11/03/2010 3:11PM

Mitchell confident Jaycito will handle dirt in Breeders' Cup Juvenile

Benoit & Associates
Jaycito won the Grade 1 Norfolk for Mike Mitchell, but is now being trained by Bob Baffert.

Trainer Mike Mitchell received two text messages from owner Ahmed Zayat on Wednesday morning regarding Jaycito, their contender for Saturday’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

“The first was ‘I’m so nervous,’ ” Mitchell said. “I text him back and said, ‘I’m not nervous until something happens where my horse isn’t doing good.’ When he’s doing great, I’ve got nothing to be nervous about.”

In the second text, Zayat asked Mitchell if he was happy with how Jaycito was doing.

“I said, ‘Well, I was happy when I got a ‘C’ on my report card in high school,’ ” Mitchell said he wrote back. “ ‘This is beyond happy.’ ”

Mitchell said he was happy both before and after Jaycito trained over the Churchill Downs main track for the first time Wednesday morning. The Juvenile will be Jaycito’s first start on dirt, but Mitchell said he sees no reason why Jaycito wouldn’t like it, noting that jockey Mike Smith told him, “The kickback on this track is like a mist that hits you in the face. It’s not like dirt clods or anything like that.”

Jaycito, a son of 1998 Kentucky Derby runner-up Victory Gallop, finished second in two sprint races – including the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity – before winning the Grade 1 Norfolk in his first start around two turns.

“The Del Mar Futurity was a perfect second race to get under his belt,” Mitchell said. “He just kind of fell asleep in the gate, went really, really slow, then went around everybody. Then we routed him the next time, and it was perfect.”

Jaycito finished second to J P’s Gusto in the Del Mar Futurity before beating that same rival by one length in the Norfolk.

J P’s Gusto, who won four stakes before getting beat in the Norfolk, also had his first visit to the main track on Wednesday, and trainer David Hofmans said he was happy with the way J P’s Gusto got over the ground.

“I’m counting on coming off that semi-synthetic track [at Hollywood Park],” Hofmans said. “He’ll move forward a little bit. With his body type and running style, I think he will.”