ARCADIA, Calif.—In what appears to be a completely wide-open affair at six furlongs on turf, classy Bob and Jackie would appear to rate a big chance cutting back in distance for Richard Baltas as he faces sharp recent winner Gregorian Chant, defending champ Cistron and Brazilian-bred Jolie Olimpica, who will be facing males for the first time in North America in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 San Simeon Stakes at Santa Anita.
Second, beaten 3 ¾ lengths as the 2-1 favorite by rising star Hit the Road (who took this past Saturday’s Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile) in the Grade III Thunder Road Stakes at one mile on turf Feb. 6, Bob and Jackie will be sprinting for the first time since his debut at age two on Oct. 20, 2018, when he was a close second going 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course.
A three-time minor stakes winner at one mile on grass at ages two, three and four, Bob and Jackie has won four out of his 10 lifetime starts—all in combination with Heriberto Figueroa, who will be replaced on Saturday by Drayden Van Dyke. Owned by Calvin Nguyen and Joey Tran, Bob and Jackie, a 5-year-old horse by Twirling Candy, has ample natural speed and will likely be in close early attendance, despite the fact he’s cutting back in distance. With an overall mark of 10-4-3-1, Bob and Jackie has earnings of $269,551.
Trained by Phil D’Amato, English-bred Gregorian Chant, who was cutting back in distance off of 11 consecutive routes, came roaring from off the pace to register an emphatic 2 ¼ length win in the restricted Clockers’ Corner Stakes versus seven rivals at six furlongs on turf Jan. 24 and appears to be a horse who’s perhaps found a new niche in partnership with jockey Juan Hernandez. With the likes of Cistron in the lineup, Gregorian Chant, who is owned by Slam Dunk Racing, Old Bones Racing Stable, LLC and Michael Nentwig, should have a solid pace to run at on Saturday as he seeks his first graded stakes win.
A winner of last year’s San Simeon two starts back when it was contested at 5 ½ furlongs on turf, John Sadler’s Cistron has been idle since running fifth in the Grade III Dayton Stakes at 5 ½ on turf on May 23, 2020. A Grade I winner on dirt, Cistron, a 7-year-old full horse by top sprinter The Factor, will be ridden for the first time by Umberto Rispoli. With an overall mark of 29-6-7-6 and earnings of $762,719, Cistron should show plenty of early zip off the bench as he seeks his fourth graded stakes victory for Hronis Racing, LLC.
A Group I and Group III stakes winner versus males at age three in her native Brazil, Richard Mandella’s Jolie Olimpica will be suiting up against males for the first time in America as Mandella seeks to keep her at six furlongs on turf. Second, beaten 2 ½ lengths as the even money favorite by Charmaine’s Mia (who came back to take the Grade II Buena Vista Stakes) in the six furlong turf Las Cienegas Stakes Jan. 9, Jolie Olimpica will be making her second start off of a seven month layoff and should give a good account of herself with regular rider Mike Smith back aboard. A 5-year-old mare by Drosselmeyer, Jolie Olimpica is owned by Fox Hill Farms, Inc., and has won a pair of graded stakes for Mandella in five stateside starts and she’s compiled an overall mark of 8-5-3-0.
THE GRADE III SAN SIMEON Race 7 of 9 Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PT
1. Barristan The Bold—Abel Cedillo—120
2. Gregorian Chant—Juan Hernandez—122
3. Bob and Jackie—Drayden Van Dyke—122
4. Sombeyay—Flavien Prat—120
5. Cistron—Umberto Rispoli—122
6. Shashashakemeup—Ricardo Gonzalez—120
7. Jolie Olimpica—Mike Smith—117
8. Sparky Ville—Ruben Fuentes—120
First post time for a nine-race card on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE. All of Santa Anita’s races are offered free of charge at santaanita.com/live and fans can wager at 1st.com/bet. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
Santa Anita Press Release
Photo: Bob and Jackie (Benoit)