Favored General Jack made easy work of the $204,600 Centaur Stakes for 3-year-olds July 2 at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino, drawing off to a three-length victory on the turf (VIDEO).
Stalking pacesetter Broadway Zen from third, General Jack and jockey Robby Albarado rallied three wide around the far turn. The son of Giant's Causeway came on powerfully through the lane, pulling away near mid-stretch. He completed the one-mile listed stakes in 1:37.13 on firm going as the 17-10 pick in the field of 10.
Captain Dixie, rallying five wide under Carlos Marquez Jr., was a clear second by two lengths over Broadway Zen and Corey Lanerie in third. Broadway Zen carved easy fractions of :25.46, :49.43, and 1:13.65 before yielding in the homestretch.
The winner carried 118 pounds from the far outside post and paid $5.40, $3.60, and $2.60 across the board. He topped a $69 exacta with 14-1 shot Captain Dixie, who returned $11.60 and $8. Broadway Zen paid $4.60 while rounding off a trifecta worth $494.80.
General Jack produced his second win a row for trainer Mike Maker, who owns him in partnership with F. Thomas Conway. The chestnut colt was a 4 1/2-length allowance winner June 6 at one mile on the Churchill Downs turf. General Jack ran fifth in the American Turf Stakes (gr. IIT) on the Kentucky Derby undercard a month earlier at Churchill Downs.
"(General Jack) broke well and the post position was to my advantage," said Albarado. "He got more aggressive around the second turn and then sprinted home. This is a very, very nice horse and Mike (Maker) has done a nice job with him."
Maker told HRTV that General Jack would be pointed toward the Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) at Arlington International Race Course.
"On paper, it looked like there was a lot of speed in this race, but Robby let him (General Jack) run and placed him well early on," said Maker. "It has taken a while for him to come around but we are very pleased with him and have high expectations for him."
Bred in Kentucky by Lawrence Goichman out of the multiple graded stakes-winning mare J'ray, by Distant View, General Jack was a $200,000 purchase by Conway from consignor Niall Brennan Stables at the Keeneland Association April 2013 Two-year-Olds in Training Sale. The colt fetched $190,000 from the Indian Creek consignment at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling auction before that.
Earning $116,622 for his third win from eight tries, General Jack has now banked $235,358. He won the Shakopee Juvenile Stakes last August at Canterbury Park. All three of General Jack's wins have come on grass, and he's now 3-for-4 at the one-mile distance.
"Mike was spot on with his preparation of this colt and had him fit," said Conway, whose son, Jack, is the current Kentucky Attorney General and plans to run for governor of the state in 2015. "Robby rode him perfectly today. He seems to have found a home on the turf and we are hoping for some big wins from him."
The Conways campaigned Stately Victor, winner of the 2010 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).
Wallyanna, the 123-pound highweight and second choice at 3-1, finished fourth, followed by Sportscaster, Got Shades, Here's Johnny, Rise Up, Laddie Boy, and Louies Flower.
The race pulled in the highest single race handle of the 2014 meet thus far with a total of $298,260 wagered. In all, the 10-race program that featured three stakes over the turf and included nine Thoroughbred races and one Quarter Horse race, totaled more than $1.7 million in handle from all sources.
The Centaur was the second stakes win on the card for Albarado and Maker, who also connected with Quiet Force in the $100,000 J. Kenneth Self Shelby County Boys & Girls Club Stakes earlier.
The afternoon marked the first turf races of the 2014 meet as the course underwent renovations from the previous year under the direction of track superintendent Johnnie Jamison.
"Congratulations to the guys that got the turf course like it is," said Albarado. "The surface is fantastic and they've done a really great job with it."