Hightail edged 1-2 favorite Merit Man by a nose to win the $500,000 Juvenile Sprint, giving Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas his record 19th Breeders’ Cup victory.
Hightail and Merit Man raced neck-and-neck to the wire, with the 15-1 shot Hightail sticking his nose in front at the finish. The 2-year-old colt had never won in eight previous races, and he survived a stewards’ inquiry to win Friday on opening day of the world championships at Santa Anita.
Ridden by Rajiv Maragh, Hightail paid $32.80 on a $2 win bet. Hightail ran 6 furlongs in 1 minute, 9.75 seconds.
Sweet Shirley Mae was third.
The field was reduced to five after Super Ninety Nine and South Floyd were scratched because of left front leg issues.