Velazquez to ride Justin Phillip in Breeders' Cup Sprint

Posted to: Justin Phillip Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Zayat Stables and trainer Steve Asmussen have secured the services of Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez to pilot Justin Phillip in this year's Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita Park.

Justin Phillip, who won the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt H. and Grade 3 Count Fleet Sprint H. this year, enters the Breeders' Cup off a head-bob loss in the Grade 1 Vosburgh Invitational at Belmont on Sept. 28.

The all-out effort was not lost on Asmussen, who feels he has a much better prepared horse than he did for last year's Breeders' Cup.

'When I was training (Justin Phillip) up to the race out there a year ago (where he would finish fifth, beaten four lengths) I was thinking I was going to win it. He’ll return a much more consistent horse this year," said Asmussen. "We’re very fortunate to have him."

Asmussen has always had high praise for the 5-year-old, who has earned $1,248,437 and hit the board in 21 of 31 lifetime starts.

Since the Vosburgh, Justin Phillip shipped to Santa Anita in early October, posting a pair of workouts. His latest,  a five-furlong move in 1:01 flat, was term “breezing” by track clocker, a rare distinction that indicates Justin Phillip has taken well to the Santa Anita surface.

Pre-entries for the Sprint will be announced on Oct. 21, with final post positions determined the following week.