Fresh Start Stable's J J'S LUCKY TRAIN (Silver Train) outdueled Bandbox (Tapit) by a neck after a rousing stretch drive in Saturday's $51,500 Miracle Wood S. at Laurel Park. Just as the pair dominated in the wagering, with Bandbox the 4-5 favorite and J J's Lucky Train the 6-5 second choice, so did they lord it over their rivals on the track, drawing 8 1/2 lengths clear of third-placer Wicked Thunder (Thunder Gulch). (Photo courtesy of Maryland Jockey Club/Jim McCue.)
Bandbox went straight to the lead through an opening quarter in :22 4/5, but the stalking J J's Lucky Train was already on the attack through a half in :45 4/5. Thus the duo hooked up on the far turn, and their struggle would endure all the way to the finish line. Under a drive by Jose Ferrer, J J's Lucky Train grabbed a slim lead, and appeared on the verge of inching away in midstretch. But Bandbox regrouped and came again on the inside, forcing J J's Lucky Train to work to fend him off, which he just did to complete seven fast-track furlongs in 1:23 3/5.
"The horse broke sharp," Ferrer said. "He just found himself on the backside. I just wanted to keep him close and put a little pressure. I didn't want (the leader) to go too easy in front. I saw that good horse go to the front. I thought, 'what is going on, is the pace going to be slow or something, I should be in front of him,' but what can I do for me?"
Trained by William Anderson, J J's Lucky Train was coming off a runner-up effort to the well-regarded Toby's Corner (Bellamy Road) in the February 5 Whirlaway S. at Aqueduct, and two starts ago, he had likewise been second to Monzon (Thunder Gulch) in the January 1 Count Fleet S. at the same venue. Hence the dark bay colt was cutting back in trip to one turn here, a move that enabled him to record his first stakes victory. Claimed for $40,000 off his debut win at Monmouth last summer, he sports a record of 7-4-2-0, $137,000.
"He ran real good races," Anderson said of his recent starts, "but I thought a step up against the real top horses at a mile and a sixteenth or longer might be a little beyond his limits. His sire won the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) and he has a lot of speed. (The Triple Crown series) might be beyond his limitations. It's not a definite no, we'll see."
Anderson added that J J's Lucky Train would return to Aqueduct for the seven-furlong Bay Shore S. (G3) on April 9.
J J's Lucky Train was bred by EICO Stable in Kentucky and sold for $35,000 as a two-year-old in training at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic. Out of the Grade 3-placed stakes winner Delta Sensation (Thunder Gulch), he comes from the family of Grade 2 winner Mach Ride (Pentelicus), Grade 3 scorers Whimsy (Maria's Mon) and Bay to Bay (Sligo Bay [Ire]) and current stakes-winning sophomore filly Alexandra Rylee (Afleet Alex).