Jaycito Withdrawn From Derby Consideration

Owner Ahmed Zayat says Baffert-trained colt will aim instead for the Belmont Stakes.

After consulting with trainer Bob Baffert, owner Ahmed Zayat said April 24 that Zayat Stables’ Jaycito will not run in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).


The son of  Victory Gallop – Night Edition, by Ascot Knight has been slowed by a foot bruise, which kept him out of the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I).


“He’s not 100% and neither Bob nor I would ever run a horse just for the sake of running,” said Zayat, who will be represented on May 7 by Arkansas Derby (gr. I) and Louisiana Derby (gr. II) runner-up Nehro. “I believe he’s a true mile-and-a-quarter horse and he would have shined, but (missing) the Derby is not the end of the world. I want to have a sound, healthy, and fit horse the rest of the year and we want to have a lot of fun with him.”


Baffert added, “He’s moving forward and the foot is finally healing, but there is no way I can have him ready to be competitive enough to win the Derby.”


Zayat said the immediate goal is now the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Jaycito has made only one start this year, finishing a closing second in the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II).


Zayat also is attempting to contact Churchill Downs and Barbara Banke, wife of the late Jess Jackson, to seek permission to have Nehro represent Jackson’s Stonestreet Stables colors in the Derby, possibly in the form of an arm band.


“I want to honor him by having my horses wear his colors,” Zayat said. “I have asked (trainer) Steve Asmussen to get an OK from Churchill Downs and I left Mrs. Jackson a voice message telling her what I want to do and asking her permission.


"Jess Jackson achieved so much in racing in such a short time and I would like to do this as a token of my appreciation. We had an unbelievable heart-to-heart conversation in the paddock before the (2009) Preakness about sportsmanship and competitiveness and I had a tremendous amount of respect for him.”