Jacks or Better Farm’s co-owner Fred Brei said Oct. 26 he has sold a majority interest in his homebred 2-year-old star Jackson Bend to Robert LaPenta for an undisclosed sum.
Brei said LaPenta has transferred the son of Hear No Evil —Sexy Stockings, by Tabasco Cat, from trainer Stanley Gold to Nick Zito. Jackson Bend will be sent from Jacks or Better Farm near Ocala, Fla., to Zito’s barn at Churchill Downs later this week. Brei declined to say the percentage of ownership that Jacks or Better will retain in the colt.
Jackson Bend completed a sweep of this year’s Florida Stallion Stakes series on Oct. 17 when he won the $400,000 In Reality Stakes at Calder Race Course in Miami Gardens, Fla. Prior to the 1 1/16-mile In Reality, Jackson Bend won Calder’s six-furlong Dr. Fager Stakes Aug. 8 and its Aug. 29 Affirmed Stakes at seven furlongs.
Under Gold, Jackson Bend won five of six starts and $477,820. All of those races were over Calder’s main track. In his wake in the July 11 Frank Gomez Memorial Stakes at six furlongs was D' Funnybone , who has since gone on to win the Saratoga Special (gr. II) and the Sept. Futurity Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park.
“I feel there is no better trainer anywhere than Stanley Gold,” Brei said. “He did an outstanding job with Jackson Bend. But I am no longer the majority owner, and Bob LaPenta uses Nick Zito as his trainer.”
Jackson Bend would have been among favorites for Nov. 7 Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. LaPenta will stick with Brei’s plan of not running the colt in the $2-million race. Brei and Gold had ruled out a trip for Jackson Bend to the Breeders’ Cup. They cited their preference to not run on Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride surface and the long trip on a three-week turnaround. Brei said LaPenta indicated to him that Zito probably will not race Jackson Bend again this year. Brei and his wife, Jane, own Jacks or Better Farm. Brei said he received several offers for Jackson Bend prior to the In Reality and about a half-dozen since that race. He would not identify bidders, but said several others were from buyers who would have kept him as a partner.
“I didn’t like what I was hearing from those other than Bob LaPenta on who would train him or where he would run,” Brei said. “Bob was very like-minded with me about the horse”
LaPenta owns and Zito trains Da' Tara, winner of the 2008 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park and Cool Coal Man , winner of the 2008 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II). They also teamed up with War Pass, who won the 2007 Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and was named champion 2-year-old male.
“I did not want to cash out on Jackson Bend,” Brei said. “I live and race in Florida, and I feel it is important to give a good Florida-bred a chance to succeed. I expect they (LaPenta and Zito) will have him on the Kentucky Derby trail,” Brei said. Jackson Bend’s national profile grew substantially in the In Reality. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 100 - the fastest in North America for a 2-year-old around two turns this year.