JC / Railbird

Jaycito

Will Take Retirement

The older horse division takes another hit with the loss of Will Take Charge, retired to Three Chimneys after suffering a minor suspensory injury. Less than six weeks to the Breeders’ Cup Classic, and last year’s winner, Mucho Macho Man, is out, along with Game on Dude and Palace Malice. (So, three of the top four finishers in this year’s Santa Anita Handicap are done racing, and New York’s best older Classic hope is Whitney winner Moreno.) For the first time since Raven’s Pass in 2008, a 3-year-old could win the Classic — at least eight are in contention, including unbeaten Pacific Classic winner Shared Belief. His stock, already high, gained following California Chrome’s dismal return in the Pennsylvania Derby, won by Bayern, aka “little Dude.” The dual classic winner will train up to the Breeders’ Cup, and trainer Art Sherman is looking toward a happier result: “We’ll be a lot better price,” he said.

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Be Bullish, making his 83rd career start and dropping from $40K to $16K, finished second to Make a Fortune in the third race at Belmont on Sunday, bringing his earnings up to $4,000 shy of $1 million. Bruce Levine claimed the 9-year-old gelding for owner Mike Repole. “Will evaluate his condition before deciding to race/retire,” tweet-reported David Grening.

Jaycito makes his 28th career start on Monday, running in the 10th at Zia Park. He’ll be running at his lowest level yet — $30K, which is $20K less than the G1 winner’s purchase price at Keeneland in November 2013. [9/22/14 Update: Jaycito finished third, beaten 10 1/2 lengths. He was not claimed.]

The Contenders

A few of the 2012 Breeders’ Cup contenders I’ve spotted around Santa Anita …


Animal Kingdom (Mile)


Shackleford (Mile)


Groupie Doll (Filly and Mare Sprint)


Sky Lantern (Juvenile Fillies Turf)


Jaycito (Marathon)


Game on Dude (Classic)


Richard’s Kid (Classic)


Ron the Greek (Classic)


Pool Play (Classic)


Dullahan (Turf)


Point of Entry (Turf)


Trinniberg (Sprint)

Who’s Your DMB?

Bill Christine:

DMB is shorthand for Derby Must Bet — a horse you feel compelled to play in the Kentucky Derby — not because he’s the best horse, or even the favorite, but a horse who has a good chance, may have been overlooked, and is someone you’ve been following for so long that you’d flagellate yourself if he happened to win. DMB is only half of the acronym. In toto, it’s DMBNMW — Derby Must Bet No Matter What. You don’t get a DMB every year. Just enough to keep you in sackcloth and ashes.

My first was Gayego, who won the 2008 Arkansas Derby but not much respect, going to post in the Kentucky Derby at 18-1 and finishing seventeenth. I’m hoping for better from my DMB this year, Jaycito. He’s been on my watch list since his debut; I’ve been waiting for him to win again since the Norfolk.

A little KYC news: We’re thrilled that Brown-Forman, maker of Woodford Reserve, has signed on to sponsor the “Bourbon Underworld” column, joining the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge in supporting Kentucky Confidential. You can also back the best independent Derby coverage you’ll find anywhere.

2:55 PM Addendum: Darn it! Tweets Ray Paulick, “Foot abscess may keep Jaycito out of Santa Anita Derby. Trainer Bob Baffert to decide in a.m., but looking at Lexington Stakes on April 23.” [Jaycito’s officially scratched.]

Where To?

Jaycito’s next start could be the Santa Anita Derby, or maybe the Wood:

“He might stay home, I’m not sure yet. I don’t have to make any decisions right now so I’m not going to,” Baffert said. “I know one thing: The horse needs more ground. He needs a mile and a quarter.”

If he stays at Santa Anita, he’ll face San Felipe winner Premier Pegasus again. If he ships to Aqueduct, he’ll meet Uncle Mo. Seems like a question of to whom trainer Bob Baffert would prefer the colt finish second in his final Derby prep.

Steve Davidowitz and Mike Maloney share the same top three Derby prospects, and Jaycito’s not among them. Soldat breaks up the trio in this week’s PDI.

After NYC OTB closed last December, some predicted illegal bookies would pick up business. Bookmakers tell the NY Post there’s indeed been a spike: “I do a few hundred dollars in bets in a day to a few thousand.”

Back to Bernardini for Zenyatta; her first pregnancy didn’t take.

Thursday Notes

Jaycito returned to the track this morning for the first time since his runner-up effort in the San Felipe last Saturday. He’ll be getting blinkers on again in the Santa Anita Derby, reports Steve Haskin, “after losing his focus a bit while apparently bored being at the back of the pack …” The San Felipe was the first career start the colt, my PDI #2 #4, made without blinkers. “I love the way he took dirt and settled well off the pace,” said trainer Bob Baffert replying to an emailed inquiry about Jaycito. “He will improve more next time.”

Dick Jerardi defuses angst about Uncle Mo’s so-so Timely Writer speed figure (DRF+): “It only went down that way because of the way the race was run, something that does happen in Beyer World, but not all that often.” [TT reports a Ragozin number of 4 for Uncle Mo, adjusted for the slow pace.]

Colin’s Ghost wonders whether a Triple Crown winner will appear again.

A potential rivalry? “Whether Premier Pegasus will be the one to push Uncle Mo and give us an incredible rivalry is open to debate,” writes Bob Ehalt. “Maybe he’s another Sunday Silence, or maybe he’s another Buzzards Bay.”

Churchill Downs could install the Trakus system in time for the spring meet, putting an end to the occasional Kentucky Derby chart error.

Mo In, Dialed Out

Trainer Todd Pletcher and owner Mike Repole announced today that Uncle Mo will make his much anticipated 3-year-old debut in the ungraded one-mile Timely Writer at Gulfstream on March 12. “We both feel that the Timely Writer will set him up perfectly for the April 9 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct,” said Repole. There could hardly have been less suspense to the news: From the first report that a race other than the Tampa Bay Derby — which Pletcher and Repole said was still possible if the Timely Mo doesn’t fill — it’s seemed a foregone conclusion that the softer spot for getting started would be the pick. I don’t doubt that the Gulfstream racing secretary is already hustling entries.

One horse that won’t be drawn is Dialed In. Trainer Nick Zito — sounding miffed, reading between the lines — said the Holy Bull winner would pass on the Fountain of Youth this weekend, and with the distance of the Timely Writer shortened from nine furlongs to eight, would also skip that race in favor of another, unspecified, two-turn start, reports Mike Welsch:

“Fortunately, he has enough graded earnings from winning the Holy Bull that it looks like he’ll get into the Derby, so our main focus at the moment is the Florida Derby and how to get him there,” Zito said.

Record-setting San Vicente winner The Factor — who won’t be seen going a route soon — isn’t the only good horse trainer Bob Baffert has sent to work at Hollywood Park. On Monday, Jaycito, prepping for the San Felipe at Santa Anita on March 12, worked seven furlongs handily from the gate in 1:24.80 over the Cushion Track. Does the colt also need the quiet found there?

The most impressive sophomore winner of the weekend just past was Bind, given a 105 Beyer speed figure for his debut at the Fair Grounds on Saturday. Along with Cal Nation, Pletcher’s flashy first-timer at Gulfstream last month, he’s not one likely for the Kentucky Derby. “If you all get [owner] Seth [Hancock] to do it, I’ll ride that train, but I’m not going to ask him,” Claire Novak quotes trainer Al Stall telling media after the race. Bind’s next start likely will be a one-other-than allowance at the Fair Grounds or Keeneland.

Reunited: NBC will air all three Triple Crown races this spring.

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