Jackson Bend Set for Return to Gulfstream Park and 2 Turns in Classic
Breeders’ Cup Classic Champion Mucho Macho Man to Parade Between Races
Motored by an uncommonly generous heart, the little 6-year-old Florida-bred Thoroughbred has been able to overpower his more physically imposing rivals and outrun his modest pedigree during a five-year career that is still going strong.
“His mind is still on running, there’s no question about it. He still loves what he’s doing. He can’t wait to go to the track. If he doesn’t go out on schedule, he’s at the front of the door looking for the tack to come. He wants to train; he wants to run,” trainer Stanley Gold said. “As long as his attitude is like that and he keeps giving us what he’s got and it’s not to his physical detriment, he’ll run for a while.”
After competing against some of the country’s best sprinters and milers in his last two starts in New York, Jackson Bend is set for a return to action in Saturday’s eight-race, $1 million Sunshine Millions Preview for Florida-breds. Owned by Robert LaPenta and breeder Fred Brei, Jackson Bend has been installed as the 2-1 morning-line favorite for the 1 1/16-mile $150,000 Sunshine Millions Classic Preview. It will be Jackson Bend’s first race around two-turns since May 2011.
“He’ll go a distance of ground. It’s a case of saving enough horse to have a good finish at the end,” Gold said. “He’ll be a little sharper than I’d like him to be coming off of sprints, but we’ll be able to rate him and put him where we want him to be.”
Jackson Bend won around two turns to complete a sweep of the 2009 Florida Stallion Stakes Series and finished on-the-board in the 2010 Fountain of Youth (G2), Wood Memorial (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1). His greatest successes, though, have come against Grade 1 sprinters while capturing the 2011 Forego Stakes at Saratoga and the 2012 Carter Handicap (G1) at Aqueduct.
“I’d prefer to be sprinting again. There isn’t a sprint race. It’s a distance race that’s restricted to Florida-breds, so it’s not going to be quite as tough. If we can keep him calmed down early so we get some run late, we’ll be OK,” Gold said. “Then, we’ll comeback at seven-eighths and he’ll be very tough.”
Jackson Bend, who is likely to be pointed to the $100,000 Sunshine State for Florida-breds at Gulfstream on Dec. 8, is set to meet six rivals in Saturday’s Classic, including Sr. Quisqueyano, a two-time stakes winner during the current Gulfstream meet, and Souper Speedy, the winner of three of his last four starts in New York sprints.
The field for the Classic Preview will be joined at approximately 2:30 p.m. in the saddling enclosure and walking ring by Mucho Macho Man, the Florida-bred winner of last Saturday’s $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita. Fans will be able to take pictures of the Horse of the Year candidate while he circles the walking ring. The first 2,000 fans who purchase a Gulfstream Park program will receive a free Mucho Macho Man t-shirt while supplies last.
Carded as the fifth race, the Classic will be supported by seven other stakes scheduled for the main track and turf course for Florida-bred males and females of all ages.
The stakes action will kick off in the second race, in which My Pal Chrisy will seek her third-straight stakes victory in the $150,000 Distaff Preview.
Four stakes for 2-year-olds will be contested with Wildcat Red seeking his third win without a loss in the $125,000 Juvenile Sprint; Secret Kitten looking to run her undefeated record to 4-0 in the $125,000 Juvenile Filly Sprint; Christophe Clemente-trained Courtesan invading Gulfstream for the $100,000 Juvenile Filly Turf; and stakes-place Here’s Johnny invading from Keeneland to run in the $100,000 Juvenile Turf.
The $125,000 Turf Preview and the $125,000 Filly & Mare Turf Preview both attracted fields of accomplished performers on grass.
Post time for Saturday’s first race is 1:15 p.m.