J. Kirk and Judy Robison's Jackie's Warrior shot out of the starting gate and led every step of the way in the $250,000, Grade 1 Runhappy Hopeful Stakes Sept. 7 at Saratoga Race Course.
The 2-year-old Maclean's Music colt set fractions of :22.56 and :44.83 through a half-mile and began to open up in the stretch. Jockey Joel Rosario took a few glances under his shoulder late in the stretch but found himself clear of the competition. He won by a geared-down 2 ¼ lengths, setting a record time in the Runhappy Hopeful for seven furlongs.
Jackie's Warrior, the 1.85-1 second betting choice, finished up in 1:21.29 to give trainer Steve Asmussen back-to-back Runhappy Hopeful wins after taking the race a year ago with Basin. Since the stakes that dates back to 1904 was switched to seven furlongs in 1994, the previous best time had been Came Home's 1:21.94 in 2001.
Klaravich Stables' Reinvestment Risk, a 7 ¾-length winner of his Aug. 1 career debut at the Spa, was a clear second as the even-money favorite for trainer Chad Brown. The son of Upstart was 10 1¼ lengths ahead of Shadwell Stable's Mutasaabeq, an Into Mischief colt trained by Todd Pletcher.
"He's a very athletic colt who gets over the ground extremely well," said assistant trainer Scott Blasi, who saddled the Jackie's Warrior in Asmussen's absence. "He just continues to improve. He gets stronger in his works and does things so effortlessly."
Jackie's Warrior is undefeated in three starts. He broke his maiden at Churchill Downs June 19 and last out took the Grade 2 Saratoga Special Stakes Presented by Miller Lite Aug. 7 at the Spa. He increased his career earnings to $265,064 on Monday.
"I would expect to probably go on to the Champagne Stakes (Oct. 10 at Belmont Park at a one-turn mile) and then hopefully to the Breeders' Cup from there, but it's one race at a time," Blasi said. "We'll see how he comes out of this."