Longshot Desert Code upsets Turf Sprint

ARCADIA, Calif. -- Desert Code came from far back in upper stretch and scored a longshot half-length victory in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, the second race on Saturday's BC card at Santa Anita.

Ridden by Richard Migliore for trainer David Hoffmans, Desert Code barely caught Diabolical, who had surged to the lead inside the sixteenth pole, and briefly looked home free under Frankie Dettori. Storm Treasure, another longshot closer, rallied on the outside for third, while tepid favorite Fleeting Spirit finished fourth.

Desert Code, who had only one win from six starts this year before the BC Turf Sprint, paid $75 to win, coming from third-last early in the race. He was timed in 1:11.60 for 6 1/2 furlongs on the downhill turf course. That time was just three-fifths of a second off the course record.

Closers dominated the race after a wicked early pace battle between Mr. Nightlinger and California Flag, who went an opening half-mile in 41.81 seconds. Mr. Nightlinger bore out badly when crossing over the main-track into the stretch run, and he was done. A few strides later, California Flag also was swallowed up by fresh stretch-runners, and Desert Code, a 4-year-old son of E. Dubai owned by Tarabilla Farms, finished best of them.

Oak Tree at Santa Anita, 2nd Race - October 25, 2008