Powering down the stretch like a horse with a classic future, Runnymede-bred Jaycito passed all but one of ten rivals to gain runner-up honors in the $250,000 Del Mar Futurity (G1) on September 8.
His performance, in only his second career start, marked the colt by Victory Gallop as one of America’s best two-year-olds to date.
The race also gave Runnymede its second Grade/Group 1 runner-up from the 19 yearlings the farm sold at the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale. Laughing Lashes, already a Group 2 stakes winner and one of the top juvenile fillies in Ireland, finished second in the Moyglare Stud Stakes (G1) at the Curragh on August 29.
Jaycito showed he could overcome all kinds of adversity in the seven-furlong Futurity. He broke slowly, fell behind by 15 lengths when last in the early going and then was fanned wide entering the stretch. Undaunted, he responded to jockey Martin Garcia’s urging, made up about eight lengths in the stretch and galloped out strongly.
Garcia, the rider of leading three-year-old and classic winner Lookin At Lucky, was ecstatic with Jaycito’s effort even though the more seasoned J P’s Gusto won the race in 1:22.95 on the Polytrack.
“Today I wasn't (on) the best horse, but he might be the best horse,” Garcia declared. “Wait until the distance (races) come. Then look out.”
Mike Mitchell, who trains Jaycito for Zayat Stables, said unabashedly before the colt’s first race—a six-furlong maiden special weight event at Del Mar in which he was second after setting most of the pace following a slow start—that he loved the colt. When the trainers who work for Ahmed Zayat, the stable owner, were given the chance to select various young horses to condition, Mitchell said he made it clear he wanted Jaycito.
Ever since he was foaled on January 29, 2008, Jaycito has been a striking individual with clear potential, said Runnymede Vice President and General Manager Martin O’Dowd.
“Physically, he was always a beautiful, well conformed colt,” O’Dowd said. “As a yearling, he responded really well to our sales prep and matured. He was by far the most outstanding member of our consignment last year physically.”
Runnymede Chairman Catesby W. Clay, who co-bred Jaycito, also thought highly of the colt.
“Mr. Clay and I were delighted that Ahmed Zayat bought him because we knew he would be given every chance to succeed,” O’Dowd said.
Jaycito was produced by Runnymede’s mare Night Edition, a daughter of Ascot Knight. Runnymede has had great success with broodmares by Ascot Knight, including High in the Park, from which the farm bred Metropolitan Handicap (G1) winner Divine Park, and Ascot Starre, who produced Illinois Derby (G2) winner Greeley’s Galaxy for Runnymede.
A sound and successful racemare who started 32 times and won or placed on 15 occasions while earning $274,014, Night Edition was acquired by Runnymede at the 2004 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.
“Mr. Clay found her in the catalog and asked me to go and look at her. She was an attractive mare and we bought her,” O’Dowd recalled. “We decided to breed her to Victory Gallop in 2007, even though he was not exactly commercial at the time, because he was genetically and physically a good match for her.”
Although his career is just beginning, Jaycito is giving every indication the match might prove to be exceptional.