Updated on 10/11/2012 1:23PM

Jackson Bend, multiple Grade 1 winner, retired at 5

Barbara D. Livingston
Owner-breeder Fred Brei said Jackson Bend was unable to mentally recover from a training accident at Saratoga on Aug. 18.

The multiple Grade 1 winner Jackson Bend, who developed a reputation as a small horse with a big heart, has been retired from racing, trainer Nick Zito confirmed Thursday.

Fred Brei, the breeder and co-owner of Jackson Bend, said the horse did not appear to mentally recover from a training accident at Saratoga on Aug. 18 when a horse barreled into him on the Oklahoma training track, Zito said.

Brei said that Jackson Bend would join the stallion roster of Journeyman Stud in Ocala, Fla., where he will stand for a fee of $5,000.

Shortly after running last in the Grade 1 Forego at Saratoga on Sept. 1, Jackson Bend was sent to Brei’s Jacks or Better Farm in Reddick, Fla. for a vacation. Zito said that Brei called him on Wednesday and said that he didn’t feel Jackson Bend’s mental attitude was where it needed to be to return to racing.

“It’s an emotional thing for me,” Zito said by phone from Saratoga. “You can’t put a price on what that horse has given us over the years, all the big races he’s taken us too. He would have been right there in the Forego if that accident didn’t happen. I guess it took its toll mentally. Fred said it’s like a concussion for an athlete. He knows the horse pretty good.”

Brei and trainer Stanley Gold campaigned him to five wins from six starts as a 2-year-old, including a sweep of the Florida Stallion Stakes series at Calder.

Prior to Jackson Bend’s 3-year-old season, Brei sold half-interest to Robert LaPenta and the horse was transferred to Zito. Though he was winless at 3, Jackson Bend finished second in the Holy Bull, Fountain of Youth and Wood Memorial and finished third, beaten less than a length, in the Preakness.

After starting 2011 with Gold, Jackson Bend was returned to Zito for the summer, and he won the James Marvin and Grade 1 Forego at Saratoga. He ended the year with a third in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

This year, Jackson Bend won the Grade 3 Hal’s Hope at Gulfstream and the Grade 1 Carter at Aqueduct by a nose over Caleb’s Posse.

A 5-year-old horse by Hear No Evil, Jackson Bend retires with a record of 9-6-4 and won eight stakes from 28 starts, and he earned $1,613,450.

“I thought he’d always be around,” Zito said. “For a trainer, I thought he was a luxury, a gift from God, a blessing. You can’t put a price on Jackson Bend for me.”