Jackson Bend Seeks James Marvin Repeat
Defending winner Jackson Bend looks for a repeat July 20 in the $100,000 James Marvin Stakes (gr. III) at Saratoga Race Course, an event he used to launch a successful Forego Stakes (gr. I) bid last year. As usual, he'll have to tangle with a giant to get the job done.
The seven-furlong James Marvin is the first stakes race of the 144th Saratoga season, and is co-featured on the opening day card with the $150,000 Schuylerville Stakes (gr. III) for 2-year-old fillies going six furlongs. Estimated post time is 4:55 p.m. EDT.
Jackson Bend, a son of Hear No Evil trained by Hall of Famer Nick Zito for prominent owner Robert LaPenta, has taken down the best of them in the past three years—including his most recent conquest, when he overcame top sprinter Caleb's Posse to win the April 7 Carter Handicap (gr. I) at Aqueduct by a nose.
"He's hanging in there," Zito remarked of his runner. "Tough little horse. It was a good race for him last year, start of a comeback. Hopefully (this time) he gets a good race, and a good break, good trip, and some good luck."
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Caixa Eletronica has two graded victories from six starts this season, including an April 14 score in the Charles Town Classic (gr. II). The 7-year-old son of Arromanches also delivered a less-than-impressive performance in the Met Mile, running fourth, but seemed to recover in fine form when he closed determinedly in the True North to get the job done by three-quarters of a length under a vigorous hand ride.
Caixa Eletronica was also twice victorious at the Spa last year, taking starter handicaps at six furlongs and 1 1/8 miles.
"Usually I get nervous when my horses run; with him, I’m entertained," Repole said. "He's a throwback horse. He can win at any distance, any weather condition. Here's a horse who ran in $16,000 claimers, and he's won graded stakes from six furlongs to 1 1/8 miles at age 7. He's the kind of horse that drew me to the game to begin with."
Jackson Bend drew the far outside under new rider Rosie Napravnik and is the 7-5 favorite on the morning line; Caixa Eletronica will break from post one under Javier Castellano as the 5-2 second choice. Both runners share high weight of 123 pounds for the seven-furlong sprint, while five other older horses are evenly matched at 119 pounds.
He also took the April 14 Lyman Handicap there via disqualification against state-bred company as the defending champ. Last year he finished fifth behind Jackson Bend in the Forego (gr. I) after stumbling at the break, then ran fourth in the Kelso Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont in October. The Forego loss snapped a five-race win streak racked up at Parx and Penn National.
A 4-year-old gelding by Trippi , Zero Rate Policy survived a scary fall last time out at Monmouth May 12, when he was leading the field as the 2-1 favorite in the Decathlon Stakes but inexplicably went down, triggering a 4-horse spill. All horses and riders involved escaped serious injury.
$100,000 James Marvin Stakes (gr. III, Race 8, approximate post 4:55 p.m. EDT), 3YO & Up, seven furlongs (dirt)
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