Jacks or Better Farm’s homebred 2-year-old colt Jackson Bend overcame a poor start and a late challenge from a contender to win the $400,000 In Reality Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes during Calder Race Course’s Festival of the Sun Oct. 17 (VIDEO). The victory made him the seventh horse in history to complete a sweep of the open division of the Florida Stallion Stakes.
Ridden by Jeffrey Sanchez for trainer Stanley Gold, Jackson Bend stumbled out of the starting gate in the 1 1/16-mile race, but quickly recovered and got into contention going into the first turn. Racing just off the pace set by What a Prince down the backstretch, Jackson Bend made his move at the three-eighths pole, the same time as Bim Bam, under Eibar Coa.
At the quarter pole, Jackson Bend became the leader but had to hold off the challenge of Thank U Philippe coming down the homestretch. Jackson Bend shook off the threat and extended his lead to 2 3/4 lengths at the finish line. Thank U Philippe came in second with Bim Bam five lengths back in third.
Jackson Bend, by Hear No Evil, completed the distance in 1:46.86 and paid $3.60, $2.60, and $2.10 as the favorite. Thank U Philippe paid $4.40 and $3.00, while Bim Bam, the second betting choice, returned $2.80 to show.
“He is the ‘cardiac kid.’ He scared me at the start,” Gold said. “I was afraid he hurt himself, but he hung in there. I was confident all along that the distance or the track wouldn’t be a problem. I just wanted him to get a clean trip. When the challenge came in the stretch, (Sanchez) he hadn’t gotten to the bottom of our horse and he responded.
“As for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I, Nov. 7 at Santa Anita), I personally am not a fan of the synthetic tracks. I’ve never even been to California. The final decision will be up to Mr. (Fred) Brei (owner-breeder). There will be plenty of races for him down the road at Gulfstream this winter.”
In other action on Festival of the Sun day, Quantum Racing Team #1’s Kentucky-bred 4-year-old gelding Mambo Meister was a dominant in winner in the $100,000 Spend a Buck Handicap (gr. III) on the main track for trainer Phil Gleaves (VIDEO).
The Spend a Buck Handicap is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge "Win and You’re In" program, and Mambo Meister automatically qualified for the $1-million Dirt Mile (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park Nov. 7.
Mambo Meister, with jockey Manoel Cruz in the irons, defeated Motovato by 3 3/4 lengths lengths. Pechito was three lengths back in third place. Mambo Meister, by King Cugat, covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.85 and paid $7.80, $3.40 and $2.60. It was his first graded stakes triumph. Pechito paid $8.20 to show.
“I’m ecstatic over the way he ran today,” Gleaves said. “He’s always been versatile and he just loves this track. Like many horses that run well on turf, I think he could do well on a synthetic surface. We’ll probably start talking about the Breeders’ Cup (Dirt Mile) over dinner tonight.”
In the $100,000 Calder Derby (gr. IIIT), Lewis Schaffel’s homebred Kentucky-bred 3-year-old colt Sal the Barber stalked the pace and came on strong to win by a half-length. Sal the Barber defeated Grand Cash, who was just a neck ahead of Livingston Street in the blanket finish (VIDEO).
Ridden by jockey Eddie Castro for trainer Christophe Clement, favored Sal the Barber was making his first start at Calder, shipping in from New York. He covered 1 1/8 miles over a firm turf course in 1:49.41 and paid $3, $2.10, and $2.10.
Sal the Barber, by Alphabet Soup, also won his first graded stakes race. He was the runner-up in the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (gr. IIT) at Saratoga in August.