Lost And Found Presented By Horseware: Jackson Bend Going Back To His Roots In Retirement

by | 07.25.2016 | 11:11am
Jackson Bend wins the Forego in 2013

Jackson Bend is, in some ways, horse racing's Brett Favre. He has retired more than once, but that hasn't always meant he was done toying with his competition.

The Jacks or Better Farm homebred was conditioning for the Grade 1 Forego at Saratoga in 2012 when he collided with a loose horse at the Oklahoma training track and was knocked to the ground. At that point, the son of Hear No Evil had finished third in the G1 Preakness (2010), third in the G1 Breeders' Cup Sprint (2011), and swept the 2009 Florida Stallion Stakes series. After the collision, 5-year-old Jackson Bend ran last in the 2012 Forego (a title defense effort) but his connections suspected something wasn't right. Owner Fred Brei of Jacks or Better told The Blood-Horse in 2013 the colt had significant swelling and back soreness and Brei thought he also may have suffered a concussion.

Brei sent Jackson Bend back to Jacks or Better in Reddick, Fla., for some downtime and planned to send him to stud, but a test breeding didn't go as well as Brei had hoped. After some more recovery time, the horse started running away with his exercise rider on the farm during routine jogs. So, it was back to the track, in the barn of then-Jacks or Better house trainer Stanley Gold, where he returned to the stakes levels.

Jackson Bend picked up a third in the G2 Smile Sprint Handicap and second in the G1 Forego and G3 Hal's Hope. In March 2014, Brei told the media he wasn't happy with the colt's performance and retired him again, this time to Journeyman Stud for the 2015 breeding season.

But several astute fans noted that Jackson Bend wasn't advertised on Journeyman's website last year or this year and sent emails to Brei (and to us at the Paulick Report), asking what became of the horse.

“We don't get bombarded, but every once in a while we'll get the question of where is he and what's he doing,” said Brei.

Brei says Jackson Bend has a paddock to himself at Jacks or Better, where his primary occupation is eating. Sometimes, when a new round of yearlings moves within sight of his field, he shows off by running a few laps for them.

“He's as healthy as can be,” said Brei. “His personality is great. He's always been a different kind of horse, let's call it. He's a very social type of horse and enjoys company.

“His handler is Mother Nature. He has his own paddock, and he lives in that paddock and totally enjoys it.”

Jackson Bend's future is still wide open, according to Brei. The horse seemed so comfortable that Brei called Robert La Penta, who co-owns Jackson Bend, two months ago to ask if La Penta had any interest in yet another racetrack comeback. The two ruled that out, and Brei is non-committal about what the horse will do instead. Breeding or retraining for another career are both possibilities, as is a life of leisure.

  • OopsyDaisy3

    So good to hear about Jackson Bend. I was on his bandwagon way back when he trained under Nick Zito. I was horrified when he had the collision with the horse. Such a shame. But so happy to know that the feisty fella is doing fine. Thanks for the article. I think about so many of the horses i have admired and don’t hear about anymore.
    Good to know he is appreciated and content and Linda in Texas

  • Dom Martello

    Much respect for Bob Lapenta ,he will alway do what’s right for his horses.

    • Mindy

      Our Edge (currently languishing in Puerto Rico, look him up) may beg to differ with that

  • Daniel Alvarado

    So what’s up with his stud situation? Is he infertile? Is it a War Emblem situation where he’s just not interested?

    • PointGivenTCL

      Yeah seriously, way to fail to answer the most obvious question raised in the article. It must be one of the two because the horse should be a good stud prospect in the FL market – speedy, great form at 2, handsome.

      • Hear No Evil was a marginal at best sire I believe Jackson Bend was his best horse. So even a multiple graded stakes placed son of his wouldn’t garner a lot of attention even in the Florida Market.
        Couple that with fertility issues and you have a retirement but not to stud.

        • Brent Fernung

          You mean a Grade one winner, Denzel? He’s a cool horse, don’t shortchange his accomplishments

          • Not at all Brent, I agree completely. Cool horse. Not by the right sire
            Fertility issue….
            No mystery as to why he’s relaxing in his retirement.

        • PointGivenTCL

          Jackson Bend is a grade 1 winning sprinter who swept the Florida Stallion Series. He has several stakes winning or stakes placed siblings. I think that’s enough to get attention in that market. But the point is moot if he’s firing blanks.

  • KYFan2

    I loved this little colt with the big heart! Smart and “social”, could very well enjoy a second career as a riding horse.

  • ziggypop

    I wondered what happened to him. Thanks for up-date!

  • Rachel

    Well it’s obvious they are fond of this fan favorite…but what does “Mother Nature is his handler” mean in Florida?

    • Mindy

      it probably means he’s outside 24/7, maybe has a run-in shed or something, but no stall in a barn :(

  • Ida Lee

    I was just thinking about Jackson a couple of days ago. Thank you so much for this update on him. I remember when he had his accident and I thought at that time that his connections were hiding a more serious injury since Jackson was such a high-profile horse with a large fan base. II’m so glad he’s just hanging around. I would of course recommend that they donate him to Old Friends so I can go see him.

  • Delrene

    Jackson Bend was a great favorite of mine. I think he would enjoy a second career. Thank you for bringing us up to date on him. Tiny but mighty.

  • JerseyGirl

    I’ve always liked JB and after that head injury, he really wasn’t interested, PTSD. It’s great to know he’s safe and sound in a nice field.

  • Elle D

    Glad to get an update on JB. I remember him well from when I lived in South Florida. He was quite the man down there, a very popular fellow.

  • It was sad, and poor judgment, to see Nick Zito enter the horse in The Forego a couple of weeks after the horrific collision. The owners changed trainers after that, and since then (2012) Zito performance as a trainer has plummeted. Zito’s decision to run Jackson Bend may have sent a message to Mr. LaPenta – and owners in general. Jackson Bend’s injury was so severe TBH reported his back was not well enough for him to cover mares.

    • Judoon

      The horse was checked over and seemed fine at the time. The owner also could have said not to run the horse. Ultimately owner overrules trainer. Anyway, tossing around blame hardly seems fair. It was an unfortunate situation.

  • MyBigRed

    I can not THANK YOU enough, Natalie for tracking down the whereabouts of Jackson Bend. I’ve been concerned for 2 years that something bad had happened to him, but now I’m am so Happy to hear he is fine & doing well. I also Thank his connections for taking good care of him & for allowing him the downtime he needed. I too, would love to see Jackson Bend at Old Friends, so his fans would have the opportunity to see him. I enjoy visiting Old Friends every year & love meeting my favorite retired horses.

  • martymar

    I love jackson bend, the little horse that could

  • Convene

    Thanks so much for the update on the little engine that could. I often think of him and wondered what he was up to these days. It’s nice to know he’s loved and appreciated as he deserves. He has to be a champ just on courage and determination alone. May he live a long and happy life.

  • ctgreyhound

    He has always been a fan favorite for sure. With his social skills hope they can find a job that he would relish.

  • Mindy

    I can’t believe a return to racing in 2016 was even considered!

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