As one Kentucky Derby hopeful underwent surgery, another underwent surgery to his Derby futures odds after winning his stakes debut.

Messier-Next race
Flavien Prat and Messier breezed to victory as the 6/5 favorite in last Sunday’s Bob Hope Stakes at Del Mar. He’s currently second on Kentucky Derby futures boards at 20/1 despite being currently ineligible to run the 2022 Derby. (Image: Benoit Photo)

Jack Christopher, who was the 9/5 morning-line favorite before being scratched from the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, had a screw placed in a left shin, according to Blood-Horse. After Dr. Larry Bramlage performed the surgery, the racing manager for the horse’s owners – Bradley Weisbord – said Jack Christopher will resume training in 2022.

“Due to a couple [of] areas lighting up (on a bone scan), mainly the left shin, he had a procedure done on that shin and he’s going to be out for two months,” Weisbord told Blood-Horse. “So we will start him back in early 2022 at WinStar Farm and then ship him to Palm Meadows and start his campaign in South Florida.”

Weisbord works for longtime owners Jim Bakke and Gerald Isbister, who own the son of Munnings with Coolmore Stud and Peter Brant. These connections, who bought Jack Christopher for $135,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Sale, watched Jack Christopher win his first two races, including the Oct. 2 Grade 1 Champagne Stakes.

Jack Christopher still sits at 20/1 on Derby futures board

The Chad Brown trainee is the co-20/1 second favorite on Caesars at William Hill’s 2022 Derby futures board. He opened at 50/1.

Jack Christopher shares that 20/1 second-favorite status with Messier, who won the Grade 3 Bob Hope Stakes last Sunday at Del Mar. The Bob Baffert charge dismissed three other rivals by 3 ½ lengths as the 6/5 favorite.

In so doing, Messier won his stakes debut, feasting on ferocious fractions of 21.40 (quarter-mile), 43.23 (half), and 1:09.22 (three-quarters). Those were clocked by rivals Forbidden Kingdom (who finished second) and stablemate Winning Map (third). Messier sat off the pace those two set, then pounced at the eighth pole.

Derby hopeful Messier needs a barn change

Afterward, Baffert on Monday told the Daily Racing Form that Messier’s next stop is the Grade 2 Los Alamitos Futurity on Dec. 11.

An Ontario-bred son of Empire Maker, Messier was named for NHL Hall of Famer Mark Messier. He went for $470,000 at the 2020 Fasig-Tipton select yearlings showcase.

The low odds aside, because Messier is a Baffert trainee, he is currently ineligible for the Derby. He opened at 75/1. The same goes for another Derby hopeful and current futures favorite, Corniche. The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner sits at 6/1 after opening at 15/1.

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