Al and Saundra Kirkwood's homebred Blackjackcat got in a useful prep for the Nov. 4 Breeders' Cup Mile (G1T) with an Oct. 7 victory in the $75,000 Obviously Mile Stakes at Santa Anita Park, his fourth straight determined victory.
It wasn't the easiest of scores, as the Tale of the Cat gelding was inside and close to the pace set by longshot Mach One Rules. But with clear running in the stretch, the Mark Glatt-trained runner held the challengers at bay to finish the mile in 1:33.70 under jockey Kent Desormeaux. Bird Is the Word closed to finish second, 1 1/2 lengths behind the winner and a length in front of Cistron.
Blackjackcat began his streak on the Southern California grass in July, when he took a Santa Anita allowance. He then scored in the Wickerr Stakes and Del Mar Mile Handicap (G2T) over the summer at Del Mar.
"We're hoping now to be able to run in the Breeders' Cup Mile," Glatt said. "We considered the (grade 1) Shadwell (Turf) Mile, but we would have been gambling with how he handled the ship, how he handled the ground, and everything else. We gambled by staying home and running here, because this race doesn't give us any (Breeders' Cup) points.
"We're just hoping the committee takes into account that he just won a grade 2 at a mile on grass and he's now won three stakes in a row."
Bred in Kentucky out of the Go for Gin mare Bootleg Annie, Blackjackcat now has a 6-0-4 record from 14 starts and $400,070 in earnings.
"We claimed his mother for ($50,000) and she won several $100,000 stakes and made about $520,000," said Al Kirkwood. "We've got five mares now and we've got a weanling full brother to this horse that we're very excited about."