Blackjackcat wins the Oct. 7 Obviously Mile at Santa Anita Park

Blackjackcat wins the Oct. 7 Obviously Mile at Santa Anita Park

Benoit Photo

Blackjackcat Returns to Racing in Thunder Road

Gelding won three stakes in 2017 and finished third in the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1T).

Even after Blackjackcat's standout run through much of 2017, the Tale of the Cat  gelding impressed trainer Mark Glatt most in the contest that ended his four-race win streak.

Off at 19-1 in the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1T) against the toughest field he's ever faced, Blackjackcat fired his best shot. He broke from post 13, dropped back well behind his usual forwardly-placed position, and still ran on late—despite jockey Kent Desormeaux dropping the whip—to finish third, just 1 1/4 lengths behind winner and eventual champion turf male World Approval.

"Not only because of the competition, but because he showed a dimension he never showed before, which was (to) come from a long way back," Glatt said. "He came out of the 13 post, and we tried to involve him somewhat early, but with that many horses in the race and that post, you just couldn't.

"Against that kind of competition, to be wide like that and show a completely new style, and then to not have a whip for the last quarter of a mile and only get beat by that much, we were ecstatic with the race. We suffer a little bit of the 'what could have been,' because if he has the stick he's probably second (instead of a head behind Lancaster Bomber)."

With that effort, which capped a seven-race campaign that featured three stakes wins (including the grade 2 Del Mar Mile Handicap), Glatt and owners Al and Sandee Kirkwood decided to give their homebred some time off, but he's back to start his 5-year-old season Feb. 10 in the $100,000 Thunder Road Stakes (G3T) at Santa Anita Park.

BALAN: Blackjackcat Makes the Grade in Del Mar Mile

"He was due for a break," Glatt said. "He ran pretty consistently the second half of last year, and off of a career (performance) like that, we thought it was best to back off on him a little. He was out of training for about a month, but we're looking forward to this year. He seems as good as ever."

Like fellow graded winner Om, who is also in the six-horse field, Glatt said the target of the early season is the March 10 Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1T) at Santa Anita and the Thunder Road came up as a good prep for that top-level test. Last-out Mathis Brothers Mile (G2T) winner Bowies Hero is another who may wind up in the Kilroe after a run in the one-mile Thunder Road.

"In the short range the Kilroe Mile is our main objective, but I think he's pretty well ready to go," Glatt said. "I don't think he'll be rusty. He's pretty fit, but it always bothers you a little off any layoff, especially against horses who have recently run, but we'll see. He should be tough."

Graded-placed runners Next Shares, Ohio, and Tequila Joe complete the field.

Entries: Thunder Road S. (G3T)

Santa Anita Park, Saturday, February 10, 2018, Race 5

  • Grade IIIT
  • 1m
  • Turf
  • $100,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 2:08 PM (local)
11Next Shares (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRafael Bejarano120Richard Baltas6/1
22Bowies Hero (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateCorey S. Nakatani124Philip D'Amato5/2
33Blackjackcat (KY)Kent J. Desormeaux124Mark Glatt6/5
44Tequila Joe (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJoseph Talamo120Michael W. McCarthy10/1
55Ohio (BRZ)Brice Blanc120Paulo H. Lobo12/1
66Om (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateFlavien Prat120Dan L. Hendricks3/1