Gear Jockey (Twirling Candy), third at 67-1 as a maiden in the 2019 GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita, delivered a career high while punching his ticket to the GI Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint.
The Calumet Farm homebred sat just off the pacesetting Bombard (War Front) in second, took over under confident handling as they hit the quarter pole and took care of business from there to win for fun.
Longshot Diamond Oops (Lookin At Lucky) nosed out Bombard for second.
Gear Jockey, a maiden winner at ninth asking at Gulfstream Jan. 21, was a close third in the GIII Canadian Turf S. going 1 1/16 miles Feb. 27. A Keeneland allowance winner going a mile this spring, he cut back to a pair of 5 1/2-furlong turf sprints in his last two, scoring in an optional claimer at Saratoga July 17, then rallying for third in the GIII Troy S. Aug. 6.
Trainer Rusty Arnold has also enjoyed success with Twirling Candy's GI Belmont Oaks Invitational S. heroine Concrete Rose and MGSW Morticia.
“He's been working good,” winning jockey Jose Lezcano said. “He felt very good. He broke right on top and I let him follow [Bombard] and when I asked him at the three-sixteenths, he took off again. At the quarter [pole] he had already taken me there, but at three-sixteenths, I had to ask him because no one was coming and he might hang and fool around. The whole way he gave me the feeling that I had so much horse. When I asked, him he really kicked on.”
Favored two-time GI Fourstardave H. heroine Got Stormy (Get Stormy) was a disappointing sixth.
“You've always heard me say that she likes hard ground,” trainer Mark Casse said. “I think when she's sprinting she probably would actually like it a little softer. Today they were just a little too fast for her. But she's fine. We knew this was a tall task, but this will get us ready for the Breeders' Cup.”
Gear Jockey, whose granddam is a half-sister to GISW Stroll (Pulpit), has effectively salvaged the last two generations of his female family from a scarcity of black-type. Gear Jockey's dam spent her early producing years delivering foals by obscure stallion Calimonco until being purchased for $20,000 by Calumet with the Turf Sprint winner in utero at the 2017 Keeneland January sale. Her most recent foals–2-year-old colt Double Clutch (Optimizer) and yearling colt Keen to Go (Keen Ice)–are by resident Calumet stallions. She has been bred back to Calumet's Bravazo for next term. Gear Jockey became the 50th black-type winner out of a Tapit mare with the Kentucky Downs score and the second by Twirling Candy out of a Tapit mare, joining Venezuelan MSW Believe (Ven). Twirling Candy is having a fabulous year, with Gear Jockey his eighth black-type winner of 2021 and joining the ranks of GI Preakness S. winner Rombauer, as well as last week's GI Runhappy Del Mar Futurity winner Pinehurst. Gear Jockey marks Twirling Candy's 12th graded winner and 31st stakes winner in seven crops.
Saturday, Kentucky Downs
FANDUEL TURF SPRINT S.-GIII, $995,500, Kentucky Downs, 9-11, 3yo/up, 6fT, 1:07.90 (NCR), fm.
1–GEAR JOCKEY, 121, c, 4, by Twirling Candy
1st Dam: Switching Gears, by Tapit
2nd Dam: Pace, by Indian Ridge (Ire)
3rd Dam: Maid for Walking (GB), by Prince Sabo (GB)
1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN.
O/B-Calumet Farm (KY); T-George R. Arnold, II; J-Jose Lezcano.
$576,600. Lifetime Record: GISP, 15-4-2-5, $902,875. Click for
eNicks report & 5-cross catalogue-style pedigree. Werk Nick
Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*.
2–Diamond Oops, 121, g, 6, Lookin At Lucky–Patriotic Viva, by
Whywhywhy. ($42,000 RNA Wlg '15 KEENOV). O-Diamond 100
Racing Club, LLC, Amy Dunne, D P Racing LLC & Patrick L.
Biancone Racing LLC; B-Kin Hui Racing Stables LLC (KY);
T-Patrick L. Biancone. $186,000.
3–Bombard, 125, g, 8, War Front–Witty, by Distorted Humor.
O/B-Raydelz Stable (KY); T-Richard E. Mandella. $93,000.
Margins: 2HF, NO, HD. Odds: 5.70, 21.90, 6.30.
Also Ran: Fast Boat, Casa Creed, Got Stormy, Front Run the Fed, Chewing Gum, Stubbins, Imprimis, Siem Riep, Born Great. Scratched: Johnny Unleashed. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.