Horse Racing 3 Stars of the Week: Jackie’s Warrior Reigns Supreme

By | August 1, 2022

Every once and a while a horse comes along that proves a generational talent. Jackie’s Warrior has proven to be among those with his run at Saratoga.

Honorable Mention

Twilight Gleaming (Del Mar)

The Wesley Ward trainee was sent off as the second choice behind Leggs Galore. Although the two were almost even in the wagering, Twilight Gleaming made that look like a mockery. She dueled throughout much of the race with the top choice before dispatching of her in the lane. Xmas Surprise came running late but couldn’t get up in time. The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint winner remains perfect at Del Mar.

Justique (Del Mar)

The debut runner was let off at 8-1. It turned out to be a big mistake. The horse has some major triple crown connections. Her sire is triple crown winner Justify. Her rider for the debut was Victor Espinoza who rode American Pharoah to a triple crown in 2015.

Unlike her front running father, Justique took way back trailing the entire field up the backstretch before carving through the pack around the far turn. In the lane it took only mild urging for her to swallow up the front runners and scamper home to an open length win.

Epicenter (Saratoga)

The winner of the Jim Dandy was certainly impressive. He took unusual tactics dropping off the pace and passing tiring rivals in the stretch. He clearly stamped himself as another major player in a very crowded three year old division.

Prank (Saratoga)

The first time starter broke out quickly from the gate. The Pletcher trained filly flew the opening quarter in 21 and 4/5ths seconds entering the stretch in the lead. As she straightened out she rebroke and the horse that had been keeping her company completely folded and failed to hit the board. She is an Into Mischief filly who is a half sister to Belmont Stakes winner Mo Donegal.

Third Star: Just Ask Joel (Canterbury Park)

Tote dividends at Canterbury Park on 7/27 | @Minnesotabred Twitter

Canterbury Park took a midsummer break. They returned on Wednesday, July 27th. They returned with a bang.

Heartbeat of Thoroughbred Racing

The 6th and final thoroughbred race on the evening was for $4,000 claimers. Claiming races are the heartbeat of horse racing with most of the equine population falling into this racing class.

The runners in this particular race were among the lowest level of horses in the country. Compared to graded stakes types that can sell at auction for 6 figures, the horses in this race could be bought out of the race for just $4,000.

While they may not be the quality animals you see at the big meets, these horses can absolutely deliver exciting racing. One of the reasons is that their inconsistent performances can make for absolute chaos. Enter this week’s third star.

Just Ask Joel

No one expected much from Ezekiel Lara and the #8 Just Ask Joel in the race. He was left to go off as the longest shot on the board at 80-1 in the 11 horse field.

Quick Start

As the gates popped, he jumped out to a three way battle for the lead with a longshot to his inside and the favored Yesteryear to his outside. The three ran up the Canterbury Park back stretch. The longshot #2 on the inside gave way while the the #3 Fender Bender split between the #8 and #9 to maintain a trio on the front end.

The constant pressure on the front end was obvious as the horses ran the opening quarter in a solid 22 and 3/5th seconds.

Headed on the Turn

As the horses rounded the far turn the upset bid looked over as Harry Hernandez got the favorite out in front by half a length and the #3 appeared to get a neck in front of Just Ask Joel.

The longest shot on the board re-rallied and by the time the horses entered the final furlong it was Fender Bender who was doing the moonwalk and the race appeared to be down to just the bookenders on the tote board.

Game in the Stretch

Down to just 2 Just Ask Joel had retaken the lead. The favorite Yesteryear was looming up, but the long shot continued to show heart holding off each stride and getting under the wire by a head.

Canterbury Park History

Race 6 at Canterbury Park (7/27/22) | Canterbury Park LiveStream

The excitement was obvious and could be heard in announcer Paul Allen’s voice. The same Paul Allen who’s call of the Minneapolis Miracle will go down in NFL lore.

The $162 return on a $2 win wager was a landmark. The mutuel payoff was the largest win return in the history of Canterbury Park as well as its previous iteration, Canterbury Downs.

Second Star: Tyler’s Tribe (Prairie Meadows)

Prairie Meadows Racetrack | Photo Credit ABR

The second star of the week is also Midwest based. Tyler’s Tribe took to the gate in the Iowa Stallion Futurity at odds of 1-9. The leading earner of Sharp Azteca’s first class of runners delivered.

Perfect Start

Since his debut in June of this year, Tyler’s Tribe was a perfect 2 for 2. He won a Prairie Meadows maiden special weight race by 16 and 3/4 lengths in June earning a 94 Equibase Speed Figure.

His return to the race track would come on July 9 in the Prairie Gold Juvenile Stakes race. It was the only time in his career he has not be the favorite. He proceeded to win by 8 1/2 lengths that day. The race marked his smallest margin of victory to date and earned him a 93 Equibase Speed Figure.

Run Them Off Their Feet

Unsurprisingly, he was bet way down in Saturday’s Iowa Stallion Futurity. Once again he romped under mild urging. There was an oddly timed crop use once in the stretch perhaps as a result of the horse lugging a bit or potentially a loss of focus given that no horse had been within 5 lengths of him for the last 3 furlongs. The effort produced a 12 1/2 length victory and a 97 Equibase Speed Figure.

Tyler’s Tribe now has 2 Iowa black type wins to his name and has led at every call of all three races. Normally there would be concern about his ability to run if he doesn’t get the lead, but among the current crop he’s facing it is hard to imagine any horse that can keep up enough to make that happen.

Bigger Things Ahead?

The horse has two potential key races to point toward at Prairie Meadows. The track will run the Prairie Meadows Freshman Stakes on August 27 at 6 furlongs. This would seem like the logical next stakes try. However, given the current spacing of the races it seems like he might be likely to get another race in before then.

The final stop at Prairie Meadows could be a run in the Iowa Cradle Stakes on October 1. The connections of trainer Timothy Martin and jockey Kylee Jordan are based in Iowa during the meet and there has been no word of the horse shipping out of state in search of more lucrative prizes.

One thing is for sure, wherever this horse runs he will be a major presence until the others can catch up to his precocity. If he trains on from this form into his three year old campaign he has to be considered a favorite in any 3 year old Iowa stakes and a player should he venture out of state.

First Star: Jackie’s Warrior (Saratoga)

Jackie's Warrior after winning the Champagne
Jackie’s Warrior

Jackie’s Warrior has been one of the most dominate sprinters in the game. Trained by Steve Asumussen the colt has run 16 times. 12 Times he’s followed that race with a picture in the winner’s circle. Perhaps most impressively 11 of those were graded stakes races.

Historic Run

On Saturday Jackie’s Warrior won the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap carrying more weight than any of his competitors. The Grade 1 race confirmed that Jackie’s Warrior is in a class all to his own.

With the victory he becomes the first horse to ever win a grade 1 race at ages 2,3, and 4 at Saratoga. As a two year old he won the Grade 1 Hopeful. During his three year old campaign he returned to the Spa to take down the H. Allen Jerkins Memorial Stakes. Saturday’s performance was his 2022 Saratoga debut and may be a setup up for the Forego later in the meet.

Impressive Victory

Jackie’s Warrior earned a 105 Beyer Speed Figure in the Vanderbilt. That in and of itself means he ran fast. However, the ease with which he did it suggests the number could have been much higher.

2022 Alfred G. Vanderbilt

Easy Winner

The Vanderbilt is a handicap meaning that horses are assigned to carry different weights based on their accomplishments. Jackie’s Warrior was assigned the highest weight in the race for obvious reasons.

In the race he faced a momentary challenge from Doc Amster who looked dead set on trying to get ahead of the favorite and carry them around. Rosario aboard the chalk let him clear off, tipped outside, and rolled on by to reclaim the lead. He would never relinquish.

Sitting Chilly

Those new to racing may be unfamiliar with the term “sitting chilly”. The term is often used to describe a jockey who is simply sitting on a horse’s back allowing them to what comes naturally.

Much like track events horses cannot sprint the entire distance of most races. This means that jockeys must determine when to ask them for their maximum effort. The right time to ask for that can be wildly different from horse to horse.

Jackie’s Warrior In a Class of his Own

Although the final margin of victory was nothing terribly significant in the race, the replay tells the real story of how talented this horse is. Throughout the entirety of the race Joel Rosario never extends his arms out of 90 degree angle. This suggests the horse did everything without encouragement.

Meanwhile an examination of the runners behind the eventual winner will show jockeys using the crop, shaking the reins, and pressing on their horse’s neck vigorously.

Horses in the stretch of the Vanderbilt | Screen Capture of NYRA YouTube Channel

In the image capture above, the jockey of the #1 (red box) can be seen shaking reins with a circular arm motion. The jockeys of the #5 (green line) and #3 (blue line) can be seen using the crop to encourage their runners. The #6 (black box) and #2 (white cap) are extending their arms to drive down on their horses neck to encourage them to reach out. Meanwhile Joel Rosario aboard Jackie’s Warrior (yellow line) still hasn’t left first gear.

Jackie’s Warrior left no doubt. He’s a generational talent in the dirt sprint division.

3 Stars of the Week

See a performance that blows you away this week? Don’t forget to nominate horses for the 3 stars of the week by emailing [email protected] or tweeting @T3handicapping.

Daily Coverage

Betting News will continue bringing full card analysis from each and every race day at the summer’s hottest meets including Saratoga, Del Mar, Laurel Park, and Monmouth Park.

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