bookended his meet in stylish fashion, coming from off the pace to win the 32nd
running of the $250,000 Grade 1 Forego on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.
Attempting to build upon his victory in the July 23 James Marvin on opening
day, Jackson Bend was able to work out a good trip from post position 1, racing
in seventh behind fractions of 22.09 and 44.45 seconds set by Hamazing Destiny
and favored Sidney’s Candy. Jockey Corey Nakatani guided Jackson Bend
between horses on the run into the stretch, and the colt closed stoutly to
register a 3 ¼-length victory over Jersey
Town, who finished a head
in front of third-place finisher Aikenite.
Jackson Bend, who returned $8.90 for a $2 win wager as the 3-1 second
choice, completed the seven furlongs in 1:22.08.
“Last time, I was able to figure him out a little bit,”
said Nakatani. “He can be tactical. I just let him get in that high
cruising speed. When I called on him and needed to get into position at about
the three-eighths pole, he was there. Turning for home, I angled down, then I
angled back out and he exploded. Once I get to the lead on him, he kind of
waits a little for horses. I’m getting to know him a little better each
time. Once I set him down and got him running, it was a matter of how far he
was going to win.”
Winning trainer Nick Zito said he vigorously conditioned Jackson Bend
in the lead-up to the Forego and was grateful the strategy paid off.
“We socked it to him pretty good [with] those workouts,”
said the Hall of Famer, who trains the colt for Robert LaPenta and Fred Brei.
“He hadn’t run in six weeks. Whether I’m a tough coach on
him, I don’t know, but he responded. He didn’t get away good but he
made up for it and it worked out perfectly for him. We all got excited [on the
turn]. Tom Durkin’s call was right on the money, he said ‘Jackson
Bend’s starting to run!’ and we all got excited.”
The Forego was the first graded stakes win for Jackson Bend, who in
2008 won four stakes at Calder Race Course. He was second in the Grade 1 Wood
Memorial and third in the Grade 1 Preakness in 2009 and this year had gone
0-1-1 in four Florida starts prior to his two
starts at Saratoga.
Overall, Jackson Bend is 7-5-2 from 20 starts. He becomes
racing’s newest millionaire, with the $150,000 winner’s share of
the purse lifting his earnings to $1,062,450.
Hamazing Destiny was fourth and was followed home by Golddigger’s
Boy, Escrow Kid, Regal Ransom, favored Sidney’s
Candy, and Rule by Night.