Turn On The Jets soars to his first stakes victory in the $100K Stormy Liberal (Benoit Photo)
By Amber Joyce
DEL MAR, Calif.— Benowitz Family Trust, John Rocfort of CYBT, Michael Nentwig, and Ray Pagano’s Turn On the Jets (IRE) flew up the rail to win the inaugural running of the $100K Stormy Liberal Saturday at Del Mar.
Off as the 2-1 favorite in the five-furlong turf dash, Turn On The Jets broke well from post position five and opted to settle off the pace, set by 42-1 shot Get Back Goldie. As the aforementioned leader led the way into the stretch after running the opening quarter in 22.01, Turn On The Jets began to do just that, finding a seam on the rail and jetting to the front.
Clocking the half-mile in 44.57, Turn On The Jets easily strode away from his rivals, storming past the wire with a two-and-a-quarter length advantage. The three-year-old gelding stopped the clock in 55.75, exactly one second faster than the track record set by Fast Parade in 2006.
G2 Eddie D winner Whatmakessammyrun settled for second after a bumped start, nosing out Sumter. A neck behind in fourth was Rebel Posse, followed by Coulthard (IRE), Get Back Goldie, Respect the Code, and Hot Box completing the order of finish. Lane Way and Sigiloso were scratched.
At his short odds, Turn On The Jets returned $6.60, $4.00, and $2.80 to win. Whatmakessammyrun, at odds of 4-1, returned $4.20 and $3.00 for his second-place effort. Also garnering 4-1 odds come post time, Sumter paid $3.20 for show.
“He got a great trip. He just slid right up the rail,” said winning trainer Phil D’Amato, who notched his fourth stakes win of the meeting with Turn On The Jets. “We were looking to run him in an allowance race but it didn’t go so this was the only spot and it worked out well.
“He’s a horse we always thought highly of. He was a little unlucky at Santa Anita [an allowance optional claiming Nov. 6 in which he was third after breaking in and bumping his rival at the start] but he proved best today.”
Leading jockey Juan Hernandez piloted the winner. “I was having a nice trip inside, saving ground. I was hoping a hole would open up for me, and then it came. My horse hesitated just a second, but then he went through and was good from there,” Hernandez reported after the race.
“When you’re in those kind of spots, you don’t think, you just do. He’s (“Jets”) better at this distance. He likes five furlongs here.”
Turn On The Jets was Hernandez’s fifth stakes win of the meet and his 32nd overall at Del Mar.
Bred in Ireland by Mr D. Byrne, Turn On The Jets began his career in his native country, starting four times there for trainer Jack Davison and owners Martin and D Moylan. He was unsuccessful in his first three starts but ultimately prevailed in his fourth, a maiden at Dundalk.
Turn On The Jets then traveled across the pond and was very game in winning his first stateside race, an allowance optional claiming on the Del Mar turf eight months after his maiden-breaking score. He was unlucky in his next two starts (both allowance optional claiming events) prior to the Stormy Liberal but finished in the top three nonetheless. It’s safe to say he has blossomed in his new home.
Overall, Turn On The Jets has raced eight times, has won three of those races, and has been second or third one time each. His total earnings add up to $142,909.
Sired by Europe’s top first and second crop stallion, Mehmas, Turn On The Jets is out of the unraced Dandy Man mare Chiclet.