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Jackson Bend Needs Another Exacta Finish

Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito, who has won three Wood Memorials, is hoping a compact bay son of Hear No Evil will bring him a fourth tomorrow as Jackson Bend takes on Fountain of Youth winner Eskendereya, Gotham winner Awesome Act and three others in the 86th running of the Grade 1, $750,000 race at Aqueduct Racetrack.

 

Jackson Bend, whom Zito calls “Mighty Mite,” has finished first or second in all eight of his career starts, including a second to Eskendereya in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth on February 20.

 

“His greatest strength is that he is so consistent,” said Zito. “With that in mind, that’s what you have to hope for, that some day, those big horses don’t show up and he stays consistent. That’s what happens in sports, too; sometimes, the best team doesn’t always win, but the most consistent does. Consistent makes you good.”

 

Zito, who saddled Thirty Six Red to win the 1990 Wood, Adonis to win the 1999 edition and Bellamy Road to win in 2005, also saddled Go for Gin to finish second in 1994. Go for Gin was the second of two Derby winners for Zito; his Strike the Gold won in 1991.

 

“Jackson Bend has to do well with these horses,” said Zito. “He has to qualify and he has to get money.

 

“He’s a very courageous horse,” he added. “They all talk about how small he is, but he’s filling out and starting to develop. Everything he does is beautiful right now. As long as he can develop, I can see him doing terrific things in racing.”

 

*          *          *

 

Come Triple Crown season, trainers looking for a jockey with a magic touch start thinking about Calvin Borel. With Derby wins on Street Sense in 2007 and last year with Mine That Bird, Borel has shown he can get the job done with favorites as well as long shots.

 

After Jackson Bend finished second in the Fountain of Youth on February 20, trainer Nick Zito called Borel’s agent Jerry Hissam and said he and co-owner Robert LaPenta would like Borel to ride the son of Hear No Evil in the Grade 1, $750,000 Wood Memorial this Saturday.

 

Now Borel, who has two other Triple Crown contenders in Super Saver and Northern Giant, heads into the Wood aboard the 4-1 second choice.

 

“I thought the Fountain of Youth was one of the most impressive preps,” Hissam said of Jackson Bend’s most recent race against Eskendereya. “They want a ride that Calvin is known for — not way back, but to try to get him to finish.

 

“I’m not leaning in any direction at the moment,” Hissam said of his potential Derby mounts. “Jackson Bend has to run 1-2 Saturday.”

 

Borel, whose lone graded win at Aqueduct came in 1988 on Darby’s Daughter in the Grade 2 Miss Grillo, will ride three horses before the Wood including Hurricane Ike in the Grade 3, $200,000 Bay Shore.

 

As for hooking up with Zito, Hissam said Borel has only had “a horse or two” with the trainer, but the rider’s reputation carries a lot of weight.

 

“That’s what two Derbies will do for you,” Hissam said.

 

*          *          *

 

James McIngvale is a racehorse owner who doesn’t mind taking chances.

 

As owner of Gallery Furniture, one of the top furniture retailers in the country, McIngvale, 59, is known as “Mattress Mack,” renowned in the Houston area for his rapid-fire TV sales pitches. Early on, when the company was struggling, he put the last $10,000 he had into an ad starring himself, and it took off.

 

Last year, McIngvale, on the suggestion of his wife, brought live monkeys into one of his showrooms, and they were an instant hit with customers. He also caused a stir when he offered to put up $2 million for a showdown between Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta at Sam Houston Park.

 

McIngvale, whose company once sponsored the Kentucky Derby prep race now called the Lanes End Stakes, is bringing that kind of moxie to Aqueduct on Saturday with his 3-year-old chestnut colt Carnivore, a 20-1 long shot in the Grade 1, $750,000 Wood Memorial.

 

A $280,000 sales purchase by top sire Giant’s Causeway out of the six-time stakes-winning mare Biogio’s Rose (an Aqueduct inner track terror in her day), Carnivore broke out for a seven-length maiden win March 10 at Laurel Park in his third start.

 

While nowhere near as accomplished as morning-line favorite Eskendereya, the Fountain of Youth winner, or Gotham hero Awesome Act, Carnivore has a string of five straight bullet works at the Fair Hill Training Center and McIngvale’s unbridled optimism in his favor.

 

“I liked the comment Todd Pletcher made, that he would let the 3-year-olds tell him where to go,” McIngvale said. “[Carnivore] looks great, feels great — what the heck, let’s give it a shot. When I first got involved in horse racing, I went to the Kentucky Derby that Canonero II won. I’ve always wanted to race at the highest level. I hope we’re not afraid to take a shot with these horses, and I hope we’re not taking too big a shot with this horse.”

 

McIngvale, an owner since 1992, has taken many shots before but never had a Triple Crown starter. The closest he came was in 2004 when his Bob Baffert-trained Wimbledon won the Louisiana Derby.

 

McIngvale said he “was leaving the house for the airplane to Louisville when Bob called” and told him Wimbledon had aggravated a front tendon and would miss the Kentucky Derby.

 

That same year, McIngvale ran a horse named Consecrate in the Wood and finished ninth behind winner Tapit.

 

For the past several years, McIngvale has been aligned with Joseph DeLozier III, a former top steeplechase jockey now training horses at Fair Hill in Maryland. DeLozier consults regularly with McInvale’s sister-in-law, Laura Wohlers, a former trainer on the Southern California circuit now managing McIngvale’s racing operation out of Houston.

 

McIngvale didn’t know DeLozier until the trainer called him out of the blue one day and asked if he could help him pick out some horses at a sale at Timonium.

 

“I liked his aggressiveness,” McIngvale said. “He cold-called me like a stockbroker.”

 

McIngvale hopes Carnivore shows the same kind of aggression in the Wood.

 

“This horse is so ambitious,” he said. “He starts knocking down the walls if you don’t take him out on the track.”

 

*          *          *

 

Owner Ike Thrash found a good luck charm in naming horses after family members, particularly his wife, Dawn.

 

Dawn after Dawn, who won the Grade 2 La Canada, Dawn Before Dawn and Third Dawn all became stakes winners. Dave in Dixie, one of the favorites Saturday in the Grade 3 Illinois Derby, is named for Thrash’s son-in-law. Stakes winner Emmy Darling was named after a granddaughter.

 

So everyone, Thrash says, assumes he named his tough 3-year-old sprinter Hurricane Ike, 7-2 third choice in the morning line for the Grade 3, $200,000 Bay Shore, for himself. Not true. He named it for the hurricane of the same name that pounded Texas and Louisiana in 2008. 

 

“Everyone thinks I named him after myself,” said Thrash, who operates Dawn Properties, which builds, buys and sells apartment complexes. “We had an apartment complex in Galveston. When Hurricane Ike came through, it destroyed everything right around our apartment complex and to us did practically no damage. We had three shingles and two fireplaces knocked off and that was it. It absolutely destroyed the (building) behind us.”

 

Thrash hopes Hurricane Ike — the horse — can avoid trouble, too, and get back on the winning track after losing five straight races following a debut win. Two of those losses came in major stakes races to Lookin At Lucky, who runs 1-2 in most polls with Eskendereya as favorite to win the Kentucky Derby.

 

Lookin At Lucky made the transition from the Santa Anita Pro-Ride surface to dirt without problem, and Thrash is eager to see if his colt can do the same in the Bay Shore. The only opponent in the race he truly fears is Eightyfiveinafifty, who broke his maiden by 17¼ lengths while earning a 105 Beyer Speed Figure.

 

“The one horse looks like kind of a freak,” Thrash said, “but I think we fit real well in there.”

 

 

What the Nation is saying about Jackson Bend Needs Another Exacta Finish...

i played jackson bend on my pic4 ticket..
One thing we need to keep in mind is handicapping the trainers. The wood is a race without a lot of speed. Zito has won some of his biggest races, by just sending horses to the lead (Go for Gin, Louis Quatorze, Da' Tara, etc.). That might be Jackson Bend's only chance to win. As for Pletcher, he's got a stable full of front-runners (Rule, Super Saver, Mission Impazible, Discreetly Mine) and he doesn't need one more in Eskendereya. Plus, Eskendereya won't win the Derby on the front, he needs to rate. And last week, as I predicted, Pletcher rated Discreetly Mine which set it up for Mission Impazible. So, all of this sets up for Jackson Bend potentially to be on or right near the lead with Eskendereya rating more than usual. That gives us a chance for an upset. If the pace is slow, look for Jackson Bend. If it's hot, watch out for Awesome Act and Schoolyard Dreams.
Jackson Bend needs graded earnings, so he definitely needs a 1-2 finish in the Wood Memorial if he wants to go to the big dance.

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