05/23/2012 4:27PM

Belmont notes: Jackson Bend ready for Met Mile

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Jackson Bend
Jackson Bend is one of five Grade 1 winners headed to the Met Mile.

While trainer Nick Zito won’t be participating in the Belmont Stakes, he will have a major player for Monday’s Grade 1, $750,000 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park in Jackson Bend.
Jackson Bend is one of five Grade 1 winners pointing to the Met Mile, which is expected to draw a six-horse field when entries are taken and post positions assigned on Friday.

Jackson Bend is coming off a nose victory over Caleb’s Posse in last month’s Grade 1 Carter at seven furlongs. Caleb’s Posse is also pointing to the Met.

Jackson Bend won the Grade 3 Hal’s Hope at a mile in January before finishing third behind Mucho Macho Man in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap on March 10.

The last time Jackson Bend raced at a mile at Belmont, he finished second to Uncle Mo in the Grade 2 Kelso last October. Jackson Bend earned a career-best 112 Beyer Speed Figure for that effort.

“If he can come back to the Uncle Mo race we have a shot,” Zito said.

Principal Role gets right distance

When trainer Bill Mott ran Principal Role in the Grade 3 Beaugay here on May 5, he knew the 1 1/16 miles was going to be short for the mare, a 5-year-old daughter of Empire Maker.

Sure enough, she finished third, beaten 2 1/4 lengths by Winter Memories.

Saturday, Principal Role will stretch out to 1 3/8 miles in the Grade 2, $200,000 Sheepshead Bay Stakes for fillies and mares.

Principal Role drew post 6 in a field of 10 entered for the turf. There are also four entered in the event the race is transferred to the main track.

“I think the added distance should help her,” Mott said. “She’s been quite effective 10 furlongs over there.”

Principal Role, a half-brother to the Grade 1 winner Midships, made the first 13 starts of her career in Great Britain where she was a listed stakes winner at 1 1/4 miles.

Mott noted that Principal Role can be “temperamental,” and he’s happy that she has spent the last month at Belmont Park and gets to run out of her own stall without having a recent ship.

The Sheepshead Bay drew a solid field, including the uncoupled entry of Aruna and Hasay from trainer Graham Motion. Also entered are Aqsaam, Distorted Legacy, Hit it Rich, Magical Cat, Mystical Star, Senada and Woodford Belle.

Nicks eyes N.Y. success

Trainer Ralph Nicks has made New York his home for the time being, bringing an 18-horse string to Saratoga.

He has gotten off to a nice start at the Belmont meet, with 2 wins from 5 starters and had a contender in Button Girl entered in a second-level allowance on Thursday.

Monday, he will send out intriguing Aubby K in the Grade 1, $300,000 Acorn Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Aubby K, a daughter of Street Sense, won her debut here by 15 1/2 lengths. Coming back in seven weeks, Aubby K ran in the Grade 2 Pocahontas at Churchill Downs, where she finished fourth, beaten 2 3-4 lengths.

In her first start in five months, Aubby K won a first-level allowance by nearly 10 lengths going 6 1-2 furlongs at Gulfstream.

“We were 2 3/4 lengths behind On Fire Baby at the Pocahontas and we were hooked every step of the way,” Nicks said. “She put away two or three challenges that day and just got tired the last sixteenth. Talent-wise she fits. Will she run the distance? We’ll see on Monday.”

Others pointing to the Acorn include Contested, Hard Mystery, and Zo Impressive. Funny Proposition and Lady Cohiba are possible.

Arnie More than 1 year ago
I love JB at 7 furlongs but at mile, something makes me hesitate. If there's a speed horse entered he may steal it.
Brian Neuens More than 1 year ago
I just hope that all Belmont horses get home safe, a Barbaro incident would kill the sport, that is already on life support. GO BLUE!
korbin dallas More than 1 year ago
It never ceases to amaze me. Here we have a historic Grade 1 race with a $750K purse, and we only get six runners entered. Amazing! There are a few good horses entered but no monsters here to scare off the competition. Why don't a few more owners/trainers take a shot at a huge purse and a piece of racing history? Frustrating from both a fan of the sport and from betting yet another Grade 1 race with small fields and short odds.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
To Honor and Serve, Caleb's Posse and Jackson Bend possess speed figures that appear monsterish among current horses, and they have never not fired at 1 mile. Throw in Shackleford, you're probably looking at finishing 4th at best. The current purse structure at Belmont is so high that you could make the same or more money winning a 25k statesbred or 20k open company optional claimer than coming in 4th in the Met Mile.
Brian Neuens More than 1 year ago
I agree 100%
Wayne Haehner More than 1 year ago
you just dont get it Dallas--there ar NOT enough GR1 milers around--the Met Mile is a rare race and always has a small field--what did you expect --a field of 14 with AEs? wake up and the smell the coffee--there arent that many horses around
korbin dallas More than 1 year ago
Well, call me a wide eyed optimist then. Accept the status quo way of thinking and that is always what you will get. I realize the sport is now geared towards small fields and inflated purse structures at certain venues that siphon off good horses, but you could not find a few owners willing take a shot? At B There are no cinches in this sport. Every horse from the mighty Cigar to Zenyatta can eventually be beat. Why not swing for the fences and try to dream about the big one, rather then play it safe in some 100K no name race. The sport lacks men and woman who want to aim high with their horses, rather being content with plodding along on the safest path. And Wayne you memory is short so maybe you should crack open your history book before make such critical statements. Last year's Met Mile drew 11 runners with Tiznow in the race. In 2010 you had 8 runners with Quality Rd in the race. In 2009 you had a field of 12 starters In 2007 and 2008 you had 9 starters. You have to go back to the 2005 running to find 6 starters and that was with the horse of the year GhostZapper in the race. So, yes I am disappointed there is such a short field in this year's edition.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
There will be about 8 total