Jackson Bend scooted up the rail to take the $78,000 James Marvin S. by 2 1/2-lengths on July 22, the opening day of the Saratoga meet. The 4-year-old son of Hear No Evil has had plenty of tough luck over the past year and a half, making the win the Marvin, with a field full of graded stakes winners, even more rewarding for trainer Nick Zito and owners Robert LaPenta and Fred Brei.
Jackson Bend was just behind the leaders in fourth down the backstrech of the seven furlong sprint. Tucked along the rail around the turn, rider Corey Nakatani found an opening near the top of the stretch, and spurted to the front to win going away. The final time on the fast track was 1:20.91, just a half second off the track record that was set in 1978 by Darby Creek Road.
"I couldn’t have designed a better trip," Nakatani said. "I was wanting to gauge what they were doing outside and just track them. When I asked him the question turning for home, he shot through the rail like it was meant to happen, and I’m glad it did.
Brei bred Jackson Bend in Florida in the name of his farm, Jacks or Better Farm. The chestnut colt is now 6-5-2 in 19 starts, with earnings of $912,450. The Marvin was his first start in a sprint since Aug., 2009.
“I told Mr. LaPenta I wanted to back him up a little bit," Zito said. "He has so much guts, it’s unbelievable. He has so much heart. He came back to us and trained brilliantly, and as a 2-year-old he won a couple of sprint races. He’s a top horse, and I can’t be happier for the horse.
"We’ll either pick the Forego (G1, Sept. 3 at Saratoga), which is seven-eighths of a mile, or something else. Bob wants to run in the Breeders’ Cup (Dirt) Mile (G1, Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs).”
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