Michael Stinson's King Jack flattered Pennsylvania Derby favorite Improbable with a powerful off-the-pace victory in Saturday's 28th running of the Grade 2 Gallant Bob Stakes at Parx Racing.
Second to Improbable in the 1-mile Shared Belief Stakes last time out at Del Mar and shortening up to 6 furlongs, King Jack rolled past fellow Southern California shipper Landeskog in the stretch to win by 1 1/2 lengths. The 3-year-old son of Jimmy Creed won the $310,000 Gallant Bob in 1:08.89
Saddled by Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, King Jack and jockey Joel Rosaro raced off the pace set by Strong Will through the opening quarter-mile in :21.99. Landeskog, sent to Parx by trainer Doug O'Neill, took over through the half in :44.60 the lane and tried to inch clear under Abel Cedello but couldn't hold off King Jack.
A $100,000 purchase at the 2017 Keeneland September yearling sale, King Jack won his debut June 1 at Santa Anita Park going 6 furlongs before another victory at Del Mar going 7 furlongs July 17. Hollendorfer originally considered the Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens at Saratoga with King Jack before opting for the Shared Belief. King Jack finished 2 3/4 lengths behind Improbable in the Shared Belief Aug. 25.
The Gallant Bob field was reduced to seven with the gate scratches of Bethlehem Road and Get Hammered.
Winning trainer Jerry Hollendorfer: “I thought Joel had him placed perfectly. They had some trouble in the gate early and we got lucky and got out of that. He had him placed perfectly and had enough horse to run him down. A very fast time. We thought the 7 furlongs would fit this horse very well and it seemed like it did. I like to be up close and we thought we would be up close. Looked like we had a lot of horse down the backside, and that proved to be true.
Concern about Landeskog? “I wondered about that, but I thought we had a lot of horse.”
Possible next start? “I don't know. I just want to get this out off the way.
Breeders' Cup Sprint? “I don't know. We like to think those thoughts about a good horse, so we will see.”
Winning jockey Joel Rosario: “I kind of wanted to just get him in the race and then he could be comfortable, but it seems like he was fine and I just tried to not be too wide on the turn. He was giving me everything nice and he was just enjoying his work. When I started riding he just went forward.”
Jockey Abel Cedillo (Landeskog, second): “He was so fresh he broke really fast. I tried to get him to go a little slower, but as soon as he saw the horse outside he started taking off again, and I was like 'please don't go too fast, but he wouldn't listen. He's the kind of horse that when he feels a horse outside, he just keeps going and going, and that's what happened.”
Jockey Jose Ortiz (Trophy Chaser, third): “He traveled very well. He broke fine and I felt like I had to rush him a bit to be where I was but that's where I thought I had to be to win the race. All the credit to those first two horses.”
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