X Y Jet dazzled six rivals to capture Saturday's $100,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint at Gulfstream Park by 5 ½ lengths, taking another enormous step on the comeback trail that may well lead to a return visit to Dubai in late March.
The six-furlong sprint wrapped up Saturday's Sunshine Millions stakes action for Florida-bred horses on Saturday's 12-race program that also offered the $200,000 Classic, the $150,000 Turf, and the $150,000 Filly and Mare Turf.
One of the world's elite sprinters in 2016 before going to the sideline for 13 months with a knee injury that required surgery, X Y Jet made a most promising return to action at Gulfstream Dec. 23 with a front-running victory in the Mr. Prospector (G3). The 6-year-old gelding had been sidelined since finishing third in the De Francis Dash (G3) at Laurel in November 2016.
Owned by Rockingham Ranch and Gelfenstein Farm, X Y Jet was hustled to the lead after the start and was never threatened thereafter, looking like the old X Y Jet who had won five straight stakes, including the Sunshine Millions Sprint, before finishing a close second in the 2016 Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1).
“I always knew he was a runner. I always thought he was one of the best sprinters two years ago. Hopefully, he comes back clean,” said trainer Jorge Navarro, whose brilliant sprinter has undergone three knee surgeries during his 19-race career.
The son of Kantharos, who went to post as the 4-5 favorite, set fractions of 22.56 (seconds), 45.28 and 57.11 under jockey Emisael Jaramillo before completing the six furlongs in 1:09.86.
“His race was excellent. My horse was not explosive at the start, but he has good speed and he responded well to take the lead. I was told to take the lead from the beginning, because his best weapon is his speed and uses it,” Jaramillo said.
Mo Cash, the 4-1 second choice in the betting who ran into traffic on the backstretch, closed to finish second under Javier Castellano, 1 ¼ lengths ahead of third-place finisher Sweetontheladies and jockey Miguel Vasquez.
X Y Jet's brilliant performance hardly came as a surprise to Navarro, whose trainee had turned in two sharp workouts since his win in the Mr. Prospector.
“He was capable of working twice, so that was a big score,” Navarro said. “The times he came back to me before, there wasn't even a workout. I'm training him now. He hasn't taken a bad step or anything, so hopefully he stays that way”
Navarro said he would like to follow the same path to Dubai as he did in 2016 by running X.Y. Jet in the Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3), a 6 ½ furlong sprint he won two years ago, at Gulfstream Park March 3.
New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2018 Paulick Report.