Excuse me while I scrape my jaw off the floor. While I've been busy catching up on my work since I returned home from my epic California trip (which I promise to blog about once I touch up all my pictures (stupid computer memory fail)), I've been lamenting the fact no 3-year-old has really grabbed my attention, save for the ridiculously impressive win of Afleet Express in his maiden race on December 5th.
And then today, I happened to find a link on Bloodhorse.com from Brisnet of all places about the "favorite" for the Holy Bull Stakes this Saturday. I was researching for my article, which was about all the newsbreaks since last Saturday, and hoped to cram in some brief handicapping for the Lecomte Stakes and Holy Bull this Saturday. Imagine my surprise when I read that not only was there a 3-year-old on a 5-race win streak I hadn't yet heard about, but that he is such an impressive winner on a 5-race win streak. Twitter has failed me. What good is this micro social networking website if I don't get all the neccesary Kentucky Derby trail tidbits on a you-heard-it-here-first basis?
But I digress. After reading the aforementioned article and watching the race linked in the article, I nearly choked on my chai, fell out of my chair, and wanted to call everyone in the horse racing world I knew to tell them about this race I'd just watched. Forget Lookin at Lucky, nevermind Buddy's Saint... make way for Jackson Bend.
This chestnut colt has won at 6 furlongs and 1 1/16 miles. His last race, the In Reality Stakes, is what has me supercharged and frothing at the mouth in anticipation for the Holy Bull...
If you are unable to view this video, here is the jist of it: Jackson Bend stumbles and falls to his nose at the break, zooms into fourth place at the first turn, then makes his way into a stalking position and takes the lead at the quarter pole, and manages to hold off the challenge of Thank You Philippe (whose had a clean trip the whole race) and then pulls away to win by 2 3/4 lengths. A 2-year old is not supposed to be that salty. Most horses with that kind of a disasterous start would never recover and not even finish in the money, let alone draw away clear after being challenged in the middle of the turn. This kind of run makes you think about the champions who have overcome such adversity: Rags to Riches and War Admiral, for instance, both had those stumble and win stories in the Belmont Stakes. The bottom line: Jackson Bend couldn't have been more impressive in athleticism and heart.
The Brisnet article states that Jackson Bend "registered BRIS Speed ratings as high as 106 last year, with century-topping Late Pace numbers to his credit in his last two starts." In addition, the Daily Racing Form states that he was "the only juvenile in North America to post a triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure going two turns in 2009." This sounds good enough for me to have a legitimate reason to be excited about this colt. What's more, he has been transferred to the barn of Derby veteran trainer, Nick Zito.
Now of course I know that Derby roadsters fall off the trail on a daily basis, but if the horse racing gods are kind (and lately, they have been), they will save this one from injury or politics and will let him blossom into what he will without incident. And if Jackson Bend blossoms into anything resembling what he showed as a 2-year-old, we are in for a wild 2010 in the 3-year-old division.
I can't remember the last time I've been so excited to watch the Holly Bull Stakes.