Jackie's Warrior is the Gift That Keeps on Giving for His Breeders


Jackie's WarriorSarah Andrew


John and Jennie Williams' J & J Stables sold Jackie's Warrior (Maclean's Music) for just $95,000 at Keeneland September. While that price proved to be the bargain of a lifetime for buyer Kirk Robison, the speedy colt has been the gift that keeps on giving for his breeders. The Williamses hope that continues as Jackie's Warrior enters the GI Breeders' Cup Sprint Saturday as the morning-line favorite and his 2-year-old half-sister Lenni Girl (Candy Ride {Arg}) sells during Book 1 of Keeneland November Wednesday.

The Williamses acquired Jackie's Warrior's dam Unicorn Girl (A.P. Five Hundred) in her second season on the racetrack through trainer Ben Perkins. She was a hard-knocking claiming and allowance filly running in the tri-state area with 19 wins from 54 starts and $483,508 in earnings.

“I got her with Ben Perkins early on,” John Williams said. “She was just a blue-collar horse. We ran her hard and she loved to run. She was in the money 34 times. She got claimed a few times, but we decided to claim her back and make her a broodmare. She just had the heart. She never quit. She won all those races the hard way. She had a fight in her. We decided to take a chance on her and see if she would make a broodmare and she turned out to be a pretty great one with Jackie's Warrior.”

Jackie's Warrior was Unicorn Girl's third foal and was actually named by his breeders prior to his sale at Keeneland September and his new owner kept the sentimental name.

“We were planning on racing Jackie's Warrior and named him after my wife's sister Jackie, who was fighting brain cancer,” Williams said. “Then we were downsizing the stable, so we ended up selling him. We were taking some chips off the table. Obviously we had no idea he would go on to become a champion, which it looks like he will. His namesake Jackie is in remission and cancer free and we are all catching planes right now to see him run [at Del Mar].”

Jackie's Warrior opened his account with four straight wins last year, including the GII Saratoga Special S., GI Runhappy Hopeful S. and GI Champagne S. He suffered his first loss when fourth in the GI TVG Breeders' Cup Juvenile last November at Keeneland.

The Williamses decided to strike while the iron is hot and supplemented Unicorn Girl and her 2020 American Pharoah colt to last year's Keeneland November Sale. Unicorn Girl summoned $850,000 from Arthur Hoyeau and her colt brought $600,000 from Coolmore's M.V. Magnier.

Jackie's Warrior has proven to be a one-turn wonder this year, taking the GIII Pat Day Mile May 1, GII Amsterdam S. Aug. 1, GI H. Allen Jerkens Memorial S. Aug. 28 and GII Gallant Bob S. Sept. 25. He also finished a close second in the GI Woody Stephens S. June 5, cementing him as the to choice in his division of the World Championships.

After another sensational season from Jackie's Warrior with a possible championships on the line, the Williamses figured they'd try their luck at Keeneland again this year, supplementing Jackie's Warrior's unraced 2-year-old half-sister Lenni Girl (Hip 224B) to the November sale.

“We've got a fair amount of fillies, which is a little bit unusual for us,” Williams said. “We are just trying to rebalance the stable a little bit and figured we would see where the market is. Jackie's Warrior is obviously a special colt, so we will see what happens with Lenni Girl. She is named after my granddaughter Lennon. The family names seem to be working out pretty well.”

The Keeneland November Sale gets underway Wednesday with a single Book 1 session beginning at 1 p.m.

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