Jackie’s Warrior is the 7-5 morning-line favorite for Friday’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland Race Course, and for good reason.
The Maclean’s Music colt has won all four of his races by a combined 13 1/4 lengths, including a pair of Grade I stakes – the Champagne at Belmont and the Hopeful at Saratoga.
But Dennis’ Moment was highly touted heading into last year’s Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, and he broke poorly and finished last. Plus, Jackie’s Warrior has never raced around two turns like he will Friday.
Jockey Joel Rosario is not worried.
“He’s a very talented horse,” said Rosario, who has ridden Jackie’s Warrior in three of his four races. “I’m just happy for the opportunity that (trainer) Steve (Asmussen) and the owners have given me to ride him.
“We’ll see what happens with the two turns, but I’d be surprised if he couldn’t handle it. I don’t think it will make a difference to him.”
Rosario is scheduled to ride in 12 of the 14 Breeders’ Cup races this weekend.
United we stand
United, trained by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella, lost by a head to Horse of the Year Bricks and Mortar in last year’s Turf at boxcar odds of 51-1 at Santa Anita.
Mandella hopes he has the 5-year-old gelded son of Giant’s Causeway primed for the type of effort he gave a year ago.
“He’s had a very good year,” he said. “We’ve learned a few things about him. The last time we sent him to the lead and he loved it. He’s become more versatile than ever, just with experience. I just hope that I’ve got him at the same level that I did last year because he ran a helluva race last year.”
United has won four of five starts in 2020 and will have Flavien Prat in the saddle.
Sprint to the finish
Trainer Peter Miller will try to win the Sprint for the third time in the past four years when he saddles C Z Rocket in this year’s race. He won with Roy H in 2017 and ’18.
C Z Rocket has won four consecutive races for Miller after being claimed for $40,000 in April at Oaklawn Park.
“We’re expecting another big effort,” Miller said. “I think he can win on what he’s shown, he’s just got to get a trip in a big field (14 horses) like this. He’s the kind of horse who can adapt to the pace of the race and style of the race. Some horses find a way to lose; he finds a way to win.”