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2010 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Jackson Bend

Jackson Bend

Sire: Hear No Evil
Dam: Sexy Stockings (Tabasco Cat)
Trainer: Nick Zito
Jockey: Mike Smith

Career Record: 9-5-4-0
Graded Earnings: $230,000 (22nd)

Running style: Presser

This colt could be running in a 4 ½ furlong sprint or a mile and an eighth route and he'll still run the same way: right up front, one to three lengths off the leader.  That's a nice running style to have because it indicates that this colt is perfectly content just sitting back and tracking the early speed.  He might find himself shuffled a little further back in the early stages of the Derby, but that shouldn't be a problem.

How he got to the Derby: Jackson Bend has run three times in 2010, all in graded stakes races, and every time he's finished second.  He began the year in the Grade 3 Holy Bull, where he lost by ¾ of a length to Winslow Homer, then came back to run a distant second to Eskendereya in both the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth and the Grade 1 Wood Memorial. This colt would have been on the outside looking in if not for the defections of Eskendereya and Rule.

What has to happen for him to win: Like a lot of horses in the Derby, Jackson Bend needs to run his race on Saturday to have any chance at winning.  It's hard not to like this horse just a little bit when you realize that he's never finished worse than second in any start of his career.  Granted, the Derby will be unlike any race he's ever run, but at least we know that this horse will run hard every step of the way.  He could have easily thrown in the towel when falling far back of Eskendereya in his last two but he didn't.  Still, running his race won't be enough all on it's own, he's going to have to run the best race of his career to win.

Calvin Borel rode Jackson Bend in the Wood but he's scheduled to ride Super Saver in the Derby.  Mike Smith  will take Borel's place.

Odds: 35/1

Jackson Bend's chances would probably be a little bit better if there wasn't already an army full of speed and pressing horses in the Derby, meaning he doesn't possess a tactical advantage on many of the horses ranked above him.  He does, however, run his race time and time again, and in a Derby that has a lot of question marks outside the top few contenders that could be enough to capture a major prize. 

Key race: Take your pick

Given Jackson Bend's affinity for pressing the pace and then running 1st or 2nd in every race of his career, it seems futile to analyze one race for clues as to how this horse will perform in the Derby.  He'll likely run the Derby like he's run every race in his career, the only difference being the distance is longer and he'll have to battle more horses on the front end.  He lost by a big margin to Eskendereya in his last to efforts...but so did everybody else, and he ran a credible second in each race.