Star juvenile Jackie’s Warrior underlines Breeders’ Cup credentials at Belmont

Horse Racing Jackie's Warrior Belmont aimed at Breeders' Cup
Four out of four: Jackie’s Warrior (Joel Rosario) stays unbeaten in the Champagne Stakes. Photo: Coglianese/Janet Garaguso

By Nicholas Godfrey

Belmont Park: Champagne Stakes G1 $250,000 1m, dirt, 2yo
Jackie’s Warrior (Steve Asmussen/Joel Rosario)

Jackie’s Warrior will go the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile unbeaten in four starts after his second G1 success with a comfortable 5½-length victory over Reinvestment Risk in New York’s most prestigious race in the division.

After making all, he won going away to claim the time-honored contest, won last year by Belmont Stakes hero Tiz The Law with previous Breeders’ Cup winners War Pass, Uncle Mo and Birdstone on the roll of honour since the turn of the century.

Joel Rosario (jockey): “He’s a beautiful horse; a big horse, and it looks like everything he does is easy for him. I was very confident that he could get the mile. I felt confident the whole way. He just enjoyed what he was doing and I think the further he goes the better. He seemed to do it very easy today and I was very confident in him. I wanted to be a little out in front, so he had confidence, and it looked like he liked that. I let him do whatever he wanted to do. He breaks two lengths in front of everyone and not all horses can do that. He’s amazing.”

Frizette: Dayoutoftheoffice stays unbeaten

Belmont Park: Frizette Stakes G1 $250,000 1m, dirt, 2yo fillies
Dayoutoftheoffice (Timothy Hamm/Junior Alvarado)

Back after a three-month layoff since winning the Saratoga Special, Dayoutoftheoffice extended her unbeaten record to three with a sparkling performance to defeat G1 winner Vequist by a couple of lengths. The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ beckons.

Timothy Hamm (trainer): “She’s a big, scopey filly and the plan was to have a fresh horse for this time of the year. We wanted to just train her a little lightly and have her fresh for the fall run; everything went according to plan. We all thought this filly was special when she won at 4½ [furlongs] because we knew she would be able to get longer than that.”

Jockey Club: Happy Saver earns Classic spot

Belmont Park: Jockey Club Gold Cup G1 $250,000 1m2f, dirt, 3yo+
Happy Saver (Todd Pletcher/Irad Ortiz)

The Jockey Club’s roll of honour reads like a who’s who of US equine luminaries and late-maturing three-year-old Happy Saver has added his name to a starry list with a solid effort in this ‘Win and You’re In’ contest for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Making his graded-stakes debut, the Wertheimer homebred came away with a G1 triumph as he got the better of a three-way battle in the stretch to beat Mystic Guide by three-quarters of a length.

Unraced as a two-year-old, Happy Saver has now won all four starts this term. He was trainer Todd Pletcher’s first winner of the Jockey Club – 12 months after he had seen Vino Rosso DQ’ed.

G1 regular Tacitus is left still looking for a first victory at the top level after six attempts, despite being able to set an easy pace after being sent off odds-on favourite.

Todd Pletcher (trainer): “Watching the race, I thought he was a little uncomfortable inside there. He was in a tricky spot. Johnny [Velazquez, aboard Mystic Guide] had first run on him and was able to keep him in there. To his credit, that was a pretty game performance to come up the inside there in his fourth start and first time against older horses going a mile and a quarter. To do that after breaking his maiden on June 20 is hard to do. I was very proud of the horse and his performance.”

QEII: Harveys Lil Goil holds off latecomers

Keeneland: Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup G1 $500,000 1m1f, turf, 3yo fillies
Harvey’s Lil Goil (Bill Mott/Martin Garcia)

Bill Mott’s excellent recent run continued with a first G1 success for Harvey’s Lil Goil. The daughter of American Pharoah took over a furlong out, getting first run on her main rivals then holding on by three-quarters of a length over Micheline with the favourite Magic Attitude also running late to claim third.

Kenny McCarthy (assistant to trainer Bill Mott): “We were pretty confident with her. She ran a super race for us at Kentucky Downs in her last out and had trained really well in between. She’s a little superstar. She pretty much goes on any surface for us. At least in my mind, I think the turf probably is a little bit easier for her to handle.”

• Visit the NYRA Belmont Park website and the Keeneland website

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