HOT SPRINGS, AR- Champion Jackie’s Warrior received a preliminary Beyer Speed Figure of 98 for his front-running three-quarter length victory in last Saturday’s $500,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) for older horses at 6 furlongs.
Jackie’s Warrior was making his first start since a sixth-place finish in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) Nov. 6 at Del Mar for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen and owners Kirk and Judy Robison of El Paso, Texas.
Jackie’s Warrior underwent surgery to remove a bone chip from a knee following the Breeders’ Cup and returned to the work tab Feb. 27 at Fair Grounds. Asmussen credited the Robisons, husband and wife, for racing Jackie’s Warrior at 4 after he collected an Eclipse Award in 2021 as the country’s champion male sprinter.
“It’s huge to have a champion back in training,” Asmussen said moments after his record-extending fourth Count Fleet victory.
“Hat’s off to Kirk and Judy to want to see a horse like this race.”
Heavily favored on the sloppy track, Jackie’s Warrior ($3) ran the distance in 1:09.09 under top weight of 123 pounds. Jackie’s Warrior, who raised his earnings to $1,853,964 following his ninth victory from 13 lifetime starts, will stand stud at Kentucky’s Spendthrift Farm upon his retirement from racing.
Asmussen said Jackie’s Warrior, a son of Maclean’s Music, will be pointed to the $750,000 Churchill Downs Stakes (G1) at 7 furlongs May 7.
The Count Fleet marked the fourth victory on the card for Rosario, the 2021 Eclipse Award winner as the country’s outstanding jockey.
Rosario earlier won the first race aboard favored Chapel Barn ($4.40) for 2020 Oaklawn training champion Robertino Diodoro, third race aboard favored Midnight Mistress ($3.80) for Asmussen and the fifth race aboard favored Kilgore ($3.20) for trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs.
Saturday marked the first time Rosario has recorded a four-bagger at Oaklawn. He rode five winners on the Arkansas Derby Day card in 2020.
Asmussen also won Saturday’s fourth race with Presidential ($27). The triple pushed Asmussen’s meet-leading total to 48 – nine more than runner-up Diodoro – and gave him 803 overall in Hot Springs. Asmussen became just the second trainer in Oaklawn history to reach 800 career victories with a double last Friday. The late Bob Holthus holds the Oaklawn record for career victories with 867.
The Count Fleet was Asmussen’s record-extending 97th career Oaklawn stakes victory. Asmussen has at least one stakes victory every year at Oaklawn since his first in 1996, a 27-year streak that is also a record in Hot Springs.
Asmussen is an 11-time Oaklawn training champion, capturing titles in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021. Asmussen and the late Hall of Famer Henry Forrest share the Oaklawn record for career training titles with 11. Holthus won nine Oaklawn training titles.
Favored Kilgore ($3.20) represented the 297th career Oaklawn victory for trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs in last Saturday’s fifth race. Chel-c Bailey recorded her 16th riding victory of the 2021-2022 meeting in last Saturday’s 12th race aboard Obviously Too ($15) for trainer Burl McBride. The victory moved Bailey into a tie with John Hiraldo for the meet’s leading apprentice. Hiraldo is now a journeyman. … Through last Saturday, Day 57 of the scheduled 66-day meeting, 599 claims had totaled $12,323,750.
Oaklawn Barn Notes by Robert Yates
Photo: Coady Photography