Saddled with post 10, facing a short stretch as a deep closer, and needing a win to ensure a spot in the Kentucky Derby (G1) field in three weeks, My Boy Jack had not much margin for error in Saturday's $200,000 Lexington (G3) at Keeneland. Under three-time Derby-winning jockey Kent Desormeaux, though, My Boy Jack proved to be in good hands as the 3-2 favorite got up late to take the 1 1/16-mile prep by a head over second choice Telekinesis.
With 32 qualifying points heading into the Lexington, My Boy Jack was a Derby "bubble" horse. With the photo-finish win, worth an additional 20 points, My Boy Jack essentially secured a spot in the field whereas a second-place finish, worth only eight points, could have kept him on the bubble.
Taken back by Desormeaux as is custom, My Boy Jack was more than 10 lengths behind the pacesetting Greyvitos through splits of :23.28 and :47.11, but began to cut into that deficit approaching the far turn. Four wide on the turn, My Boy Jack entered the stretch in prime position as the stalking Telekinesis bid for the lead and took a brief advantage. Those two battled to the wire through the short stretch, and it was My Boy Jack who prevailed over his lightly-raced foe in a time of 1:44.22 over a fast track.
Owned by Kirk Godby's Don't Tell My Wife Stables and Sol Kumin's Monomoy Stables, the Keith Desormeaux trainee paid $5. Telekinesis finished second, 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Pony Up. No other entrant in the Lexington field was in the mix for Derby eligibility due to a deficiency in points.
"Unbelievable. Everyone knows we came here (rather than the Arkansas Derby [G1]) to get points and he got the job done today," Godby said. "We're just thrilled. When I saw Kent bring him out down the backstretch and we were within six or seven lengths, I felt pretty good about it. I was just hoping he had the gas to get home in the short stretch."
Primarily a grass horse at two, My Boy Jack captured the $100,000 Zuma Beach at Santa Anita and placed in the $100,000 Del Mar Juvenile Turf. He was beaten just three lengths in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), but returned to dirt while hopping on the classic trail at the start of the year.
Only a distant third to McKinzie in the Sham (G3), My Boy Jack displayed a tremendous turn of foot on the far turn for a rail-skimming win in the Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn. Last time, in the Louisiana Derby (G2), My Boy Jack again flew by rivals on the far turn, but couldn't quite sustain that rally and finished a half-length third.
"He was very, very comfortable in his stride and that was pretty much a
repeat of his last start," Kent Desormeaux said of the Lexington. "Fortunately I
didn't grab a hot dog at the quarter pole and that made the difference.
"I think (the Derby) will (suit him) probably even better. We always tend to get a true, honest pace in the Kentucky Derby and I think he'll enjoy that."
Bred by former Kentucky governor Brereton Jones, My Boy Jack was a $20,000 Keeneland September yearling. He is by Creative Cause and out of the Mineshaft mare Gold N Shaft. His second dam was the Grade 3-winning Gold N Delicious.
My Boy Jack's record now stands at 10-3-3-2, $645,145.