Jack Christopher rolled to a fourth straight victory to start his career and soared to the top of at least one list for his trainer Chad Brown.
The high praise from the multiple Eclipse Award-winning trainer followed Jack Christopher taking command of the $400,000 Woody Stephens Stakes Presented by Mohegan Sun (G1) in early stretch and draw off to a 10-length score in the seven-furlong test for 3-year-olds June 11 at Belmont Park.
“This horse is an exceptional talent,” Brown said. “This is my 15th year of training and I’ve never had a dirt horse with this much pure brilliance. Like I said previously, he reminds me a lot of Ghostzapper from when I worked for Bobby Frankel. He’s just a brilliant horse that could probably run any distance.”
New distance challenges likely soon await the 3-year-old son of Munnings after he continued to overwhelm rivals Saturday. But first, there’s time to savor Saturday’s impressive score.
After breaking well from the rail under Jose Ortiz, Jack Christopher would soon be engaged by Hutcheson Stakes winner Provocateur , who lived up to his name by pressing his undefeated rival for a few strides before being aggressively sent to the lead by Luis Saez. Provocateur would complete a quarter-mile in :22.61 while Ortiz smoothly moved Jack Christopher to his rival’s outside.
Jack Christopher would press the front-runner through a half-mile in :45.38 before being asked for his best in early stretch. The son of Munnings would then flash his considerable talent as he drew off under a hand-ride into the final sixteenth and in deep stretch was saved for another day. Jack Christopher completed the seven furlongs in 1:21.18.
There was little drama late—or early for that matter—but Brown liked how Jack Christopher handled the early challenge from Provocateur.
“I felt really good when Jose slipped to the outside of the speed horse,” Brown said. “The only thing I was worried about was Provocateur potentially really hounding us the whole race; potentially softening us up from a tricky post. Once Jose got him out in the clear, I didn’t see any possible way this horse could lose.”
Earlier on the card Ortiz and Brown teamed to win the Longines Just a Game Stakes (G1T) with Peter Brant’s Regal Glory . Ortiz said having an early target worked well for the smooth Jack Christopher.
“Actually I wanted someone to run early and give us a target,” Ortiz said. “If they give him the lead, they’re in trouble; if they challenge him they’re in trouble. He’s a special horse.”
Last year’s TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (G1) runner-up Pappacap secured second-place in the Woody Stephens while Provocateur held third to earn his first graded stakes-placing. Jack Christopher paid $2.70 to win as the massive favorite.
“He ran good,” said Pappacap’s trainer Mark Casse. “The other horse was just a huge freak.”
Campaigned by Jim Bakke, Gerald Isbister, Coolmore Stud, and Brant, Jack Christopher earned his second grade 1 score—both at Belmont—as he also won last year’s Champagne Stakes. He has won his four races by a combined 25 1/4 lengths.
Brown thinks the 1 1/8-mile TVG.com Haskell Stakes (G1) July 23 at Monmouth Parkmakes sense for Jack Christopher’s next race.
“I think it’s time to try him around two turns and that track should favor trying something like that,” Brown said. “He’s a 3-year-old, it’s a key race to try to build a 3-year-old championship-type season. He’s had a couple of wins at a mile anyway. I have a lot of confidence in this horse.”
Bred in Kentucky by Castleton Lyons and Kilboy Estate, Jack Christopher is out of the placed Half Ours mare Rushin No Blushin, who has produced two winners from three starters. Rushin No Blushin, a half to grade 1 winner and sire Street Boss , also has a weanling filly by Complexity .
BSW/Crow went to $135,000 to purchase Jack Christopher at the 2020 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October Yearling sale, where he was consigned by Paramount Sales.
“(Munnings) is a sire I’ve always loved and had a lot of luck with,” said Liz Crow, of BSW/Crow. “We’ve had quite a few nice Munnings.”
Brown is thankful Jack Christopher made it to his barn.
“Everybody wants to have horses like this—a horse of a lifetime—but when you get them there’s a lot of pressure associated with it. But my team handles the pressure. I have an unbelievable staff that works with this horse. This level of horse takes a lot of talented people to work with him—work that was completed by Jose (Ortiz), who does a fabulous job getting along with this horse.”