Speed-burner Bob Black Jack makes his first appearance since the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) in the $100,000 Vernon O. Underwood Stakes (gr. III) at Hollywood Park Nov. 22.
The California-bred 3-year-old colt will be taking on older horses for the first time in the Underwood, which is contested at six furlongs. The North American record-holder for the distance at 1:06.53, Bob Black Jack worked five furlongs in a bullet :58 flat Nov. 15 for trainer Jim Kasparoff.
Jeff Harmon and Tim Kasparoff own the son of Stormy Jack who set the early pace in the Kentucky Derby and fought it out for a mile before tiring. He wound up 16th, some 32 lengths behind Big Brown. Winner of the Sunshine Millions Dash in January when he set the six-furlong mark on Santa Anita's old Cushion Track, Bob Black Jack ran at Churchill after a game try in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), where he finished second by a half-length to Colonel John.
He has raced on Hollywood Park's Cushion Track once before, finishing fourth in the Hollywood Prevue (gr. III) one year ago. He brings a lifetime mark of 3-2-1 in eight starts with earnings of $442,925.
Bob Black Jack, breaking from post 5 with David Flores aboard, will face six rivals in the Underwood, including Johnny Eves and Noble Court.
Johnny Eves won the Malibu (gr. I) at Santa Anita 11 months ago, but is winless in seven starts as a 4-year-old this year for trainer Jay Robbins. The Mooncoin homebred, a gelding by Skimming, is coming off a runner-up showing to Tribesman in the California Cup Sprint Handicap at Oak Tree Oct. 5. He has won twice in five starts on Hollywood's main track and has earned $416,720 in his career.
"I gave him some time off earlier in the year, and he didn't run that well in his first two starts back at Del Mar, but he ran a good second in the Cal Cup," said Robbins.
Garrett Gomez gets the call.
Trainer John Sadler will be represented by Noble Court, winner of the San Vicente (gr. II) last year, and Six Pack Abs, a son of Forest Wildcat making his stakes debut.
Sadler had originally intended to run Ancient Title (gr. I) victor Cost of Freedom in the Underwood, but the 5-year-old gelding remained on the veterinarian's list following a workout Nov. 19. He was scratched by the vets for unsoundness on the morning of the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Santa Anita Oct. 25.
Sadler still has hopes for his other two Underwood entrants, particularly the 4-year-old Noble Court, who returned from a 13-month layoff to post an impressive come-from-behind win over top allowance horses at Santa Anita Oct. 4.
“He had been out with a tendon injury,“ said Sadler, who has won the Underwood twice previously -- with Olympic Prospect in 1989 and Frost Free in 1990. Noble Court, a Doneraile Courtcolt owned by Joy Ride Racing, will be ridden by Mike Smith.
The 4-year-old Six Pack Abs comes off a pair of good allowance efforts at Santa Anita and will be ridden by Tyler Baze.
Northern Soldier, Wiredfortwotwenty and Master Daniel complete the field.
$100,000 Vernon O. Underwood Stakes (gr. III, Race 7, 3:35 p.m.), 3 & Up, 6 Furlongs (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Wiredfortwotwenty (KY), 116, Joseph Talamo
2. Six Pack Abs (KY), 118, Tyler Baze
3. Noble Court (KY), 122, Mike E. Smith
4. Master Daniel (KY), 114, Rafael Bejarano
5. Bob Black Jack (CA), 122, David R. Flores
6. Johnny Eves (CA), 122, Garrett K. Gomez
7. Northern Soldier (KY), 118, Aaron T. Gryder