SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Steve Asmussen’s “other” entry struck the front end early and ran away in the stretch to win Friday’s $150,000 Saratoga Special Stakes Presented by Miller Lite (G2).
Brushing the gate while breaking from the far outside post 10 under Joel Rosario as the 3/1 second choice, Jackie’s Warrior immediately put some distance between himself and Momos, safely crossing over midway down the backstretch.
Momos and Therideofalifetime gave closest chase while Jackie’s Warrior posted opening fractions of :22.06 and :44.85. The rest of the field was several lengths behind heading into the far turn, and Jackie’s Warrior remained on cruise control.
Opening up at the top of the stretch, Jackie’s Warrior drew off under only mild urging, keeping his foes at bay before crossing 3 lengths clear in a final time of 1:09.62 for the 6-furlong fast dirt sprint.
“(Asmussen) wanted me to get him out of there where he put himself,” Rosario said. “He broke well and we were just hanging on the lead, so I just rode it from there. He was looking really nice and he was enjoying that. He had his going ears back and forth and he looked like he was going easy, even though the fractions were fast. He was having no problem with that. When they came close to him, he wanted to go, and I felt even more confident at that point. I knew he had something left.”
Therideofalifetime stayed on for second, 4 lengths clear of a weakening Momos. Garoppolo was fourth ahead of Cazadero, the winner’s stablemate and the 8/5 favorite. Papetu, Market Alert, Pickin’ Time, and Hold the Salsa completed the order of finish.
Caramel Chip and Roderick scratched, with the latter’s connections opting to run in Saturday’s Best Pal Stakes (G2) at Del Mar.
Jackie’s Warrior’s win followed a maiden-breaking debut at Churchill Downs over Therideofalifetime, among others. The 2-year-old Maclean’s Music colt – purchased for $95,000 as a yearling – has now earned $127,564 for owner Kirk Robison.
“With babies, I just wanted a clean break as he did in his first race and let his talent take over,” Asmussen said. “Being Saratoga, there were a lot of nice forms coming into it, but when you get to Saratoga, not everybody likes the circumstances. I’m glad to see that he does. Good final time. Watching today’s races, I think the track played fair. I don’t think (the lead) was anywhere he had to be, it’s just where he was.”
Jackie’s Warrior returned $8.20 to win, $4.40 to place, and $3.60 to show. Therideofalifetime brought back $4.50 to place and $3.40 to show, while Momos paid $5.40 to show.