Unless something drastically changes in the next 24 hours, Minnesota-bred 3-year-old Mr. Jagermeister will be entered to race in the Grade 2 $200,000 San Vicente Stakes at 7 furlongs, trainer Valorie Lund indicated on Monday. Graded stakes appearances for horses foaled in Minnesota are rarified air.
“I’m going to go ahead and enter Wednesday and ship [to Santa Anita from Turf Paradise in Phoenix] Thursday,” Lund said.
Mr. Jagermeister has won two of four starts during his 2-year-old campaign including the Northern Lights Futurity. He also finished second twice in other stakes, most notably a battle at Canterbury in the Shakopee Juvenile with Amy’s Challenge.
Last Saturday Lund was still considering options but was heavily leaning toward the San Vicente pending a satisfactory workout the following day.
“I looked at three different spots at three different tracks at three different distances, all for different reasons,” she said. “He is ready to race now.”
Mr. Jagermeister worked six furlongs at Turf Paradise, in a reported 1:10.40, breaking off behind two other workers and gaining on them to hit the wire together according to Lund. The move was more than satisfactory and the decision was made to go to California.
“It was an awesome work. He worked very, very fast. He looks good. He cleaned up good.”
Normally Lund might wait and ship the day before but wants to arrive a day earlier and get Mr. Jagermeister over the track and school him in the paddock.
It is likely that Geovanni Franco will ride. Lund has familiarity with Franco from his time at Canterbury and Phoenix. He is now based in Southern California.
“[Franco] is very good at being patient,” Lund said. That trait may be useful as many of the 10 nominees to the San Vicente have early speed.
One that showed impressive speed is Ax Man from the Bob Baffert barn who romped on Jan. 1 in his first start. The nine-length win came in a race with the new restricted maiden conditions introduced recently at Santa Anita.
The last Minnesota-bred to win a graded stakes race was Wally’s Choice in November 2004 when he captured the Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby.
Lund, who guided Mr. Jagermeister’s sire Atta Boy Roy through a successful career that included a graded stakes win, is realistic about Saturday’s level of competition but confident in her colt’s ability.
“Tough spot? Yes it is,” she said. “He has some sharp works and big gallops. I am not worried about his air.”
Entries for the Saturday program will be taken Wednesday morning at Santa Anita.