January 18, 2021

Jackie’s Warrior leads all the way in Saratoga Special

Jackie's Warrior remained perfect while winning geared down in the Saratoga Special (G2) (c) Adam Coglianese Photo

Jackie’s Warrior turned back a bid from Therideofalifetime at the top of the stretch and rolled home to a three-length score in Friday’s $150,000 Saratoga Special (G2), improving to 2-for-2 with the wire-to-wire decision. Joel Rosario was up on the 2-year-old son of Maclean’s Music for Steve Asmussen, and Jackie’s Warrior completed the 6-furlong distance in 1:09.62.

Owned by J. Kirk Robinson, Jackie’s Warrior broke on top and led by a length through opening splits of :22.06 and :44.85. He had an extra gear when challenged turning for home, quickly accelerating clear and winning under wraps in deep stretch. The bay colt was exiting a front-running, 2 1/2-length debut maiden special weight victory at Churchill Downs on June 19, and he left the starting gate as the 3-1 second choice at Saratoga.

“With babies, I just wanted a clean break as he did in his first race and let his talent take over,” Asmussen said. “Being Saratoga, there were a lot of nice forms coming into it but when you get to Saratoga, not everybody likes the circumstances. I’m glad to see that he does. Good final time. Watching today’s races, I think the track played fair. I don’t think it (the lead) was anywhere he had to be, it’s just where he was.”

Rosario notched his seventh stakes win of the meet.

“(Asmussen) wanted me to get him out of there where he put himself,” Rosario said. “He broke well and we were just hanging on the lead, so I just rode it from there. He was looking really nice and he was enjoying that. He had his going ears back and forth and he looked like he was going easy even though the fractions were fast. He was having no problem with that. When they came close to him he wanted to go, and I felt even more confident at that point. I knew he had something left.”

Therideofalifetime chased from the start and easily held second at 3.75-1 odds after being repulsed in the stretch, winding up four lengths clear of 7-1 Momos, who was up close early from the break. It was another 1 3/4 lengths to the 49-1 Garropolo in fourth.

Bashford Manor (G3) winner Cazadero, the 8-5 favorite, wound up an even fifth, and Papetu, Market Alert, Pickin’ Time, and Hold the Salsa completed the order.

Bred in Kentucky by J & J Stables, Jackie’s Warrior was purchased for $95,000 by Robinson at the 2019 Keeneland September yearling sale. He’s out of the A.P. Five Hundred mare Unicorn Girl, a half-sister to multiple stakes victor Bernie the Maestro and Grade 3-placed Richard the Great.