July 4, 2022

Jack Christopher exceptional in Woody Stephens romp

Jack Christopher wins the Woody Stephens Stakes (Photo by Joe Labozzetta/Coglianese Photos)

A superlative effort from a superlative horse best sums up Jack Christopher‘s performance in Saturday’s $392,000 Woody Stephens S. (G1) at Belmont Park.

The odds-on favorite in a field of six three-year-olds, Jack Christopher closely attended the pace behind Provocateur, took over from that rival at the quarter pole, and drew off under minimal urging to win by 10 lengths under Jose Ortiz. Now undefeated from four starts, Jack Christopher stopped the timer in 1:21.18 for seven furlongs over a fast track.

“This horse is an exceptional talent,” trainer Chad Brown said. “This is my 15th year of training and I’ve never had a dirt horse with this much pure brilliance. He reminds me a lot of Ghostzapper when I worked for Bobby Frankel. He’s a brilliant horse that can probably run any distance.

“Everybody wants to have horses like this – horse of a lifetime – including me.”

Owned by Jim Bakke, Gerald Isbister, Coolmore Stud, and Peter Brant, Jack Christopher paid $2.70. Finishing a distant second was Pappacap, who had 1 3/4 lengths on Provocateur. Wit finished fourth and was followed by Chasing Time and Morello.

The word was out on Jack Christopher from the start. Favored at 11-10 on his debut at Saratoga last August, the chestnut romped by 8 3/4 lengths going six furlongs. He stretched out to a mile in the Oct. 2 Champagne (G1) at Belmont, winning by 2 3/4 lengths as the 17-10 favorite.

Jack Christopher was shipped to Del Mar for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), but was withdrawn on the eve of the race after developing a shin injury. Jack Christopher’s connections had hoped the colt would recover quickly enough to aim for the Kentucky Derby (G1), but those aspirations ended fairly early over the winter.

Jack Christopher returned to action on Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs in the Pat Day Mile (G2). Favored at 7-10, Jack Christopher won for fun by 3 3/4 lengths over Pappacap. He’s now bankrolled $841,400 and is likely to stretch out around two turns for the first time in the $1 million Haskell (G1) at Monmouth Park, which is contested over 1 1/8 miles.

Bred in Kentucky by Castleton Lyons and Kilboy Estate, Jack Christopher sold for $135,000 at the Fasig-Tipton October yearling sale. By Munnings, he’s out of Rushin No Blushin, a Half Ours half-sister to multiple Grade 1 winner Street Boss.