by Jeremy Plonk
September 14, 2020
Each Monday, I’ll select my Most Valuable Pony from the previous week’s racing action around the country. Who won the week? It could be a breakout performer, a known stakes commodity or the horse lifting the most loot. Chime in on Twitter @Xpressbet with your thoughts on who should be each week’s MVP.
September 7-13, 2020
MVP: Jackie’s Warrior
Owner: J. Kirk and Judy Robison
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Joel Rosario
Performance: On a Labor Day that opened last week with a bevy of big races coast-to-coast, the juvenile Jackie’s Warrior stole the show. He dominated Saratoga’s Grade 1 Hopeful to advance to 3-for-3 lifetime, easily dispatching the very highly regarded Reinvestment Risk for Chad Brown’s barn. Jackie’s Warrior, the Grade 2 Saratoga Special winner, outgunned Reinvestment Risk early in the Hopeful and zipped 22.56, 22.27, 23.50 and 12.96 splits for 7 furlongs in a stakes-record 1:21.29. The top pair were more than a dozen lengths clear of the rest.
On Tap: A 2-turn prep for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile could loom, which most likely would fit best in Keeneland’s Grade 1 Breeders Futurity on October 3. The connections could opt to stay around 1 turn for now and proceed to the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont on October 10. Distance will be a big question for this talented son of the fleet, but fleeting, Maclean’s Music. The dam of Jackie’s Warrior, Unicorn Girl, was a blue-collar sprinter in the Mid-Atlantic.
Honorable Mentions: Spanning the continent this week, Imprimis won a fantastic renewal of the Grade 3 Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint on September 12, perhaps the strongest grass dash field in America this year. The Joe Orseno trainee has risen to the top of that division nationally. Anothertwistafate returned from 16 months away to win the Sept. 10 Grade 3 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs. Last year’s Preakness alum was never in doubt in a 4-length victory that could put him on the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile or Classic path. Mighty Heart dominated the September 12 Queen’s Plate, Canada’s answer to the Kentucky Derby. The Josie Carroll trainee drew away by 7-1/2 lengths while making his stakes debut, leading a 1-2 sweep for the barn over Belichick.