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BOB BLACK JACK RETURNS FROM 14 MONTHS ON SHELF TO BLITZ OPPONENTS BY 2 ¼ LENGTHS IN GRADE II SAN CARLOS HANDICAP
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 20, 2010) – Last seen approaching Spectacular Bid’s stakes record in Santa Anita’s Grade I Malibu Stakes on Dec. 26, 2008, Bob Black Jack returned from 14 months on the sidelines Saturday to absolutely blitz a field that included the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion in Santa Anita’s Grade II, $150,000 San Carlos Handicap.
With David Flores in the saddle, the 5-year-old California-bred son of Stormy Jack stormed to the front and never looked back while widening his advantage to 2 ¼ lengths over Ventana at the wire and speeding seven furlongs in 1:21.05.
It was one-half length back to Supreme Summit while Dancing in Silks, the Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner and 7-5 favorite, faded to fifth in the field of six after never mounting a threat.
For Bob Black Jack, it was a remarkable performance considering the length of his recovery from a leg injury and his ability to return in such an overpowering manner on workouts alone.
“He’s been working very well,” said Flores, who has ridden Bob Black Jack in 9 of his 11 starts. “He’s a great horse, and we’ve had some great memories. Today, he missed the first couple of jumps, but he’s got so much natural speed, he made the lead right away and he relaxed very well. I was glad that we didn’t get too much pressure to the turn because I was concerned about the last quarter, but he was ready.”
Sent off as the third choice, Bob Black Jack paid $10.20, $5.20 and $4.80. Ventana, the 2-1 second choice with Victor Espinoza aboard, paid $3.80 and $3.40. Supreme Summit, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, returned $4.20 to show.
Dancing in Silks, who was upset when third in the Grade II Palos Verdes Handicap on Jan. 23 following a four-race winning streak capped by the Breeders’ Cup triumph, had no apparent excuse. According to trainer Carla Gaines, jockey Joel Rosario told her, “He just sort of flattened out from the quarter pole home.”
James Kasparoff, who trains Bob Black Jack, said he was “quietly confident” about his horse’s first appearance since winning the seven-furlong Malibu by 2 ½ lengths over Into Mischief and Georgie Boy while timed in 1:20.20, one-fifth of a second off Spectacular Bid’s stakes and then track record.
“I put a lot of work into this horse in the mornings,” said Kasparoff. “He had a lot of foundation, and I figured with the long layoff that he’d probably run a little harder than he might if he was off three or four months.
“I was quietly confident, but when you haven’t run for a year and two months, you’ve got a built-in excuse right there. I would have been surprised if the horse (Ventana) ran past him (in the stretch). For a second there, it looked like maybe he had a shot at him, but we just had too much horse. You can’t let him go in :23 and :45. You’re probably going to be chasing him all the way around the track.”
When Bob Black Jack set a since eclipsed track record of 1:06.53 for six furlongs in the Sunshine Millions Dash on Jan. 26, 2008, he whizzed through unearthly fractions of :20.80 and 42.40, and went on to win by 3 ½ lengths.
The victory in the San Carlos, worth $90,000 to owners Jeff Harmon and Tim Kasparoff, boosted the earnings of Bob Black Jack to $684,925 from a career record of 5-2-1 in eleven races.
In the earlier $60,000 China Doll Stakes, a one-mile turf competition for 3-year-old fillies, City to City scored a $24.20 upset with Joel Rosario aboard. She defeated 12-1 longshot Camille C. by 1 1/2 lengths while running the distance in 1:35.92. Andina was third in the field of seven.
The winner, a Kentucky-bred daughter of City Zip, is trained by Jerry Hollendorfer who co-owns the chestnut filly in a partnership. City to City’s victory was her fourth in 10 career starts.
Dynamic Range is the 5-2 morning line favorite among nine entrants in Sunday’s Grade II, $150,000 San Luis Obispo Handicap at 1 ½ miles on turf. First post for the nine-race program is at 12:30 p.m.