TDN Top Triple Crown Contenders

Jackie's Warrior

5) JACKIE'S WARRIOR (c, Maclean's MusicUnicorn Girl, by A. P. Five Hundred)
O-J Kirk & Judy Robison. B-J & J Stables (KY). T-Steve Asmussen. Sales history: $95,000 yrl '19 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: MGISW, 5-4-0-0, $502,564.
Last Start: 4th GI TVG Breeders' Cup Juvenile, KEE, Nov. 6
Accomplishments: 1st GII Saratoga Special, 1st GI Runhappy Hopeful S., 1st GI Champagne S.
Next Start: GIII Southwest S., OP
Equineline PPs. KY Derby Points: 12.

The Essential Quality-Jackie's Warrior rematch will be the closest thing we've had to a real rivalry so far this season. Yes, they've only met once previously, but that Breeders' Cup clash amounted to the season championship and neither has raced since, so the Southwest S. takes on more gravitas. I'm prognosticating an edge to “Jackie” over the speed-leaning Oaklawn surface at 1 1/16 miles, but longer distances later could swing the advantage in “EQ's” direction. How have horses from last year's Juvenile fared in their next races? So far eight have started, but only Keepmeinmind (Laoban) and Rombauer (Twirling Candy) were next-out winners; both ran Beyers lower than what they had earned in the Juvenile. In fact, six of the eight Juvenile run-backs failed to increase their Beyers the next time they started, which is not a promising sign of that race's strength. This $95,000 KEESEP colt was 4-for-4 in one-turn races at age two, and his immediate pedigree is a fascinating study in length-of-career contrasts: Sire Maclean's Music (like Jackie, also trained by Steve Asmussen) wired a Santa Anita sprint in his debut by 7 1/4 lengths. He earned a 114 Beyer—the highest debut Beyer ever—yet never raced again after being retired over complications related to a fractured splint bone. Dam Unicorn Girl, conversely, was a robust starter-allowance stalwart who raced 54 times with a 19-7-8 record over seven seasons on the mid-Atlantic circuit.