Kentucky Derby Undercard Stakes Results and Payouts for 5/7/22

Jackie's Warrior captures the Grade 1 Churchill Downs Stakes. (Coady Photography)
Churchill Downs Stakes ResultsPayoffs - Win Place Show
1Jackie's Warrior - $4.00, $3.20, $2.40
2Reinvestment Risk - $4.20, $2.80
3 Aloha West - $2.80

Jackie's Warrior Much the Best in Churchill Downs Stakes

Had owners J. Kirk and Judy Robison opted to call it a career for Jackie’s Warrior when the son of Maclean’s Music emerged from his Breeders’ Cup run last November with an injury, they would have easily had one of the more popular young stallions in the Bluegrass State.

What they wouldn’t have had anymore, however, was one of the most exciting horses in training.

“Enough can not be said for Kirk and Judy to make a financial sacrifice to keep this horse in training,” Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen said. “Kirk said ‘I’ve never had one like him and I doubt if I’ll ever have another one’.”

The rare talent Jackie’s Warrior possess was on full display during the 87th edition of the $750,000 Churchill Downs Stakes (G1) on May 7 as the bay colt did his usual thing of running his rivals off their feet en route to a four-length victory over a field that included Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner Aloha West.

Now a four-time Grade 1 winner, Jackie’s Warrior came into the seven-furlong Churchill Downs after a victory in the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) at Oaklawn Park on May 7, his first start since finishing sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint and having subsequent surgery to remove a knee chips. Sent off as the even-money choice on Saturday under Joel Rosario, Jackie’s Warrior grabbed the lead at the start and opened a clear advantage through fractions of :22.76 and :45.50 – a more than comfortable pace for his talents.

“He’s an amazing horse. The speed that he is able to give you,” Rosario said. “He is just a strong horse, to get out of there (at the start) — like a quarter horse, and to keep going with that speed. He’s just there for you whenever you ask.”

Coming out of the far turn, Jackie’s Warrior drifted into the four path that left an opening at the rail for Aloha West to mount a challenge that was immediately rebuffed. Jackie’s Warrior then widened his lead at midstretch and Rosario wrapped up on the reigning champion male sprinter inside the sixteenth pole and coasted to victory.

“He’s now a Grade 1 winner at 2, 3 and 4. And, the style in which he won today was just beautiful,” Asmussen said. “I thought Joel (Rosario) said it best when we were in paddock just watching him standing there. He said ‘they don’t come along like this all the time, do they’ and they don’t. When you’re the speed of the race, you just stay on the path you want. He’s older, more confident and stronger.”

Jackie’s Warrior completed the seven furlongs on a fast track in 1:21.95. It is the second victory in the race for Asmussen, who won with Mitole in 2019.

Saturday’s victory was worth $455,700 and increased Jackie’s Warrior’s earnings to $2,309,664 with a record of 14- 10-1-1. He is undefeated in three starts at Churchill Downs including a score in the Pat Day Mile (G2) last year on Derby Day.

Jackie’s Warrior returned $4, $3.20 and $2.40. Reinvestment Risk, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., returned $4.20 and $2.80 with Aloha West finishing another length back in third under Jose Ortiz and paying $2.80 to show.

Derby City Distaff ResultsPayoffs - Win Place Show
1Obligatory - $9.60, $5.20, $3.20
2Four Graces - $11.80, $4.80
3 Just One Time - $2.60

Obligatory Gets First Grade 1 Score in Derby City Distaff

Bill Mott is not a man who is easily awed. So, the fact the Hall of Fame trainer found himself stopping mid sentence to admire what Obligatory had done in the 36th running of the $750,000 Derby City Distaff (GI) at Churchill Downs said as much about his regard for the 4-year-old filly as any adjective he searched for.

“Look at this, look at this run,” Mott said as he watched the race replay back on the big board. “She just keeps coming. I mean that was impressive, I was impressed. I’m very seldom impressed but I was impressed.”

Last at the head of the stretch, Obligatory indeed left quite the impression on her conditioner and the Churchill Downs faithful as she rallied widest of all to post a three-quarters of a length victory over Four Graces in the seven-furlong test.

It was fitting that the Twin Spires would serve as the backdrop for Obligatory’s biggest career moment as the Juddmonte homebred had earned two of three prior graded wins over the Louisville oval. The daughter of Curlin signaled her potential when she captured the Eight Belles Stakes (G2) on Derby Day last year and she snapped a four-race losing skid by annexing the Chilukki Stakes (G3) last Nov. 20.

“Her stretch run here is her weapon,” Mott said. “She loves the track and she loves this stretch. It worked out well, just like it did in the Eight Belles. She’s a nice filly but the goal is if they’re good enough to try and win a Grade 1 and this is the one we pointed for.

“She turned the corner here last year in the Eight Belles so she’s been steadily holding her own, getting better.”

Just One Time, winner of the Madison Stakes (G1) at Keeneland on April 9, took command of the seven-horse field when she opened a clear lead while carving out fractions of :22.36 and :44.95 withCenter AisleandEdgewayin closest pursuit. On the turn, Center Aisle dropped back and Four Graces entered the fray while 2020 winner Bell’s the One began to close in with Obligatory behind her.

At the top of the stretch, Obligatory was still last when she launched her five-wide move that carried her to the front passing Four Graces inside the sixteenth pole.

“I never felt confident until they got to the 70-yard mark,” Mott said. “But I saw she was running. I knew that when she was at the three-eighths pole and the others were at the quarter pole, I said we’ve got a lot to make up. She made up a lot of ground.”

Obligatory completed the seven furlongs on a fast track in 1:22.17. In notching her first Grade 1 victory, she improved her record to 11-5-2-0 and increased her earnings to $1,228,594.

Obligatory rewarded her backers with mutuels of $9.60, $5.20 and $3.20. Four Graces, ridden byJulien Leparoux, returned $11.80 and $4.80 with favored Just One Time finishing another 2 ½ lengths back in third under Flavien Prat and paying $2.60 to show.

Speak of the Devil Shines in U.S. Debut

Peter Brant’s Speak of the Devil (FR) made her North American debut a successful one by blowing past stablemate In Italian (GB) at the top of the stretch and drawing off by 2 ¾ lengths to win the 37th running of the $500,000 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2) for fillies and mares to kick off the stakes action on Kentucky Derby Day.

The 5-year-old daughter of Wootton Bassett (GB) was a multiple stakes in France for trainer Fred Rossi before being purchased for more than $2.2 million by Brant at the 2021 Arqana December sale and joining the barn of four-time Eclipse Award winner Chad Brown. Brown said he took his time with the bay mare before cranking up her training, a decision that paid dividends when she came with a wide rally down the Churchill stretch.

“Every work, she continued to train better and better, Brown said. “She looked like a tired horse when I got her late last year so I turned her out for a while at Payson and eased her into her training slowly. "Every week I couldn't believe the coat on her and the weight on her. She looked like a tiger when we took her off the van here when we shipped her up so I thought she would run well.”

With Flavien Prat in the irons, Speak of the Devil raced near the rear of the pack as In Italian, also owned by Brant, raced out to an uncontested lead and led the field of six through fractions of :24.86 and :49.70. Nearing the far turn, Prat moved Speak of the Devil off the rail and launched a five-wide move that carried her to even terms with In Italian at the top of the stretch from where she spurted clear.

“They’re two nice fillies and you hate to run them against each other because they’re both really top-quality horses,” Brown said. “But looking for a mile stakes right now, there weren’t many options. And we had the pace covered either way. We knew if there was no speed in the race, we had it covered with In Italian – a confirmed frontrunner. With Speak of the Devil, first time in this country, we knew she’d probably fall back a bit and then come with one run. Fortunately, they did finish 1-2.”

Speak of the Devil completed the mile on a firm Matt Winn Turf Course in 1:37.47. Brown and Prat teamed up to win the 2021 renewal of this race with Blowout (GB) and Brown also won in 2017 with RocaRojo(IRE).

Now 15-6-3-2 for her career, Speak of the Devil added $306,900 to her bankroll that swelled to $604,576 with Saturday’s victory. She returned $4.20, $3 and $2.20. In Italian, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., returned $3 and $2.20 and finished three lengths in front of Wakanaka (IRE) who finished third underJose Ortiz and paid $2.80 to show.

Jack Christopher Makes Successful Return in Pat Day Mile

Undefeated Jack Christopher made a triumphant return to the races by scoring a 3 3/4-length victory over Pappacap in the 98th running of the $500,000 Pat Day Mile (G2) or 3-year-olds Saturday at Churchill Downs

Trained by Chad Brown, Jack Christopher was making his first start since taking the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes (G1) last October at Belmont Park. The son of Munnings was the morning-line favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) last November but had to scratch the day before the race with a shin injury that ultimately required surgery.

“It’s a little bittersweet that we did get him to the first Saturday in May, which we’d been thinking about since we debuted him at Saratoga, and have him roar down the stretch and get to the winner’s circle but not have him be in the race that’s a few races later (the Kentucky Derby),” Brown said. “It will always be in the back of my mind if he could have done it. But it is what it is, and we have a great horse on our hands.

“It was a big team effort (to get him back). At the end of the day, he’s just a super talented horse that if we can keep him on the track, we’ll see a lot of great things from him.”

With jockey Jose Ortiz up, Jack Christopher rated just off the pace in second as Pappacap was fastest out of the gate and led the field of 11 through fractions of :22.70 and :45.61. On the far turn, Jack Christopher amped up the pressure and drew alongside at the head of the stretch and pushed by at the three-sixteenths pole and was not threatened in the run to the wire.

“Coming off a layoff you never know, especially running a mile in a really good field on Derby day, I really asked a lot of him,” Brown said. “I chose this race because I wanted to run against his own age group, I didn’t really want to sprint him, off that kind of a layoff. I ran him in a race that allowed him to stretch his legs a little bit and just kind of protect him moving forward. It certainly worked today. Jose did a great job, he made a good decision to use him early to get up and out and in the clear and really took control of the race at that point.”

Final time for the distance on a fast track in 1:34.81. Jack Christopher returned $3.40, $3 and $2.60 while improving his record to three wins in as many starts. Pappacap, ridden by Flavien Prat, returned $5.60 and $4 and finished a head in front of My Prankster who paid $3.80 to show under Luis Saez.

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