Jackson Bend , runner-up to Kentucky Derby favorite Eskendereya in both the Fountain of Youth (gr. II) and Wood Memorial (gr. I) stakes, displayed a fondness for Churchill Downs as the Nick Zito trainee worked a fast four furlongs April 15 in :47.40.
He is owned by Jacks or Better Farm and Robert LaPenta.
The work over fast footing under exercise rider Carlos Correa ranked third among 30 at the distance. The son of Hear No Evil --Sexy Stockings, by Tabasco Cat, worked in company with stablemate Thomas Got Even and covered the half-mile in fractions of :11.60, :23.60,:35.40 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.20. Thomas Got Even covered the distance in an identical time.
"I love it," said Zito of the move, the first by Jackson Bend since his arrival at Churchill Downs, in a statement released from Churchill Downs. "If he could actually do that next week, maybe Thursday or Friday, I’d be happy. Obviously he’s not a big horse and, more importantly, he’s just as good as can be and we’re happy about all that."
Jackson Bend has never run worse than second in nine career races, including five victories. He has earned $707,820.
"He’s an amazing horse," said Zito. "I guess when they say ‘Good things come in small packages,’ I guess they know what mean. He’s that kind of horse – he’s just a tryer. He always tries, day and night, and he doesn’t give up. And that’s the kind of horse you need. He’s consistent – and consistent makes you good. If somebody makes a mistake and he runs his normal race, we’re in good shape."
The other Kentucky Derby hopeful for Zito and LaPenta, Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Ice Box , galloped on the morning of April 15 and was scheduled to breeze the following day just after the break for track maintenance. Zito said the physical makeup of the chestnut son of Pulpit reminds him of his 1991 Kentucky Derby winner Strike the Gold, the first of two Derby winners for the native New Yorker.
"These horses have kept their fitness – they’ve run all winter," said Zito. "Ice Box has had three mile-and-an-eighth races in a row, including the Florida Derby (gr. I). So, I’ve just got to be careful. You can’t under-train them, but you certainly can’t over-train them."