Bet on this: Little Jerry will be the longest shot in Saturday’s
Robert B. Lewis Stakes, but it makes no never mind to Richard Baltas.
“We didn’t enter just to make the race go,” said the 51-year-old
trainer of the chestnut son of Candy Ride, owned by Jason Tackitt of
Riverside and Jerry Fialkowski of Lomita.
Still, Baltas will settle for a piece of the purse, which he is
assured of anyway since only four horses were entered in the Grade II
race for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles.
“That’s not the reason,” Baltas continued. “I feel Iike we’ve got
a legitimate shot. He’s a nice horse. We entered because the horse is
Little Jerry won his first start, coming from eighth and last at
the half-mile marker to win by a neck at 25-1 in a mile and
one-sixteenth maiden allowance race at Betfair Hollywood Park last Nov.
18. He was raised to the Grade I CashCall Futurity next out, finishing
eighth by 15 ½ lengths on Dec. 15. Each time he got off to a slow start.
“The first time he ran he really wasn’t ready to run,” Baltas
said. “In that race, he never had any dirt in his face, he was in the
clear and he won. When we ran him in the CashCall, it was probably too
tough of a spot.
“When he (jockey Aaron Gryder) broke he put the horse right on
the rail and he ate all the dirt or whatever you want to call it
(Cushion Track). He came back, he coughed like 20 times and he had a bit
“Since then he’s trained really well. He’s not a real speed horse, so we’re just going to let him run his race.”
Little Jerry’s moniker, from the fertile mind of Tackitt, is
derived from a Seinfeld episode in which a fighting rooster--Little
Jerry--is named for Jerry Seinfeld. Other than that, the adjective
really isn’t appropriate.
“The horse is well over 16 hands,” Baltas said. “He’s a monster.”
In other Lewis news:
Julien Leparoux figures he might be on the lead by default aboard favored Flashback.
The Eclipse Award-winning jockey rode the gray son of Tapit to
victory in his only start, a seven-furlong maiden allowance race at
Betfair Hollywood Park last Dec. 8, coming from midpack to win by 3 ½
lengths at even money.
“We were on the outside that day,” Leparoux said, referring to
post position No. 9 in a nine-horse field. “There was no traffic, we
kept him outside, and he won easy. We’ll see what happens (in the
Lewis), but I suppose we’re going to be on the lead, looking at the past
“Hopefully we can control the race and win it. It’s tough when
it’s a four-horse field. Even the two horses that don’t show any speed
(He’s Had Enough and Little Jerry), in a field this small, they might
show a little bit more.”
Trainer Doug O’Neill on Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner-up He’s Had
Enough: “He’s doing well. He’s kind of a tricky horse. He doesn’t apply
himself every time, but the good thing is, Mario’s (Gutierrez) gotten
to know him better and the horse put in a good work the other day,
although he probably didn’t want to.
“But Mario made sure he did. He came out of it in good shape.
It’s a short field and he doesn’t have a lot of speed away from the
gate, so that’s a disadvantage. But win, lose or draw, as long as he
runs to the best of his ability, we’ll be happy.”
The field for the Lewis: Little Jerry, Tyler Baze, 8-1;
Flashback, Julien Leparoux, 3-5; Den’s Legacy, Garrett Gomez, 5-2; and
He’s Had Enough, Mario Gutierrez, 3-1.