J. Kirk and Judy Robison’s reigning Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Jackie’s Warrior sped to the front in Saturday’s $750,000 Churchill Downs S. (G1) and never looked back. With jockey Joel Rosario along for the ride, the Steve Asmussen trainee posted a four-length triumph and completed seven furlongs in 1:21.95 over a track labeled fast.
Sent off the even-money favorite in the field of seven, Jackie’s Warrior ran in the three or four path and in the clear the whole way, going past a quarter-mile in :22.76, a half in :45.50 and six panels in 1:09.50. While most of the field wasn’t far behind for the bulk of the race, Jackie’s Warrior was in firm control throughout and was never threatened.
Following the champion past the wire were Reinvestment Risk, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner Aloha West, Sir Alfred James, Mind Control, Long Range Toddy and Prevalence. Cezanne was scratched.
It was by design to keep the bay away from possible traffic inside, according to Rosario.
“It seemed better to keep him off the rail,” the winning pilot explained afterward. “It seemed to be a better place for him. He’s an amazing horse. The speed that he is able to give you. He is just a strong horse, to get out of there (at the start) – like a Quarter Horse, and to keep going with that speed. He’s just there for you whenever you ask.”
Jackie’s Warrior, a son of Maclean’s Music, was bred in Kentucky by J & J Stables and sold for $95,000 at the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. He was produced by the hard-knocking and durable A. P. Five Hundred mare Unicorn Girl, who visited the winner’s circle 19 times in 54 starts and earned just under $500,000. The 17-year-old Unicorn Girl has a reported 2022 filly by Into Mischief.
Jackie’s Warrior bumped his total earnings to $2,309,664 with Saturday’s win. The colt owns 10 wins from 14 starts, with a second and a third, and has Grade 1 scores from each year he’s raced, including the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial S. (G1), Hopeful S. (G1), Champagne S. (G1) as well as Saturday’s triumph. He also took the Pat Day Mile S. (G2) on Derby Day last year.
Asmussen didn’t announce afterward where or when Jackie’s Warrior will make his next start.