Jack’s Wild, a 5-year-old gelding ridden by Brice Blanc, stormed from dead last after six furlongs to end a 14-race losing streak when victorious in Sunday’s $110,400 Crystal Water Handicap on the Santa Anita grass.
In winning his first race since taking an optional claimer by a nose at Fairplex Park on Sept. 25, 2005, Jack’s Wild overcame his far outside post in the field of nine, covering the one mile-event for horses bred in California in 1:34.84 to defeat runner-up Scottsbluff by three-quarters of a length.
“He always seems to be coming up a little short,” trainer Jorge Gutierrez, said after the late-running son of Lil Tyler recorded his first stakes win. “He comes running, but gets beat every time. But today he got a perfect ride from Brice Blanc.”
With Jack’s Wild still last in the field of nine while rounding the far turn, Blanc found an opening between horses entering the stretch. The dark bay methodically swept past his opposition while under strong urging to get up the final stages.
Scottsbluff, with Clinton Potts aboard, settled for second after gaining a short lead in the stretch, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of the Crystal Water’s defending champion, Super Strut, who was third with Tyler Baze aboard. El Don, the 19-10 favorite, wound up last while never a factor.
Jack’s Wild paid $23.60, $9.60, and $7.60. The return on Scottsbluff was $12 and $8, with Super Strut paying $6.40 to show.
The victory was worth $66,240 for Alex Venneri, who races as Venneri Racing. The check increased the career earnings of Jack’s Wild to $245,167 from an overall record of 3-4-2 in 24 starts.
In his previous start over the course at Sunday's distance, Jack’s Wild missed winning by only a neck despite finishing fourth with Blanc in the saddle and having to rally four horses wide into the stretch. This time, the French-born rider benefited from a waiting ride.
“At about the half-mile pole, the other horses kicked on, and I was happy with my position,” said Blanc. “So I just waited and was able to save all the ground. When we turned for home, things opened up. I just gave him a couple of taps and he quickened very well. He’s a fun horse to ride.”