Jackie’s Warrior headlines G2 True North

June 5, 2022

ELMONT, N.Y. – J. Kirk Robison and Judy Robison’s reigning Champion Sprinter Jackie’s Warrior appears to be the one to beat as he makes the third start of his 4-year-old season in Friday’s Grade 2, $300,000 True North at Belmont Park

Friday’s 11-race card marks the second day of the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival and features five stakes, including the Grade 1 New York at 10 furlongs on turf for older fillies and mares; the Grade 2, $400,000 Belmont Gold Cup at two-miles on turf for older horses; the Grade 2, $300,000 Bed o’ Roses at seven furlongs over Big Sandy for older fillies and mares; and the Grade 3, $200,000 Intercontinental, a six-furlong turf sprint for older fillies and mares.

Jackie’s Warrior brings a 14-10-1-1 record and earnings in excess of $2.3 million to the 6 1/2-furlong sprint for 4-year-olds and upward. A Grade 1 winner at two, three, and four, the son of Maclean’s Music has registered a total of five triple digit Beyer Speed Figures at least once each year in training. 

Jackie’s Warrior raised the curtain on his 2022 campaign with a three-quarter length win in the Grade 3 Count Fleet Sprint on April 16 at Oaklawn Park, and returned off three week’s rest to win the Grade 1 Churchill Downs at its namesake track on the Kentucky Derby undercard. 

Last year, the talented colt post four graded stakes victories, including a hard fought win against Life Is Good in the Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial at Saratoga Race Course. This was the third Grade 1 victory of his career after capturing the 2020 Hopeful at Saratoga ahead of that year’s Champagne at Belmont. 

Jackie’s Warrior finished an uncharacteristic sixth as the heavy favorite in last year’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint. That effort didn’t stop him from earning championship honors at the end of a memorable season, providing his Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen with his third Champion Sprinter. 

Asmussen, who also campaigned Champion Sprinters Kodiak Kowboy [2009] and Mitole [2019], expressed desire to double up on Eclipse Awards with the talented Jackie’s Warrior. 

“It’s a rare opportunity to be able to return an Eclipse champion. Obviously, I’m very grateful to Kirk and Judy Robison for that opportunity,” said Asmussen, who won the 2006 True North with Anew. “He’s just a brilliant horse, he’s absolutely brilliant. He’s everything you would want in a racehorse mentally or physically and it’s quite obvious how fast he’s been. He has a tremendous attitude, a true racehorse. He has maintained his Grade 1 winning form this year, and the only difference we’re looking for this year is to finish it off by winning the Breeders’ Cup.”

Asmussen, who also trained Maclean’s Music, said a young Jackie’s Warrior reminded him of his sire. 

“He very much reminded me of him early and now he’s his own horse. Maclean’s Music was our attraction to him from the beginning,” Asmussen said. 

Joel Rosario, a two-time True North winning rider, has piloted Jackie’s Warrior in all but one of his starts, and maintains the mount from post 3. Jackie’s Warrior will carry a field-high 124 pounds, six pounds more than each of his five rivals.

Trainer Rob Atras will saddle Mr. Phil, who takes a major step up after winning three straight allowance optional claiming events. 

The 5-year-old Mr Speaker gelding was claimed for $32,000 by Atras for owner Sandford Goldfarb in late February and has made every start for his current trainer a winning one. Following a one-length victory at Aqueduct going 6 1/2 furlongs, Mr. Phil cut back a half-furlong to defeat next out graded stakes winner Jaxon Traveler on the same surface. Mr. Phil arrives at the True North off a career-best 101 Beyer, which came going seven furlongs on May 22 at Belmont. 

Kendrick Carmouche retains the mount from post 1. 

Hall of Famer Bill Mott saddles Baby Yoda in search of his first True North win since millionaire Richter Scale won the 1998 edition. The 4-year-old Prospective gelding registered an astonishing 114 Beyer when defeating his accomplished stablemate Olympiad last summer at Saratoga. Since then, Baby Yoda added several stakes placings to his resume, including a third in the Grade 2 Vosburgh last October at Belmont Park and a distant second to Flightline in the Grade 1 Malibu at Santa Anita in December. 

After a close second in his 2022 debut in Tampa Bay Downs’ Pelican, Baby Yoda defeated starter allowance company twice going six furlongs in Kentucky. He is owned by Pantofel Stable, Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber and Jerold Zaro. 

Luis Saez picks up the mount from post 4. 

Trainer Chad Brown will seek his first True North victory with Klaravich Stables’ Sound Money. Never worse than third in his last seven starts, the 4-year-old Flatter colt last raced in the Grade 3 Westchester on May 7 at Belmont Park, finishing five lengths behind Cody’s Wish over the sloppy and sealed track.

Sound Money, who races with blinkers off, will exit post 6 under Irad Ortiz, Jr.

Night Time comes into the Ture North off his victorious 2022 debut, sprinting 5 1/2-furlongs in an allowance optional claimer over a sloppy and sealed Churchill Downs main track. The 5-year-old chestnut son of Majesticperfection finished second in all three of his starts last season, including runner-up efforts at Saratoga behind eventual Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Aloha West and talented Beau Liam.

Owned by Marc Holliday’s Blue Devil Racing, Night Time is trained by Dale Romans, who captured the 2007 True North with Will He Shine. Hall of Famer Javier Castellano will ride from post 5. 

Completing the field is the Uriah St. Lewis-trained and owned War Tocsin, who finished a last-out third in the Grade 3 Maryland Sprint on May 21 at Pimlico two starts after a close second at 48-1 odds in the Grade 2 General George in February at Laurel Park. 

Dexter Haddock ships in to ride from post 2. 

The True North, which honors W. Deering Howe’s 1945 Fall Highweight winner, has seen previous winners Groovy [1987], Speightstown [2004] and Roy H [2017] go on to be crowned Champion Sprinter in their respective years. 

The True North is carded as Race 9 on Friday’s 11-race program. First post is 12:50 p.m. Eastern. 

NYRA Press Office

Photo: Chelsea Durand

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