My Boy Jack wins the Southwest Stakes (Coady Photo/Oaklawn Park)
The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf isn’t usually regarded as a guide to the Kentucky Derby, but at least six of the runners in last year’s edition are making progress on the Derby trail, the latest being Southwest Stakes (G3) winner My Boy Jack.
Catholic Boy (fourth in the Juvenile Turf) and Flameaway (eighth) have both won early prep races, and Snapper Sinclair (12th) finished second in the Risen Star Stakes. In addition, the first two home, Mendelssohn and Untamed Domain, are both set to run in Derby preps.
My Boy Jack finished seventh in the Juvenile Turf following four previous turf races, in which he won the Zuma Beach Stakes and finished second in the other three. Those efforts came after he finished a well-beaten sixth over five furlongs on the Santa Anita dirt on his debut.
He returned to dirt at Santa Anita for the Sham Stakes (G3) Jan. 6. He earned two points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby courtesy of a third-place finish, but he was 7-1/2 lengths behind the winner, McKinzie.
Trainer Keith Desormeaux decided then to head to Oaklawn Park for the Southwest Stakes. Punters kept him safe at 8.8-1, but even his biggest fans were probably surprised by what happened. He was well back in the early stages but made his run on the fence on the final turn and dashed away for a 4-1/2 length victory over Combatant, Sporting Chance, and Mourinho.
Bred by Airdrie Stud’s Brereton Jones, My Boy Jack went up for sale as a weanling at the Keeneland November mixed sale, but the final bid of $14,000 wasn’t enough to meet his reserve. He was taken back to Keeneland for the 2016 September yearling sale, where he was bought by Don’t Tell My Wife Stables, which now races him with Monomoy Stables.
My Boy Jack is from the second crop of Creative Cause, a high-quality son of Giant’s Causeway who stands at Airdrie Stud for $15,000. Creative Cause won the Norfolk Stakes (G1 – now known as the FrontRunner Stakes) as a juvenile and finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. The following year he beat Bodemeister in the San Felipe Stakes (G2) before finishing second in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) and third in the Preakness Stakes (G1). He is a full brother to Destin, who finished a close second in the 2016 Belmont Stakes (G1) and won the 1 ¾-mile Del Mar Marathon Stakes (G2) last year.
My Boy Jack is out of the unraced Mineshaft mare Gold N Shaft. Her dam, Gold N Delicious, won the Fleur de Lis Handicap (G3) and finished second in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1). In addition to Gold N Shaft she produced the stakes winner Precious Kiss and three other stakes-placed horses.
Several of Creative Cause’s nine stakes winners – among them Twisted Tom and Pavel – have performed well up to nine furlongs, and there’s enough strength in My Boy Jack’s distaff pedigree to suggest he can stay 1 ¼ miles.
My Boy Jack clearly relished the sloppy track conditions in the Southwest Stakes. How he will go on a drier track is yet to be confirmed, but if he makes it to Churchill Downs on the First Saturday in May on a wet track he should not be underestimated.
(My Boy Jack photo by Coady Photography/Oaklawn)