Justin Phillip eyes BC Sprint

Zayat Stables' Justin Phillip was in good shape the morning after earning his first career Grade 1 victory in the $400,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap Aug. 4 at Saratoga Race Course.

The 5-year-old son of First Samurai came a neck shy of winning last year's Vanderbilt and had won two of eight starts since, including the Count Fleet at Oaklawn Park in April.

Trainer Steve Asmussen said the next start is undetermined for Justin Phillip, but not the year-end goal.

"We'll try to figure out how to get from here to the [Nov. 2] Breeders' Cup Sprint after that race," he said. "We'll wait until he goes back to the track and go from there."

Justin Phillip was fifth, beaten four lengths, in last year's Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita Park. Running the Sprint's six-furlong distance, he has a record of 5-3-2 from 15 career starts.

By winning the Vanderbilt, Justin Phillip added $240,000 to his purse earnings, pushing him to $1,118,437 in 29 lifetime starts. He ran six furlongs in 1:08.59 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 109 in the race, a career high.

"He came out of it really well," Asmussen said Monday morning. "It's tremendous. He's a very deserving horse, to have a grade I and put him over a million [dollars] when he's showed up and battled in the races that he has all the time."