X Y Jet became the only horse in the 63-year history of the $100,000 Mr. Prospector (G3) to win the six-furlong sprint twice Saturday at Gulfstream Park. What made the accomplishment all the more special is that the 5-year-old gelding won the races two years apart.
Sidelined while recovering last year, X Y Jet shook off the rust accumulated during a 13-month layoff and posted a front-running triumph under jockey Emisael Jaramillo. Unlike his easy 9 ¼-length triumph in the 2015 Mr. Prospector, X Y Jet had to work hard while tiring in deep stretch to prevail by a half-length.
“I asked myself all the time: ‘Is he ready?’ Come on, it’s been two years, two races in two years,” said Navarro, whose gelding hadn’t seen action since finishing third in the De Francis Memorial Dash (G3) at Laurel Park in November 2016.
X Y Jet broke sharply to assume the lead along the backstretch and showed the way to his 11 rivals into the stretch after setting fractions of 22.21 (seconds) and 44.81 for the first half mile. First Growth, who captured the $110,000 Claiming Crown Express at Gulfstream Dec. 2, saved ground while chasing the pacesetter before launching a serious outside bid leaving the turn into the homestretch. X Y Jet battled back while drifting slightly in deep stretch to secure an emotional victory for his trainer.
“He made me. It’s crazy what I’m going through right now,” said Navarro, who enjoyed a six-race winning streak in 2016 that was snapped by a photo-finish second-place finish in the Golden Shaheen (G1) in Dubai.
X Y Jet ran six furlongs in 1:09/45 as the 3-2 favorite to win his eighth race in 18 starts for Rockingham Ranch and Gelfenstein Farm.
“We’ll see how he come out. If he comes out, they’re in trouble,” Navarro said. “That’s all I can say.”
The ultimate goal is a return to Dubai for the Golden Shaheen on the Dubai World Cup card March 30.
“I think there is a Florida-bred race [Jan. 20 Sunshine Millions Sprint] If I can get a month in between, you’ll see him here one more time [before the Golden Shaheen],” Navarro said.
First Growth, who was ridden by Gerardo Corrales, finished fourth lengths ahead Sonic Mule, the 7-2 second choice ridden by John Velazquez.
Catch Derby Fever with Michael Dempsey’s Road to the Kentucky Derby Package! Subscribers receive ALL of Michael’s Saturday’s Reports now until the first Saturday of May!
Included in the package is coverage of all of the major Derby preps, his Best Plays Report and his full card reports each Saturday! In addition, this package includes his Kentucky Oaks Day and Kentucky Derby Day Reports! Only $159.95!