The Baoma Corporation's 2016 champion sprinter Drefong maintained contact with jockey Mike Smith in his second start of 2017, cruising to a dominant victory in the Grade 1 Forego Stakes on Saturday at Saratoga. The 4-year-old Gio Ponti colt, trained by Bob Baffert, covered seven furlongs over the fast main track in 1:21.12. Dubai Golden Shaheen winner Mind Your Biscuits finished off the board; Drefong crossed the wire four lengths in front of Awesome Slew, Tom's Ready and Divining Rod. The victory earns Drefong an expenses-paid berth to the Breeders' Cup Las Vegas Dirt Mile this fall at Del Mar.
“We just saw the real Drefong,” Baffert said by phone from Del Mar. “You would have seen him last time if Mike Smith hadn't fallen off [in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby at Del Mar]. It's a good thing that everything turned out alright because otherwise, I would have never brought him to the Forego. I was going to run him once there [Del Mar and then bring him into the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Del Mar], or maybe twice [in California]. I'd rather win the Forego than that other race. He's a great horse and he's always been a champion. We knew he was our best chance [of his three Travers Day runners] going in there. When he hit that third gear there, I was really happy, and happy to hear the cheers.”
In his first start of the season, Drefong ducked at the gap in the Bing Crosby, unseating Smith just after the start. Smith got him out of the gate and on to the main track cleanly in the Forego, hustling the colt out of the gate to have a two-length advantage through a first quarter in :22.89. From there, Smith eased the pace a bit and allowed the lead to shrink to just a half-length over Tale of S'Avall. Stallwalkin' Dude, Divining Rod and Mind Your Biscuits made up the front portion of the cluster of horses tracking the leaders.
Drefong drew away again to have a 1 1/2-length lead at the head of the lane, and while Awesome Slew made a big run up the rail from the rear of the field, he never truly threatened the winner. Drefong continued to pull away down the stretch, crossing the wire about four lengths in front of Awesome Slew. Tom's Ready nosed out Divining Rod for third. Dubai Golden Shaheen winner and fan-favorite Mind Your Biscuits finished off the board in sixth.
“I was hoping that he would run like he did last year here,” Smith said. “He really likes that summer breeze here. I knew that he was liking it today and I was just thinking positive. I think he ran even better than last year.”
Bred in Kentucky by Frederick M. Allor, Michael T. Barnett, and Anthony M. Warrender, Drefong was a $450,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland September sale. Fifth on debut, the colt did not lose a single race all the way through the 2016 Breeders' Cup Sprint. His only other loss came when dropping Smith in his 2017 debut, but overall Drefong's record stands at six wins from eight starts, with earnings of over $1.5 million.
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