Champion sprinter Jackie’s Warrior opened his four-year-old season with a frontrunning score in Saturday’s $500,000 Count Fleet (G3), prevailing by nearly a length over the sloppy track at Oaklawn Park.
Joel Rosario was up for Steve Asmussen, and Jackie’s Warrior reeled off splits in :21.61 and :44.51 before drawing off to a clear lead in upper stretch, finishing six furlongs in 1:09.09.
A four-time graded stakes winner last year, Jackie’s Warrior was making his first appearance since an unplaced finish as the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Del Mar. He exited the race with a bone chip in his knee, which necessitated surgery, and reemerged on the worktab in late February for his Hall of Fame trainer.
The three-time Grade 1 winner notched his eighth career stakes tally for owners Kirk and Judy Robinson, improving his overall record to 13-9-1-1, $1,855,964. The bay colt left the starting gate as the 1-2 favorite among six runners.
Winner of last year’s Pat Day Mile (G2) at Churchill Downs, Jackie’s Warrior may target the $750,000 Churchill Downs S. (G1) on the May 7 Kentucky Derby undercard.
Letsgetlucky closed belatedly for second, one length better than Chipofftheoldblock in third. Bob’s Edge, Empire of Gold, and Mojo Man came next.
By Maclean’s Music, Jackie’s Warrior was bred in Kentucky by J & J Stables and purchased for $95,000 at the 2019 Keeneland September yearling sale. He hails from the A. P. Five Hundred mare Unicorn Girl.