July 18, 2024

Jackie’s Warrior, Life Is Good square off in Allen Jerkens Memorial

Jackie's Warrior wins the Amsterdam Stakes (Photo by Coglianese Photos)

$500,000 Allen Jerkens Memorial S. (G1) – Race 9 (4:12 p.m. ET)

A tantalizing matchup between top sprinter Jackie’s Warrior and unbeaten Life Is Good awaits Thoroughbred racing fans in Saturday’s $500,000 Allen Jerkens Memorial S. (G1) at Saratoga. The dynamic performers top a field of six in the 7-furlong race for three-year-olds.

The Jerkens is one of seven graded events on the Travers Day undercard, and Jackie’s Warrior will seek his second consecutive Saratoga stakes tally, and fourth overall, after posting a scintillating 7 1/4-length romp in the Aug. 1 Amsterdam S. (G2). Joel Rosario rides the Maclean’s Music colt for Steve Asmussen.

Favored in the first four Kentucky Derby Future Wagers, Life Is Good captured his first three starts wire-to-wire, including the San Felipe S. (G2) and Sham S. (G3), before being sidelined by a hind-end injury in mid-March. By Into Mischief, the speedy bay has been transferred to Todd Pletcher in the interim, but Mike Smith retains the mount on the well-regarded colt.

Woody Stephens (G1) victor Drain the Clock is the likely third choice. A non-threatening second in the Amsterdam, the chestnut is a three-time graded scorer for Saffie Joseph this season. Irad Ortiz Jr. will be up.

Completing the field are Newbomb, who will make his stakes debut after recording a five-length win over entry-level allowance foes at Saratoga; Following Sea, who was elevated to second via disqualification after finishing 18 lengths back of the top pair in the July 17 Haskell (G1); and Judge N Jury, who will switch to open company following convincing maiden and entry-level allowance wins over New York-bred rivals.