Milton pushed six-time Eclipse Award winning trainer Todd Pletcher to
the top of the North American all-time earnings list on Monday with an
emphatic 2 ¾-length victory in the Grade 3, $300,000 Poker on Belmont
Park's Widener turf course.
Jack Milton's Poker win, Pletcher's starters have earned $268,512,294,
just over $45,000 more than his former boss, Hall of Famer D. Wayne
Lukas, for whom he worked as an assistant from 1991-95. Through Monday's
racing, Lukas' starters have earned $268,467,262.
addition, Pletcher swept all three stakes on the Memorial Day card at
Belmont, also taking the $100,000 Jersey Girl with Red Velvet and
$200,000 Pennine Ridge with Gala Award.
think [setting the record is] a product of inflation, to be honest, and
I don't think anybody is going to match Wayne's accomplishments in this
business," said Pletcher. "That said, it's still a satisfying milestone
for the team and a record to be proud of."
up in class off an optional claiming win and seeking his second graded
stakes victory in his career, Jack Milton trailed the field of six
through an opening quarter-mile of 22.57 seconds set by free-running
Peace and Justice and remained well off the pace through a half in
45.45. Jockey Javier Castellano tipped Jack Milton off the rail with
three-eighths to travel, and the 4-year-old swooped to the lead in upper
stretch and promptly ran away to a clear victory. Big Screen finished
second, two lengths clear of third-place finisher and 4-5 favorite Za
Jack Milton completed on mile in 1:33.09 and returned $7.70 for a $2 win wager as the 5-2 second choice.
horse had a perfect trip," said Castellano. "There was a lot of speed
in the race so he was able to settle and make a run. The firm turf was
perfect for him."
Poker marked Jack Milton's first graded stakes win since his triumph in
the 2013 Grade 3 Transylvania at Keeneland. Following the Transylvania,
Jack Milton was third in four straight races: the Penn Mile at Penn
National, the Grade 2 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs, the Grade 1
Secretariat at Arlington Park, and the Grade 1 Jamaica Handicap at
Milton, who is owned by Gary Barber, concluded his 2013 campaign with a
sixth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby in December at Hollywood Park
before opening his 2014 account with a three-length optional claiming
score on May 1 at Churchill Downs.
knocked on the door several times in some nice races last year, so it's
gratifying to see him win a big one," said Pletcher. "He certainly
deserves it. I think he has improved as a 4-year-old, and he settled
well today and gave a powerful kick. I think the mile distance suits him
well, and we'll look at stepping him up a notch, maybe in a Grade 1
down the road."
Milton, a son of War Front, is 4-1-4 in 10 starts. He has earned
$505,900 to date, including $180,000 for his Poker victory.
Plainview, Sinatra, and Peace and Justice completed the order of finish. Bio Pro, originally coupled with Jack Milton, was scratched.