Jackie’s Warrior, the champion male sprinter for 2021 and the 0.77-1 favorite, never accelerated in the stretch and finished an even third in his final career start.
Elite Power broke sharply but was kept in hand by Ortiz and stalked the early pace while improving his position through the turn in the six-furlong Sprint. He then moved out five-wide at the top of the stretch and kicked clear in the final furlong. C Z Rocket, a 31.45-1 longshot, bested Jackie’s Warrior by a half-length for second. The final time was 1:09.11.
“I let him sit and he relaxed well,” Ortiz said. “There was a strong pace in front of me. I bided my time and then, on the turn, I split horses inside and got in the clear. He deserves all the credit.”
Elite Power never started as a 2-year-old and finished off the board in two starts at 3 before he put things together earlier this year with four consecutive wins. He entered the Sprint off of a 5 ¾-length score in the Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont in the Big A on Oct. 8, his first stakes appearance.
“He had baby issues,” Mott said. “And we didn’t get him until his 3-year-old year. But he had typical stuff like shins that many horses have. And it was just a matter of waiting for him to get right.”
Elite Power, sent off as the 5.55-1 third betting choice in the Sprint, improved his career record to five wins and one third from eight starts with $1,405,711 in earnings.–Jim Mulvihill