No Jet Lag Zips to City of Hope Upset Score
Photo: Benoit Photo
No Jet Lag finishes strong to win the City of Hope Mile.

Making his second start in the U.S., 3-year-old No Jet Lag unleashed a strong turn of foot for a major upset in the $150,000 City of Hope Mile (gr. IIT) Oct. 5 at Santa Anita Park as heavy favorite Obviously gave up the lead to finish fourth (VIDEO) .

A 3-year-old gelded son of Johar owned by Anthony Ramsden, 13-1 shot No Jet Lag came into the City of Hope Mile off an allowance/optional claiming triumph at Del Mar in his U.S. debut, rallying from next-to-last in the eight-horse field to win by half a length over He Be Fire N Ice   in near-record time.

Ridden by Mike Smith for the first time and carrying a relatively light 118 pounds, six less than 1-2 choice Obviously, No Jet Lag was positioned in mid-pack along the rail as Endorsement set a quick early pace of :22.48 and :45.50 for the first half-mile while being pushed by the favorite.

Rounding the second turn, Obviously took over to lead by 1 1/2 lengths, but No Jet Lag made a powerful move on the outside to challenge. No Jet Lag, responding to left-handed urging from Smith, gained control in the eight-horse field in deep stretch, with He Be Fire N Ice flying late to get second after passing the tiring leaders. No Jet Lag posted a final time of 1:31.84, just off Wise Dan's course record 1:31.78 set while winning the 2012 Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT).

The show payoffs were bloated with Obviously fading out of the money. The winner paid $28.20, $10.40, and $15.60, with He Be Fire N Ice returning $5 and $6.60. Japanese-bred Barocci closed well to be third, paying $16 while fiinishing 1 3/4 lenghts behind the winner. Obviously was fourth, followed by Starspangled Heat, Willyconker, Endorsement, and Polytechnicien.

Bred in Kentucky by Greenwood Lodge Farm out of the Green Desert mare Desert Sky, No Jet Lag began his career in Great Britain, posting back-to-back victories in his second and third starts, respectively. Brought to the U.S, after finishing 18th in the MacMillan Charity Sprint Trophy Stakes at England's York Racecourse, No Jet Lag was turned over to trainer Simon Callaghan in Southern California.

In his first start in the U.S. and initial time racing on the anti-bleeder medication Salix, the gelding rallied while five-wide in the stretch for a 1 1/2-length win, getting the mile on turf at Del Mar in 1:34.24. He now has a career record of four wins and a second from nine starts, with earnings of $148,782.

The City of Hope, formerly the Arroyo Seco Mile but renamed this year for the cancer treatment center in Los Angeles of the same name, ended a three-race win streak for Obviously, who finished third in Wise Dan's Breeders' Cup score a year ago and was coming into the City of Hope off a half-length triumph over He Be Fire N Ice in the Del Mar Mile Handicap (gr. IIT).

Callaghan said he was not surprised by the victory and that the City of  Hope should set up No Jet Lag for the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Nov. 2.

"He's eligible for the Breeders' Cup," the trainer said. "That was the whole reason behind running in this race, rather than waiting for a two-other-than (condition) that he was eligible for. It wasn't a surprise to us, put it to you that way.

"This is a really talented horse. He needs a pace, more to relax than anything. I told the owner, he's the best horse or the second-best I've had. It wasn't an easy decision to throw him into this race, but we believe he's really talented and deserved the shot. My horse has an enormous amount of speed. It's just a matter of harnessing it and getting him to react. That's the most important thing."

Jockey Smith, who won four races on the afternoon including three stakes, said he was confident after discussing the race with Callaghan in the paddock before the race.

"In the paddock he told me it wouldn't surprise him one bit if this horse won, to trust him," the Hall of Fame rider said. "That's all he had to say. I have the utmost respect for him and his opinion, so when he said that, I knew I was live. I guess he got off a little slow last race, but he broke OK today. Actually, he was pretty aggressive the first part of the race but I just jammed him in behind, European style, like he's used to and that turned out good enough.

"When I kicked him out turning for home he exploded. I was loaded (coming up on Obviously). I didn't know if it would be enough to pass him, but when I was getting to him (it felt like it), but I was more worried about the gray (He Be Fire N Ice) behind me at that point, to be honest with you."

Joe Talamo, who rode Obviously, said he and his mount were outrun.

"My horse relaxed right out of the gate, we were just unfortunate today," Talamo said. "He kicked home real nice, ran a great race, but we were outrun today. I think we're all a little bit disappointed but he's still a nice horse and we still have the Breeders' Cup. He'll bounce back."

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