Jack Christopher's connections weigh Breeders' Cup options

Photo: Gary Johnson/Eclipse Sportswire

After getting back in the win column in Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial at Saratoga Race Course, Jim Bakke, Gerald Isbister, Peter Brant and Coolmore Stud’s Jack Christopher now has dead aim on the Breeders’ Cup on November 5 at Keeneland Race Course. But which Breeders’ Cup race the son of Munnings will contest is still unknown.

Trained by Chad Brown, the three-time Grade 1-winner utilized his typical stalking tactics down the backstretch, sitting just off pacesetter Conagher and taking command at the top of the stretch to win by 1 1/4 lengths under Jose Ortiz. The victory garnered a 104 Beyer Speed Figure from the Daily Racing Form, and came following a third-place finish in his two-turn debut in the Haskell Invitational (G1) on July 23 at Monmouth Park.

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“It was great to see him bounce out of the Haskell and get another Grade 1 win, he’s just a remarkable horse,” Brown said.

Bradley Weisbord, racing manager for the ownership group, said a decision regarding the Breeders’ Cup will be left up to Brown. He will either contest the six-furlong, $2 million Sprint or the two-turn, $1 million Dirt Mile.

“I’m grateful that Jim Bakke and Gerald Isbister and his family were here. They flew in from Wisconsin and it’s great when the owners show up,” Weisbord said. “Hopefully we keep on track for the Breeders’ Cup. It’s up to Chad whether he runs once before the Breeders’ Cup, but the Breeders’ Cup will be the goal.”

Weisbord credited bloodstock agent Liz Crow for picking out the talented chestnut at the 2020 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Sale, where he was bought for $135,000 from the Paramount Sales consignment.

“She leads our team there and always does a great job at the sale year after year,” Weisbord said. “She continues to find horses like Jack and we’re thankful that she’s on our team.”

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Brown went on to speak of Jeff Drown’s Zandon, who kept his perfect in-the-money record intact when an even third to Epicenter in the Grade 1 Runhappy Travers. The son of Upstart was sixth down the backstretch and was called on by Flavien Prat in upper stretch. He made an inside rally in the stretch drive and battled for place honors in between respective second and fourth-place finishers Cyberknife and Rich Strike.

“He ran a good race. He made up quite a bit of ground on Cyberknife and nearly got him for second,” Brown said. “The race to win was not going to be for anyone the way Epicenter ran. Of the other horses that ran, he probably ran the second best race. He’s a very consistent horse and we’ll just have to see how he comes out the race.”

Boasting a record of 7: 2-2-3 and earnings in excess of $1.25 million, Zandon was third in the Kentucky Derby following a victory in the Blue Grass (G1) at Keeneland.

Brown also saddled stakes-winner Artorius and Preakness winner Early Voting to a respective sixth and eighth in the Travers. Artorius launched a bid around the far turn but flattened out in the stretch, while Early Voting was third down the backstretch and threw in the towel around the far turn, finishing last of eight and beaten 63 3/4 lengths.

“We’re still evaluating them. No major issues,” Brown said.

Brown also saddled Klaravich Stables’ Technical Analysis to a victory in the Ballston Spa (G2), the first of six graded stakes races on Saturday’s program. The 4-year-old Irish-bred daughter of Kingman secured her third graded stakes win at the Spa following wins in last year’s Lake George (G3) and Lake Placid (G2). She arrived at the Ballston Spa off a runner-up to stablemate In Italian in the Grade 1 Diana on July 16 at Saratoga.

“She definitely loves Saratoga. She ran super,” Brown said.

Brown mentioned the $750,000 First Lady (G1) on October 8 at Keeneland as a possible next start for Technical Analysis.

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