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Spectacular Gem Wires Field in Jefferson Cup Triumph

Spectacular Gem Wires Field in Jefferson Cup Triumph

LOUISVILLE, KY – It was minor redemption for the husband-wife team of owner Candie and trainer Jimmy Baker as Spectacular Gem collected his first stakes with a wire-to-wire win in Saturday night’s 43rd running of the $125,000 Jefferson Cup Stakes for 3-year-olds at Churchill Downs.

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Spectacular Gem did the same thing in his previous start, the $200,000 Caesars Stakes at Indiana Grand at odds of 35/1, but was disqualified from first to fourth for interference.

This time, it was smooth sailing at 9-1.

James Graham replaced Declan Cannon aboard Spectacular Gem and they established a clear lead early. Spectacular Gem rated in hand down the backstretch and led the field of seven through fractions of :23.26, :47.11, and 1:11.37. He was challenged by multiple rivals around the final turn but swiftly repelled their bids and comfortably beat Tracksmith by 1 3/4 lengths to clock 1 1/8 miles on firm turf in 1:48.14. It was another nose back to Faraway Kitten in third.

“This horse really settled well today, taking off the blinkers,” Graham said. “Going longer tonight, I think that really helped him, and he just kept on motoring home. He’s a really nice horse and I’m thrilled for Jimmy.”

The $75,950 winner’s share jumped the Can the Man colt’s earnings to $161,920 from a record of 11-3-1-3.

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“This was a bit of redemption tonight for him after getting taken down last time,” said Jimmy Baker, who collected his first stakes win since Will’s Wildcat won the $88,300 Jimmy V. at Churchill Downs on the undercard of Breeders’ Cup Friday in 2011. “After the Caesars, we decided if we went to the Jefferson Cup, we’d take off the blinkers because he would be going the extra furlong. That really helped him. He worked well last week without them and proved his talent tonight.”

Spectacular Gem paid $21.40, $9.60 and $4. Tracksmith, ridden by Adam Beschizza, returned $4 and $3. Faraway Kitten, piloted by Julien Leparoux, paid $2.60 to show.

Clint MaroonRijeka, the 9/5 favorite Scars Are Cool, and Mick’s Star completed the order of finish. Corruze was scratched.

Out of the Malabar Gold mare Blackhawk Honey, Spectacular Gem was bred in Kentucky by Ledgelands LLC and Andrew Ritter.

The Jefferson Cup is named in honor of Jefferson County, the most populous county in Kentucky which Churchill Downs resides.

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