Jack Wolf Joins the TDN Writers' Room Podcast

Jack Wolf | Sarah Andrew

As the managing partner of Starlight Racing, Jack Wolf is a part of a team that can always be counted on to have several prospects for the GI Kentucky Derby. That's the case again this year as the trio of Starlight, SF Racing and Madaket Stables will have horses in Saturday's GII San Felipe S., the GIII Gotham S. and the John Battaglia Memorial. To discuss those runners and Starlight's philosophies when it comes to trying to acquire Derby candidates Wolf was the Green Group Guest of the Week on this week's TDN Writers' Room podcast presented by Keeneland.

As was the case last year, the Starlight horses have been transferred to trainer Tim Yakteen, who is taking over for Bob Baffert. Baffert, due to a ban imposed by Churchill Downs, is not eligible to run horses in this year's Derby.

“We sort of went down this road last year and it seems to be working,” Wolf said. “The transfer seems to be working a lot more smoothly than last year. Last year, Bob was also serving a suspension (from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission). We're fortunate to have Bob working with us and trying to continue on to have these particular horses be eligible for the Derby points. Bob, (SF Racing Managing Partner) Tom Ryan and Tim have done a great job working together to try pull this off up to this point.”

Among the four Starlight horses that will be running in Derby preps this weekend, Wolf wasn't shy about listing who he believes is the best. It's San Felipe starter National Treasure (Quality Road), who is coming off a third-place finish in the GIII Sham S.

“I got on him as a Derby horse a couple of months before the end of the year,” Wolf said. “I just like how things are setting up for him, hopefully, for the next three races. I just really like the horse. He's not peaking too soon. Bob Baffert always says you get Derby Fever in January and February. But you don't know what you have until April comes around. So even though this horse may have a little case of second-itis, I think from a pedigree standpoint and the way he's been set up for the San Felipe he's our best hope.  That's who I have my money on.”

Starlight, SF Racing and Madaket were among the first major owners to pool their resources at the sales, which mas become a growing trend in the sport. That means more competition for the trio when it comes to acquiring expensive horses, but Wolf said he believes his team can outperform their rivals.

“We've got better bloodstock agents and better operation than the other ones,” he said. “But, yes, they're buying a lot of stock.  Mike (Repole) and Vinnie (Viola) put a little bit more money into it than we do. Maybe we put a little bit more money into it than the group Brad Cox has assembled. I like those guys. It's fun to compete with them and have at it.”

Elsewhere on the podcast, which is also sponsored by Coolmore, Lane's End, the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders AssociationXBTV, and West Point Thoroughbreds, Randy Moss, Zoe Cadman and Bill Finley took a look back at the win by Confidence Game (Candy Ride {Arg}) in the GII Rebel S. and trainer Keith Desormeaux's knack for developing modestly priced sales horses into stars and a looked ahead to this week's major races, including the GII Fountain of Youth S., the GII San Felipe S. and the GI Santa Anita H. In other news, the team discussed the reinstatement of controversial trainer Rick Dutrow and a TDN column by Sid Fernando that reasons that SGF-1000, the drug Jason Servis has admitted to using on his horses, is not a performance-enhancing drug.

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