BDEL MAR, CA – Al and Saundra Kirkwood’s homebred Blackjackcat extended his win streat to three after gamely holding off Vyjack by a head at the wire in Sunday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Del Mar Mile Handicap.
Stalking just off the rail under jockey Kent Desormeaux, Blackjackcat tracked Midnight Storm through pacesetting splits of :23.16, :46.88, and 1:10.32.
Taking a short lead nearing midstretch, Blackjackcat began to inch away while Vyjack began to make his move on the outside. The pair battled hard down the stretch as Vyjack surged late, but Blackjackcat reached the wire first by a head in a final time of 1:34.06 for the mile-long turf event.
“I rode to my instructions,” Desormeaux said. “I was told to get into Midnight Storm’s jock and not get out. I did. He ran great.”
Om finished a length back in third, with Midnight Storm, Le Ken, and Bal a Bali completing the order of finish.
The 4-year-old gelding trained by Mark Glatt improved his record to 13-5-0-4 and career earnings of $353,270. The win was his third in a row at a mile on turf and was his second straight over Vyjack.
“We gave him a nice break after his 3-year-old campaign, got a couple races in him at Santa Anita, and finally settled on his best distance, which seems to be a flat mile,” Glatt said. “Last year, we were in contention to win some of the Derbies we tried, but at a mile and 1/8, they were just a hair too far for him. With a little rest after that 3-year-old campaign, he’s come back stronger and carries his weight better and he has proven me right.”
Blackjackcat returned $19.60 to win, $8.80 to place, and $3.60 to show. Vyjack brought back $5 place and $3.20 to show, while Om paid $3 to show.