick M. Allor, Michael T. Barnett, and Anthony M. Warrender out of the Ghostzapper mare Eltimaas. He is his dam's first grade I winner and her second winner of two foals to race. She foaled an Animal Kingdom filly in 2015.
"We didn't know how fast he was. He's done everything with ease," Baffert said. "Today he needed to be really, really good to beat that horse. When the running started, he brought it. It just shows you the will to win they had."