Popular veteran campaigner Mr. Jordan is set to face five rivals in Sunday's $75,000 Big Red Stakes at Gulfstream Park after showing a hint of the form that produced 10 victories, including seven stakes triumphs, and more than $840,000 in purses.
The 7-year-old gelding, an earner of $840,685, had a trio of uncharacteristic off-the-board finishes before rallying to finish third in the seven-furlong Big Drama Stakes May 11 despite being forced to go extremely wide on the turn into the homestretch under Hall of Famer Edgar Prado.
“He's a difficult horse to ride, no ifs and or buts about it. Every time a jockey comes back, even Paco [Lopez], who knows him better than anybody, they have an excuse for him,” trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. said. “Last race, he was shuffled back and Edgar, being the old veteran rider that he is, allowed him to settle into stride and then come running, which was the right thing to do.”
The improved performance has given Plesa confidence in Mr. Jordan's chances in Sunday's one-turn mile stakes.
“I watched the gallop out [of his last race] pretty strongly because he was flying,” Plesa said. “If that race was a mile, I think he might have won it. He's an old horse and things are changing for him in a positive way.”
Mr. Jordan, who is owned by David Melin, Leon Ellman and Laurie Plesa, will once again be ridden by Prado.
Ceevee will concede considerable stakes experience to Mr. Jordan when he makes his stakes debut on dirt in the Big Red for owner/trainer Happy Alter. The 4-year-old son of Tiznow is coming off a main-track triumph in which he prevailed over three rivals in an off-the-turf optional claiming allowance over a good track. It was the first start for Alter since being claiming out of a victory in a $50,000 claiming race on turf March 10.
Ceevee, who has won three of seven turf starts, has won both of his starts over a wet main track but is winless in three starts on a fast dirt surface.
Edgard Zayas has the return mount aboard the Kentucky-bred colt.
Red Crescent and Eye of a Jedi, who finished 1-2, respectively, in a recent mile optional claiming allowance race; Just Kidding, who rallied to capture a seven-furlong optional claiming allowance; and Hy Riverside, a stakes veteran who finished fifth in the Big Drama last time out; round out the field.
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