07/08/2011 6:02PM

Belmont Park: Jack London staying home for next step


ELMONT, N.Y. - The 3-year-old Jack London was entered in stakes races at both Delaware Park and Monmouth Park for Saturday, but instead found a better - albeit less prestigious - spot Sunday at Belmont Park.

Coming off an eye-catching 12-length maiden win here on May 28, Jack London will take the next step in a first-level allowance race going a mile at Belmont, where he will face five other horses.

"I want to run him here because he likes this track, I don't want to ship him in the hot weather if I don't have to, and it was a lot of work to get the race to go here," trainer Barclay Tagg said Friday.

Tagg has always been high on Jack London, but this son of Tale of the Cat had a second and three fourth-place finishes in his first four starts. On May 28, he jumped up to win a one-mile maiden race by 12 lengths, racing gate to wire in 1:36.02. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 93.

"That's the way we thought he was along, but he wasn't doing it," Tagg said. "We had a little bit of chiropractic work done on him, and it seemed to turn him around -- it did for that race, anyway."

Jack London will break from the rail under Javier Castellano and will likely use his speed again to his advantage. He is likely to face pace pressure from Mineswept, who set strong fractions in a first-level allowance race here on Belmont Stakes Day before finishing third behind Johannesburg Smile. Ramon Dominguez replaces the injured Ryan Curatolo aboard Mineswept, whose owner, Carl Lizza, died Friday morning. City Trooper is another in the field that could be prominent early.

Sam Sparkle and Whateverittakes would benefit from a contested pace. Sam Sparkle, the only other 3-year-old in the field, is coming off a second-place finish behind the promising Bold Warrior in this condition on June 29 going seven furlongs.

"I thought he did everything right and ran awfully hard. I thought it was a great race," said Gary Contessa, the trainer of Sam Sparkle. "I think he's got ability to be a better horse. He's doing good, that's for sure."

Whateverittakes, a 4-year-old trained by Richard Schosberg, is coming off two fourth-place finishes, but both of those races were in the mud. In his last three starts run over a fast track, Whateverittakes has two wins and a second. He was entered as a main-track only entrant in a restricted statebred allowance race on Saturday.