by J. Keeler Johnson
Dirt or turf, it doesn’t matter to the sensational sprinter World of Trouble, who became a Grade 1 winner on both surfaces when cruising to a dominant triumph in the $400,000 Jaipur Invitational Stakes (G1) on Belmont Stakes Day at Belmont Park.
The four-year-old son of Kantharos left little doubt about his superiority. With jockey Manny Franco in the saddle for trainer Jason Servis, World of Trouble broke fastest from the starting gate and quickly secured a 1 1/2-length lead while posting fast fractions of :21.99 and :43.85.
Belvoir Bay briefly tried to challenge coming off the turn, but couldn’t match strides with World of Trouble. Om and Disco Partner came charging late, but never got close enough to threaten. World of Trouble threw down the gauntlet in the homestretch, blazing the fifth furlong in :10.95 and the final furlong in :11.57 to cruise home in front by 1 3/4 lengths over Om, who edged Disco Partner by three-quarters of a length for second.
“I know that he’s fast and I knew I was rolling in front. I don’t try to fight him or get on him too early, and he always responds,” Franco said. “I knew he could get the lead pretty easy. By the eighth-pole, I knew someone was coming closer to me, and my horse, when he felt it, took off again. I had a lot of confidence.”
World of Trouble stopped the clock for six furlongs over the firm Widener turf course in a snappy 1:06.37. The Jaipur is part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” Challenge series and awarded the bay an automatic berth to the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita Park.
“Man, what a horse,” Servis said. “I have to tell you, for some reason, I missed the (fractions). I was watching him on the binoculars. I was a little bit relieved that (Belvoir Bay) didn’t press him. I got a little worried at the eighth-pole and then it looked like he was going to be OK.
“I think he runs a little scared like ‘I gotta go, I gotta go,’ but he’s a special horse,” Servis added. “I’m looking forward to training some of his offspring. If I had a mare, I think I’d want to breed to him with that speed.”
Bred in Florida by Darsan Inc. and owned by Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables LLC and Bethlehem Stables LLC, World of Trouble extended his win streak to five consecutive races, including triumphs in the Carter Handicap (G1) on dirt and the Twin Spires Turf Sprint Stakes (G2) on turf. Since finishing fourth in the Woody Stephens Stakes (G2) on Belmont Stakes Day in 2018, World of Trouble has won seven of his eight races, with his lone defeat coming by a neck in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1).
“No one can do what Jason (Servis) has done, he’s really brought this horse along incredibly,” Dubb said. “He picks his spots and hasn’t taken him to the mat every race. He just has spaced his races and done everything the right way. I’m really in awe of job he’s done.”
If World of Trouble keeps up his winning ways, he’ll be a prohibitive favorite to avenge that defeat on November 2 at Santa Anita. Then again, his remarkable versatility would also make him a key contender on dirt in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).
Regardless of which Breeders’ Cup contest World of Trouble eventually targets, his record thus far in 2019 has stamped him as the most accomplished male sprinter in North America. In order for anyone else to win the Eclipse Award, they’ll have to beat World of Trouble, and as we saw in the Jaipur, that’s a task easier said than done.