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Jackie’s Warrior goes gate to wire in G2 Saratoga Special presented by Miller Lite

By RYAN MARTIN

NYRA Press

SARATOGA SPRINGS — J. Kirk Robison’s Jackie’s Warrior broke sharply from the gate and never looked back, making the grade in the 115th running of the Grade 2, $150,000 Saratoga Special presented by Miller Lite at Saratoga Race Course.

The son of Maclean’s Music joined the likes of champions Colin (1905), Regret (1914), Morvich (1921), Blue Larkspur (1928), Top Flight (1931), Whirlaway (1941), Native Dancer (1952), Nearctic (1956), Bold Forbes (1975), Conquistador Cielo (1981), and Favorite Trick (1997) as winners of the historic six-furlong event for 2-year-olds.

Piloted by Joel Rosario, Jackie’s Warrior was swift in breaking from his outside post and was sent straight to the lead, recording fractions of 22.06 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and the half-mile in 44.85.

At the top of the stretch, Jackie’s Warrior was still in command with Therideofalifetime unleashing a bid to his outside. But Jackie’s Warrior prevailed and crossed the wire under a hand ride to win by three lengths in a final time of 1:09.62 on the fast main track.

Therideofalifetime finished another four lengths ahead of third-place finisher Momos.

Completing the order of finish were Garoppolo, Cazadero, Papetu, Market Alert, Pickin’ Time and Hold the Salsa. Roderick and Caramel Chip were scratched.

Returning $8.20 for a $2 win ticket, Jackie’s Warrior arrived off a 2 ½-length debut win at Churchill Downs over subsequent Saratoga Special runner-up Therideofalifetime. He boosted his earnings to $127,564.

The victory was a fifth triumph in the Saratoga Special for Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, who is just one short of Hall of Famer James Rowe Sr.’s record six Saratoga Special wins.

“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 it [the lead] was anywhere he had to be, it’s just where he was.”

The victory marked the meet-leading seventh stakes score for Rosario, who said he felt confident throughout aboard Jackie’s Warrior.

“He [trainer Steve 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.”

Bred in Kentucky by J & J Stables, Jackie’s Warrior is out of the A.P. Five Hundred mare Unicorn Girl.

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