Mabou, who won
yesterday’s Grade 1 New York Turf Writers’ Handicap for flat
trainer David Jacobson, will be pointed toward a start in the Grade 1 Grand
National in Far Hills, N.J. on October 22.
Jacobson, best known for his work with claimers on the flat, claimed
Mabou for $30,000 out of a fifth-place finish in a hurdle race on August 4 at Saratoga and decided to
give him another start over the jumps. The move paid off as Mabou powered clear
to win by 5 ¾ lengths at 16-1 in yesterday’s race, giving Jacobson a
compelling case to enter him in more hurdle races.
“We’re going to point for the Grand National,” said
Jacobson, who owns the 8-year-old Dynaformer gelding in partnership with
Drawing Away Stable. “It’s the obvious and only race to run him
over the hurdles. We’ll consider maybe running him once at Belmont in a non-claiming,
‘sprint’ race, probably at a mile and a half [on the flat], just to
get a race into him. He ran 21 days back and ran the best race of his career.
If something works, you want to stick to it.”
The Turf Writers’ Cup was the first graded stakes win for
Jacobson, who had previously never run a horse over the jumps.
“Everyone on the racetrack has been congratulating me,”
said Jacobson. “People I never speak with. Everybody was rooting for
Mabou. [Trainer] Mike Hushion came over. It’s just been really special
and so positive.”
The 2 3/8-mile Turf Writers’ Cup was contested around an oval,
with the 2 5/8-mile Grand National to be held on a course Jacobson admits will
be more challenging for Mabou.
“I’d love to run him back [at Saratoga]; the way he won yesterday was so
dominating,” said Jacobson. “[Jockey] Robby [Walsh] didn’t
really use him, and even coming back to the winner’s circle he was trying
to run off. I’m concerned, but he has a lot of heart and I think
he’ll be able to handle it. He ran really well yesterday, and hopefully
he’ll run like that on October 22. But that’s a long time from now;
a lot of things could happen.”
Jacobson reiterated that the feat he accomplished yesterday
wasn’t always rare, as his father, Buddy Jacobson, and Oscar Barrera
would claim both flat and steeplechase horses.
“Now it’s a big thing, but back in the ‘60s people
did it,” said Jacobson. “If someone claimed a jumper, it was like
someone claimed a flat horse. When I claimed this horse, it hadn’t been
done in five years, 10 years – nobody knows the last time a jumper had
been claimed. I think the last one to do it was Oscar Barrera. That’s
what I’m told.”