Prince of Jericho. (Jim McCue/MJC)
Earns First Career Stakes in Seven-Furlong Sprint for 3YOs
David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club
LAUREL, Md. – Michael Dubb and Morris Bailey’s Prince of Jericho, beaten by Coffeewithchris in his stakes debut last month, avenged that loss by pouncing on the co-favorite at the top of the stretch and steadily drawing away to win Saturday’s $100,000 Spectacular Bid by four lengths at Laurel Park.
The third running of the seven-furlong Spectacular Bid, the first in Maryland’s series of stakes for 3-year-olds leading up to the 148th Preakness Stakes (G1) May 20 at historic Pimlico Race Course, anchored six stakes worth $550,00 in purses on a Winter Sprintfest program
Prince of Jericho ($5.80) gave trainer Brittany Russell a sweep of Saturday’s sophomore stakes, having won the $100,000 Xtra Heat for 3-year-old fillies with Madaket Stables’ L Street Lady.
Subbing for Russell’s husband, champion jockey Sheldon Russell, Carol Cedeno settled Prince of Jericho in fourth as 30-1 long shot Tiz No Clown went the opening quarter mile in 23.35 seconds tracked by multiple stakes-placed Heldish in between horses and Dec. 30 Heft winner Coffeewithchris in the clear three wide.
Coffeewithchris and jockey Jaime Rodriguez were in front after a half-mile in 46.85 seconds, but Cedeno began to roll further outside with Prince of Jericho midway around the far turn, closing the gap and moving up to even terms as the field straightened for home.
“Sheldon came back last time and said to me, ‘I think I could have won that race. I should have jumped on him a little sooner on the turn,’” Russell said. “[Prince of Jericho] wanted to run around the turn and he said he idled him and messed him up.
“Once he got going again, he said he galloped out, his ears were pricked, and he had horse. That just made me think about running this horse back in three weeks, and he’s trained well,” she added. “He has a lot of energy, and he ran well today.”
Prince of Jericho was well in command after going six furlongs in 1:12.34 and completed the distance in 1:25.93 over a fast main track. Coffeewithchris dug in and attempted to make a run at the winner once passed but had to settle for second, 4 ½ lengths ahead of B West. They were followed by On the Mark, Tiz No Clown, We Don’t Need Roads, Heldish and My Blue Eyes.
Purchased as a yearling for $85,000, Prince of Jericho debuted last October at Laurel and ran second to undefeated stakes-winning stablemate Post Time before returning to graduate by 11 ¾ lengths in his subsequent start. Following an optional claiming allowance victory in his first try against winners he made his stakes debut in the seven-furlong Heft, beaten 2 ½ lengths as the runner-up but 4 ½ lengths ahead of third-place finisher Riccio.
Maryland’s series of stakes for 3-year-olds continues with the $100,000 Miracle Wood going one mile Feb. 18, $100,000 Private Terms at about 1 1/16 miles March 18 and $125,000 Federico Tesio April 15. Once again, the 1 1/8-mile Tesio will serve as a ‘Win and In’ qualifier for Triple Crown-nominated horses to the Preakness.
“I don’t know. We might consider going along with the progression of these races,” Russell said. “We’ll just see how he comes out of it. I don’t necessarily want to run him back in three weeks again, but more distance might be in his future.”
Spectacular Bid was named champion colt at 2 and 3 and champion older horse and Horse of the Year at 4 for late Maryland-based Hall of Fame trainer Grover ‘Bud’ Delp, who called him “the greatest horse ever to look through a bridle.” ‘The Bid’ captured the 1979 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1) and won each of his last 10 races, retiring with 26 wins and nearly $2.8 million in purse earnings from 30 starts. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1982.