Jackson Bend, who is on the outside looking in as far as getting into the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) field of 20, turned in a bullet five-furlong move April 22 at Churchill Downs for trainer Nick Zito.
The only Derby contender working on a brisk morning in Louisville, Jackson Bend covered the distance in 1:00-flat while working in company. Exercise rider Carlos Correa was aboard during the fastest of 19 works at the distance.
According to Daily Racing Form, he galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.39.
Owned by Jacks Or Better Farm and Robert LaPenta, the son of Hear No Evil has $230,000 of graded earnings, all of it garnered from three runner-up efforts this season—the Jan. 23 Holy Bull (gr. III), Feb. 20 Fountain of Youth (gr. II), and April 3 Wood Memorial (gr. I). The chestnut colt is No. 21 on the graded earnings list and would need at least one defection to make it to the Derby, which is limited to 20 starters.
Jackson Bend could vault into the top 20 if Noble's Promise , Interactif, or Discreetly Mine—all considered iffy—are not pointed toward the classic. But even if any of those three do not go, the connections of Jackson Bend also need to hope that Todd Pletcher enters filly Devil May Care in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), and Pleasant Prince does not win this weekend’s The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial Stakes (gr. III). Ken Ramsey, who owns Pleasant Prince, has already said he would like to run his horse in the Derby if he gets in. A win in the Derby Trial would give Pleasant Prince at least $282,000 of graded earnings.
Ironically, LaPenta is the sponsor of the Derby Trial, which increased its purse from $100,000 to $200,000 this year in large part because of his contribution. LaPenta also owns Ice Box , who has plenty of Derby earnings and is preparing to be in the May 1 race.
“We’ll see if he gets in,” said Zito. “If not, we’ll just have to go on to the Preakness. But I would think he’s got a pretty good shot to get in."
Jackson Bend, who was bred in Florida by Jacks or Better Farm, has never been worse than second in nine starts. His five wins all came at Calder Race Course as a juvenile, including a sweep of the Florida Stallion Stakes Series. He is out of the Tabasco Cat mare Sexy Stockings.
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