Skeedattle Stable's Jack's in the Deck is trained by Robin Graham and was ridden to victory by Joe Bravo as the longest shot on the board at 14-1. This was Graham's first starter of the Belmont spring/summer meet.
Jack's in the Deck defeated five modestly-bred 2-year-olds in the six-furlong Futurity, which along with the Matron later on the card was returned to the Belmont schedule after a one-year haitus. The races, traditionally contested in the fall, were moved forward on the calendar to the summer in an attempt to stimulate early activity within the New York juvenile divisions.
The Futurity was the second start for Jack's in the Deck, a Maryland-bred son of Love of Money out of the unraced mare Thracian, by Partner's Hero. He is the first stakes winner produced by his dam.
Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Bowman bred the dark bay/brown colt. Jack's in the Deck began his career with a strong second at 10-1 in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden race at Delaware Park May 25.
“That was great!" exclaimed Graham. "We’ve been trying to get him into maiden races at Delaware Park because he’s Delaware-certified, but the races haven’t filled. He’s been getting better as he’s trained, and we all felt like going longer would be better for him. It worked out perfect."
Bravo saved ground with Jack's in the Deck while rating a few lengths off the pace set by Team Six, who was pushed along by Getupwiththesun through quarter-mile splits of :22.97 and :47.18. Tarpy's Goal, the 8-5 favorite, advanced wide from third on the turn for home to challenge Team Six in upper stretch.
Jack's in the Deck was forced to wait briefly in upper stretch as Tarpy's Goal drew alongside the front-runner. But Tarpy's Goal, ridden by Javier Casellano, drifted out through the lane, giving a patient Bravo plenty of room bring Jack's in the Deck between horses. Jack's in the Deck grabbed the lead past the eighth pole and drew off in the final sixteenth to complete the journey in a slow 1:13.36 over a main track rated "fast."
"I really didn’t know what to expect," said Bravo after riding the winner for the first time. "The horse showed some talent his first time out, but the minute the race started he showed me that he had these horses today. He looks like he’s got a good future ahead of him.”
Team Six, ridden by John Velazquez, held on gamely for second by a nose over Mike Tarp's Tarpy's Goal, a son of High Cotton who won his debut impressively at Churchill Downs May 19 for trainer Dale Romans. Large Kaufy finished fourth, followed by Getupwiththesun and Threeanddonedan.
Jack's in the Deck paid $30.40, $10.60, and $6.20 and keyed a $148.50 exacta. Team Six, a son of Lion Heart who captured his maiden bow by five lengths for trainer Mark Shuman at Monmouth Park June 18, returned $4.70 and $3.40. Tarpy's Goal was $2.60 to show.