By a slim margin, My Boy Jack made sure he has another start in the state of Kentucky in his immediate future.
Needing a top-two finish to ensure himself enough qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, My Boy Jack delivered in the Grade 3, $200,000 Stonestreet Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 14 when he put in a three-wide bid in the lane and caught Telekinesis by a head at the finish line.
The 1 1/16-mile Lexington Stakes offered 20 points to the winner on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, a most valuable commodity for the My Boy Jack team. The son of Creative Cause and his 32 points were sitting 20th on the leaderboard, with the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby also up for grabs Saturday.
Jockey Kent Desormeaux, who took some heat for his ride on My Boy Jack during the colt's third-place finish in the March 24 Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby, had his timing down just right in the Lexington Stakes. After angling his mount toward the rail out of post-position 10 to save ground around the first turn, the Hall of Fame rider tucked My Boy Jack into ninth down the backstretch before urging the graded stakes winner to put in a sustained bid on the outside — cementing himself a spot in the gate for the first leg of the Triple Crown.
“He was very, very comfortable in his stride, and that was pretty much a repeat of his last start,” Desormeaux said of My Boy Jack. “Fortunately, I didn't grab a hot dog at the quarter pole, and that made the difference.”
A stakes winner on turf during his 2-year-old season, My Boy Jack has answered a couple different questions in his transition into a classic hopeful this year. After running third to Grade 1 winner McKinzie during his season debut in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes on Jan. 6, the dark bay colt uncorked a 4 1/2-length victory in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes on a muddy (sealed) track on Feb. 19 at Oaklawn Park.
While he fell three-quarters of a length short in the Louisiana Derby — when trainer Keith Desormeaux said his brother may have hit the “go” button on the colt too early — My Boy Jack did show he wasn't simply moved up by the off track in the Southwest Stakes.
He backed that up again Saturday, biding his time next to last in the 10-horse field as graded stakes winner Greyvitos led the procession through quarter-mile fractions of :23.28 and :47.11 on a track rated fast. When Greyvitos came off the final turn, it looked as though Telekinesis, surging up the rail, would be his biggest problem.
Telekinesis took a half-length lead in midstretch. But just when he had Greyvitos put away, My Boy Jack and his closing kick came bearing down on him, covering the distance in 1:44.22.
Sent off at odds of 3-2, My Boy Jack paid $5, $3.20 and $2.40.
“Unbelievable. Everyone knows we came here to get points, and he got the job done today,” said Kirk Godby, whose Don't Tell My Wife Stables co-owns My Boy Jack with Sol Kumin's Monomoy Stables. “We're just thrilled. When I saw Kent bring him out down the backstretch and we were within six or seven lengths, I felt pretty good about it. I was just hoping he had the gas to get home in the short stretch.”
Telekinesis held for second in his graded stakes debut and third career start. The Ontario-bred son of Ghostzapper, who finished third against older horses in an allowance-optional claiming race at Fair Grounds on March 9 could be a candidate for the Queen's Plate, according to trainer Mark Casse.
“He is a star. We're just playing catch-up with him right now,” Casse said. “What we do with him, I'll have to talk to the Stonestreet team and see, but he rated pretty nice today.”
Pony Up rallied after being last early to finish third, with Greyvitos fourth and Seven Trumpets fifth.
Bred by Brereton Jones out of Mineshaft mare Gold N Shaft, My Boy Jack improved his record to three wins from 10 starts, with earnings of $645,145. He was purchased by Don't Tell My Wife Stable for $20,000 out of the 2016 Keeneland September yearling sale.