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J C’s Pride

By Jon Forbes | 07/28/2011 04:56 PM ET
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J C’s Pride, second to eventual Sanford winner Overdriven in his debut, set a track record for five furlongs in his second start when he broke his maiden on Wednesday at Saratoga Race Course.

With the victory, J C’s Pride joins the New York Watch, which shines the spotlight on up-and-coming horses who cleared the maiden ranks at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park, and Saratoga Race Course.

In his first race, a five-furlong dash at Belmont Park on July 1, J C’s Pride opened a clear lead but could not hold off a challenge from Overdriven, who returned to take Sunday’s Grade 2 Sanford by four lengths.

Yesterday, J C’s Pride grabbed the early advantage under Jose Lezcano and never looked back, rattling off fractions of 21.87 and 44.65 and finding the finish line 3 ¼ lengths to the good of Mr. Style.

The final time of 56.54 improved the previous track record, set on August 18, 1993 by Fabulous Force, by 0.17 seconds. J C’s Pride received a Beyer Speed Figure of 101, currently the highest among all 2-year-olds so far in 2011.

“Today was beautiful,” said trainer Bobby Barbara. “It was as good as it could get. He did it easy. He did it the right way today. He [Jose Lezcano] said if he bore down on him at the eighth pole, he would have went in :55. I’m glad he didn’t.”

Barbara was quick to credit J C’s Pride, owned by Joseph Bucci, for his professionalism.

“He’s a sweetheart – he’s like an old horse,” said Barbara. “He does everything so right. He handles himself with a lot of class. He doesn’t care about anything. What I appreciated so much from his last race to this race is he has gained weight and is growing. I think he might be special. It looked like he could keep going. Jose said he galloped out big.”

J C’s Pride is a son of Henny Hughes, who as a 2-year-old won the 2007 Tremont and Grade 2 Saratoga Special and finished second in the Grade 1 Hopeful, Grade 1 Champagne, and Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Kept in sprints in his 3-year-old season, he added a pair of Grade 1 wins in the King’s Bishop and Vosburgh.

Hi Lili, J C’s Pride’s dam, is a winning daughter of the 1997 Cotillion winner Snit, who has produced three horses with black type, including 2009 Grade 3 Virginia Oaks heroine Blind Date.

J C’s Pride passed through the auction ring three times prior to his racing career, fetching $190,000 as a weanling at the 2007 Keeneland November Sale, selling for $90,000 the following September at Keeneland as a yearling, and being purchased by Bucci for $200,000 at this year’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Two-Year-Olds In Training sale at Timonium.

Horses previously featured in the New York Watch series include 2010 Champion Two-Year-Old Colt Uncle Mo; Boys At Tosconova, victorious in the Grade 1 Three Chimneys Hopeful; More Than Real, who annexed the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf; Breeders’ Futurity hero J. B.’s Thunder; To Honor and Serve, who swept the Nashua and Remsen; and multiple graded-stakes winner Winter Memories. Other graded stakes winners on the New York Watch list are Eightyfiveinafifty, Position Limit, Flashpoint, and Royal Delta.

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