Jaycito turned the tables on J P's Gusto in the $250,000 Norfolk Stakes (gr. I) (VIDEO) Oct. 2 at Oak Tree at Hollywood Park, running down the leader inside the sixteenth pole to win by one length.
In a rematch of the Sept. 8 Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) when J P’s Gusto scored by 4 1/2 lengths, this time Jaycito was closer to the pace and it made the difference. With Mike Smith taking over on the Victory Gallop colt, Jaycito raced mid-pack but not far off the leaders while four-wide into the first turn, inched into striking position on the far turn, and hooked up with J P’s Gusto at the top of the lane.
Jaycito began getting the best of his rival in mid-stretch and sprinted to wire for the tight win. The 2-year-old colt completed 1 1/16 miles on the Hollywood Cushion Track in 1:44.17. J P’s Gusto, the even-money favorite who had a four-race win streak halted under Pat Valenzuela, was 1 1/2 lengths in front of third-place Riveting Reason.
"He seems like he can get even better," Smith said of the winner. "He's still got some baby fat on him and he's still growing, getting stronger every day. He's still a little green about running, but he's full of talent."
Mike Mitchell trains Jaycito for Zayat Stables. The $2 million Grey Goose Breeders’ Juvenile (gr. I) Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs appears to be next for the winner, who scored for the first time in three starts.
“We just always thought he was a two-turn horse," Mitchell said. “We’ll talk it over with (owner Ahmed Zayat) and see how he pulls up. The ultimate race we want to run in is the (Kentucky) Derby. So if he’s sharp, we do that, and if he’s not, we wait. One thing about Mr. Zayat is that he totally leaves it up to me – there’s no pressure. He’s always doing what’s best for his horse.”
Clearance Clarence set the pace in a tightly-bunched group of juveniles, clicking off reasonable fractions of :24.37, :48.77, and 1:13.08 with Corey Nakatani aboard. J P’s Gusto took over coming off the far turn and carried a one-length lead into the stretch.
Jaycito was the runner-up in both of his previous starts, finishing a half-length back in a maiden special weight contest Aug. 21 at Del Mar before trying the seven-furlong Del Mar Futurity a little more than two weeks later. In the Futurity, Jaycito broke very slowly and trailed J P's Gusto by nearly eight lengths at the top of the stretch before closing willingly under Martin Garcia.
The bay colt was bred in Kentucky by Runnymede Farm and Catesby Clay, and is out of the Ascot Knight mare Night Edition. A $110,000 purchase at the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale, he has now earned $210,000.
Jaycito paid $8.40, $3.20, and $2.80 for his Norfolk. The exacta (7-1) returned $8.70 and the trifecta (1-7-6) was $72.60--both for $1.
J P's Gusto had won four consecutive starts, all in stakes, but was breaking from the rail in his debut at two turns.
"If the post positions are switched, maybe he wins," trainer David Hofmans said. "He’s pressured from the inside to the outside down the backside, which is pretty hard to do for a horse that’s not been around two turns. I thought he ran very well.
"I’m not disappointed in the race; in fact, I’m happy with it. I’m glad he got off the fence and let that horse through so he got some experience tracking a horse. He’ll probably go on to the Breeders’ Cup.’’
Clearance Clarence was fourth, followed by Acaffela, and Lucky Mr. K. British newcomer Boxeur des Rues, in his U.S. debut and just his second start overall, bolted near the quarter pole and lost rider Rafael Bejarano, who rode the remainder of his mounts.