The upstart California-bred colt Bob Black Jack, second in the April 5 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) is headed to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) for his next so long as he has the graded earnings to make the 20-horse field, his trainer said April 11.
A $4,500 bargain purchase, Bob Black Jack has earned nearly 10 times that amount, $442,925, including $150,000 for finishing second in the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby, a race in which he lead and was caught in deep stretch to be beaten a half-length by Colonel John.
Bob Black Jack will run in blinkers for the first time when he works April 14 in preparation for the May 3 Kentucky Derby, trainer James Kasparoff.
“The horse will work in a half-mile Monday in company with one of my horses,” said the 33-year-old Kasparoff, who has only four horses in his stable. “We’re going to try some blinkers on him just to make sure he’s not too aggressive with them. As long as he can get in the Derby, he’s going to go. I intend to take him as long as he qualifies in graded earnings.”
Owned by Jim’s brother, Tim, and Jeff Harmon, Bob Black Jack, is currently tied at 15th with Visionaire in graded earnings. Each has $180,000. The Derby field is limited to 20 starters based on earnings in graded stakes races. Kasparoff said David Flores would be aboard for Monday’s drill, and also has the mount in the Kentucky Derby.
“We’ll see what happens after this weekend,” Kasparoff said, referring to the $1-million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park and the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland, both April 12. “There are a lot of horses that can jump up and get ahead of us.”
Kasparoff dismissed criticism that Bob Black Jack has distance limitations that would make the 1 1/4-mile Derby beyond his scope. Bob Black Jack, a son of Stormy Jack--Molly’s Prospector, set a world record Jan. 26 for six furlongs in winning the Sunshine Millions Dash in 1:06.53 at Santa Anita.
“He’ll have no problem going a mile and a quarter," Kasparoff said, noting Bob Black Jack finished third by 1 3/4 lengths to Georgie Boy in the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe (gr. II) after a pace duel prior to the Santa Anita Derby.
"He got a mile and a sixteenth. He got a mile and an eighth and he was finishing in that race," he said. "Colonel John was life and death to get him. He had to give everything he had, and he didn’t start running until he got to the outside. We were finishing; we weren’t crawling home, so a mile and a quarter won’t be a problem.”
Meanwhile, Craig Dollase said he has “no plans” for Kentucky Derby candidate El Gato Malo, who finished fifth as the 9-5 favorite in the Santa Anita Derby. “Right now we’re taking a wait-and-see approach,” the trainer said