Gear Jockey Lands KY Downs’ Turf Sprint For Second Time In Thriller, Earns Breeders’ Cup Berth

Calumet Farm homebred Gear Jockey fought out a thrilling finish to spring a 23-1 surprise in the $1-million Ainsworth Turf Sprint (G2) at Kentucky Downs and earned his second victory in the race Saturday.

The 6-year-old son of Twirling Candy scored comfortably by 2 ½ lengths in the 2021 edition of the six-furlong contest but needed every inch of the stretch this year to win by head from favorite One Timer.

Ridden by Jose Lezcano for trainer Rusty Arnold, Gear Jockey returned $23.30 after finishing the trip in 1:10.59.

Pacesetter Bad Beat Brian finished third, a neck behind One Timer.

With the victory, Gear Jockey earned an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) in November at Santa Anita via the Breeders’ Cup Challenge ‘Win and You’re In’ series.

With the $589,680 winner’s share of the purse, Gear Jockey’s lifetime earnings increased to $1,586,651. His overall record stands at 5-2-6 from 24 starts. His dam is the Tapit mare Switching Gears.

Ainsworth Turf Sprint Quotes

Trainer Rusty Arnold, 1st, Gear Jockey – “We’re pretty happy. He’s a favorite. I thought he had lost his edge. He’s had his issues and we thought we had him in pretty good shape. He loves this course. Two times he’s won on it, so obviously he does. Great ride. Very happy.”

How did you have the confidence to try him here? “We had this horse in at Ellis to get him ready We got him down there and were ready to go. It was a beautiful day, but the sprinklers had been left on all night so we couldn’t run him.

Then we were scrambling and I don’t think he got to Virginia (where he was sixth in the Van Clief Stakes July 22 in his first starts since Nov. 25) the right way. It was a disaster. Then we just pointed for here. He had three really, really good works.

“We thought we had him right, but there is a way of being fit and there is racing fit. Everybody else has been running and we’ve been on the shelf with one start in a year basically.”

“He’s had his issues. You get him over here without his issues and you’ve got a different horse. Each time he ran one of those there was a reason for it. We tried to give him the winter off and get him right. The only one we kind of scratched our head on was the last race in Virginia because we thought we had him good enough to run a good race. We knew we were coming here. But he didn’t run at all. We had shipped down the day before and nothing went right. Everything went right for this one.”

“He won kind of the same way two years ago. We wanted to run here last year. We missed it. It’s nice to get him back.”

Jockey Jose Lezcano, 1st, Gear Jockey – “He broke very sharp. He gave me the same race he gave me two years ago when he won here (2021 Turf Sprint). To be honest with you, I knew it was going to be very close. At first, I thought the other horse (One Timer) got me. I thought he got me in the last bob and I was like (clenches his teeth). I really didn’t know. Sometimes you know. The angle here is different so it’s hard to know. I was very happy for the horse. He is a tough horse and he tries all the time. I am very happy for Rusty and his whole team. They work very hard.”

Trainer Larry Rivelli, 2nd, One Timer – “He likes this track. We’ll see him next year. Same race. That’s what we’re going to do. We’ll run him in the Breeders’ Cup and give him some time off.

Were you compromised by not getting to the lead right away? “The other horse, Bad Beat Brian, caught a flyer. We’ve ran against him several times and we’ve been in front of him. There’s nothing you can do. He just got us. Baird knows the horse well enough that he let him settle in.”

Jockey E. T. Baird, 2nd, One Timer – “I thought I got there. He ran good. They out footed me the first part so I just conceded and held him together. I didn’t know at the wire. I knew it was going to be close. He ran hard.”

The post Gear Jockey Lands KY Downs’ Turf Sprint For Second Time In Thriller, Earns Breeders’ Cup Berth appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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