February 2, 2023

Eclipse champ Jackie’s Warrior returns in Count Fleet Sprint

Jackie’s Warrior was much the best in the Gallant Bob (Photo By Bill Denver/Equi-Photo)

Count Fleet Sprint H. (G3) — Race 11 (6:42 p.m. ET)

Reigning sprint champion Jackie’s Warrior will kick off his four-year-old campaign in the $500,000 Count Fleet Sprint H. (G3) at Oaklawn Park on Saturday.

The six-furlong Count Fleet, won last year by C Z Rocket over 2020 sprint champion Whitmore, attracted a field of six. Jackie’s Warrior was assigned top weight of 123 pounds.

Jackie’s Warrior won four of six starts around one turn last season, including thrilling renewals of the Pat Day Mile (G2) and H. Allen Jerkens Memorial (G1), the latter over Life Is Good. The Steve Asmussen trainee also notched the Amsterdam (G2) and Gallant Bob (G2).

In his only attempt last season against older horses, Jackie’s Warrior set a contested pace but faded to sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Del Mar as the 1-2 favorite. However, the son of Maclean’s Music emerged from the race with chip in his left knee.

Despite the loss, Jackie’s Warrior polled more than twice as many Eclipse Award votes for champion male sprinter as Aloha West, whose only stakes win of the season was the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

Bob’s Edge has won two sprint stakes during the Oaklawn meet, the King Cotton and the Whitmore (G3), and is the logical second choice in the wagering. The late-closing gelding will have to hope Jackie’s Warrior sees early pressure, perhaps from Empire of Gold, who finished third in last year’s Count Fleet but only was only successful in a pair of allowances later in the season.

The field is rounded out by Letsgetlucky, Mojo Man, and Chipofftheoldblock.