MY BOY JACK’S SOUTHWEST WIN A STAR WARS EPISODE
When Obi-Wan Kenobi told Luke about the Force all those years ago in that universe that was far, far away, do you think he knew it encompassed Thoroughbred horse racing too?…Well, of course he did!
My Boy Jack has emerged from hyperspace and landed on the road to the Kentucky Derby after a convincing win in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park on February 19. A powerful move up the rail demonstrated the style that makes for a Derby contender. That may have not been a light saber in the hands of jockey Kent Desormeaux, but his magnificent ride would have made Yoda exclaim “win you will if you ride like that.”
Coming in to the race, this striking son of Creative Cause may have had some wondering why he was even here. One win in seven previous starts meant Jack was not exactly a full-fledged Jedi. The only win had come over the Santa Anita turf course so that meant this Keith Desormeaux trained colt was yet to visit the winner’s circle after running on a main track. Having never run outside of California, was this a trip to the Death Star for this grandson of Mineshaft?
“After he finished strong and ran third in the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita we knew he could be set up for a big run in the Southwest,” says trainer Keith Desormeaux. “We made a plan and his works after the Sham were great. He gave us all the signs he was ready to run big.”
Run big he did would have been another Yoda observation after My Boy Jack’s 4 ½ length triumph over 10 other Derby hopefuls. Coming from far off the pace and utilizing a huge kick as he did in his Zuma Beach Stakes win last October, Jack was much the best over the Arkansas off-track. The ability to win on both dirt and grass speaks volumes as to the potential of this young warrior. His crafty Cajun conditioner sees a lot of promise in his boy Jack for more reasons than just his late turn of foot. But make no mistake, the Southwest win was not a Jedi mind trick.
“Jack has a very solid mental demeanor,” observes Desormeaux. “He is a very confident horse that seems to believe in himself. He has responded to a lot of the things we are doing and for good measure, his pedigree suggests he can get the distance in longer races.”
The faith that envelops the force was obviously present in Desormeaux’s decision to run My Boy Jack in the Southwest. Giving his brother a leg up in the irons probably played a part as well. But here is where we really understand why we can compare that scintillating scamper to one of the George Lucas episodes.
“Me and Kent, we came up in this game traveling different paths,” says Keith. “Funny thing is, his style and mine are made for each other. Getting a horse to settle and finish strong is my goal as a trainer and Kent has always been good at riding that way because he has good hands. We have come together after time apart in the early days and it really has been a great thing.”
My Boy Jack needs more points to be assured a starting spot in Kentucky Derby 144. Desormeaux the trainer has a vision of getting a fresh horse to the first Saturday in May. The Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn on March 17 could be his next start and big performance there would probably allow him to train up to the May 6 Run for The Roses.
“He ran in the Southwest exactly how we trained him,” says Keith Desormeaux. “Our plan for getting to the Derby is up in the air right now. We just need him to continue to get better and hopefully we can find the way.”
Sometimes you just use the Force Luke…I mean Keith.