Standout sprinter Jackie’s Warrior joined other 2021 stars on the operating table last week, undergoing surgery for a bone chip in his left knee at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Kentucky.
Dr. Larry Bramlage, who this week performed shin surgery on 2-year-old star Jack Christopher, did the procedure.
The three-time Grade 1 champion came out of the procedure well and is rehabbing at a Kentucky farm. Trainer Steve Asmussen told the Daily Racing Form that he expects to see Jackie’s Warrior back next season.
“We do plan on a 2022 campaign,” he told the DRF.
Jackie’s Warrior sustained the chip during the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Del Mar on Nov. 6. Leaving the gate as the 1/2 favorite, Jackie’s Warrior led the six-furlong race entering the stretch before fading over the final furlong.
Jackie’s Warrior an odds-on disappointment
He finished sixth, beaten by 4 1/2 lengths by 11/1 surprise Aloha West, who caught Dr. Schivel at the wire.
That snapped Jackie’s Warrior’s three-race, graded-stakes winning streak. The Maclean’s Music 3-year-old won the Grade 2 Amsterdam Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 1, the Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial at the Spa on Aug. 28, and the Grade 2 Gallant Bob at Parx Racing.
He won that last race, a Breeders’ Cup tune-up, by nearly seven lengths as the 1/20 favorite. The race notes pointed out jockey Joel Rosario “taking (a) look back to check his opposition five times.” Considering Jackie’s Warrior clocked a 110 Beyer Speed Figure for that race, the gestures were unnecessary.
‘As good as horse racing gets’
The most impressive win in that streak, however, was the Jerkens. That gave Jackie’s Warrior his first Grade 1 score as a 3-year-old and gave Life Is Good his only defeat to date. Life Is Good would go on to win the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile by nearly six lengths — the largest victory margin in this year’s Breeders’ Cup.
Jackie’s Warrior caught, passed, and then hung on for a neck victory over Life Is Good. He earned a 107 Beyer and 119 Equibase Speed Figure for the victory.
“I thought that the Allen Jerkens against Life Is Good was as good as horse racing gets,” Asmussen told the DRF. “Unbelievably fortunate to be involved with him and very anxious to race him next year — because they don’t get any better.”