Irish-bred Australian-owned Jakkalberry lived up to his advance
billing as the horse to beat in the inaugural edition of the $400,000
American St. Leger when the son of Storming Home overtook the
pace-setting Illinois-bred Ioya Bigtime to win the mile and
eleven-sixteenths race by 2 ¼ lengths in 2:49.01, which establishes the
course record for the distance.
“Mrs. (Lucie) Botti (wife of trainer Marco) was very confident in
him,” said winning jockey Colm O’Donoghue, who won last year’s Grade I
Secretariat Stakes aboard Treasure Beach. “They said he is in good form,
he gave me a lot of confidence rating him, we expected a good run. My
horse was the class, he can really run.”
“I never heard that (he was the talk of the people heading into the race), I only got here late last night,” said owner Darren Dance of Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock. “We were confident the horse was in good order. It’s a credit to the Bottis and their whole crew back home. He was just too strong.”
Jakkalberry earned $232,800 for the victory, his first of the year and his 10th in 24 starts overall to push his career bankroll to $1,418,259.
Ioya Bigtime, winner of the Grade III Stars and Stripes as the local prep for the St. Leger, set nearly all the pace in the race through fractions of 50.82 seconds, 1:15.43, 1:41.30 and 2:05.62 before being overtaken by the winner.
“He ran great,” said Jeffrey Sanchez, who rode Ioya Bigtime. “He gives me everything he has. I’ll get ‘em next time! He’s a great horse, I love him, he loves me, and he gives me everything he’s got.”
German-bred Zuider Zee, who raced third throughout the marathon event, was 6 ¼ lengths in back of the runner-up.
“He ran well,” said his rider William Buick, who captured the 2010 Arlington Million aboard Debussy. “He hit a flat spot but it didn’t affect him much today. These tight-turning tracks are not ideal for him, and he’s better with a little more cut in the ground.”
Lake Drop, Lemonade Kid, Helicopter, Lumberyard Jack, Lethal and Bridge of Gold completed the finish in the nine-horse field.
Jakkalberry paid $5.20, $3.20 and $2.40 as the 8-5 favorite. Ioya Bigtime returned $3.60 and $2.80. Zuider Zee paid $3.20.