Looking to extend J P’s Gusto’s winning streak to five in a row, trainer David Hofman’s sends him to the starting gate Saturday as the 7-5 morning-line favorite of the $250,000 Norfolk Stakes (G1) at Hollywood Park.
In his last outing, J P’s Gusto posted an impressive 4 ½ - length victory over runner-up Jaycito in the Del Mar Futurity (G1).
J P’s Gusto has never run in a route race but I believe he has the speed and stamina to handle the extra distance. His sire, Successful Appeal, sired Appealing Zophie, winner of the 8 ½ - furlong Silverbulletday Stakes (G3), Dawn After Dawn, winner of the 9-furlong La Cañada Stakes (G2) and Closing Argument, second-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby (G1).
Successful Appeal’s 2-year-old runners have nine wins 20 starts for 45 percent. A sharp six-furlong work out at Hollywood on September 26 and it appears that J P’s Gusto may be ready to run another good race.
J P’s Gusto is a descendant of the Man O' War sire line and since 1990 there have been three horses from that line to win the Norfolk Stakes: Buck Trout (1998), Future Quest (1995) and Bertrando (1991).
Jaycito is also entered in the Norfolk as the 3-1 morning line third-choice for trainer Mike Mitchell and starts from post seven.
In the Del Mar Futurity, Jaycito moved from last place in an eleven-horse field to ninth going into the stretch but closed ground nicely to finish second. He gets a jockey switch to Mike Smith and if he can stay closer to the pace, Jaycito could be a factor in the Norfolk.
I also really like his pedigree. His sire, Victory Gallop, won the Rebel Stakes (G2) and Arkansas Derby (G1) en route to a win in the 1998 Belmont Stakes (G1) and his grandsire, Cryptoclearance, ran second to Bet Twice in the Belmont Stakes (G1). His damsire, Ascot Knight, competed in numerous 10-furlong races in England and won the 10-furlong Mecca Bookmakers’ Scottish Derby by five lengths.
Jaycito is a descendant of the Mr. Prospector sire line and since 1990 there have been five horses from that line to win the Norfolk: Lookin at Lucky (2009), Street Hero (2008), Roman Ruler (2004), Souvenir Copy (1997) and Supremo (1994).
Boxeur Des Rues comes into the Norfolk off of a mile maiden stakes win at Kempton Park, England and he is one of the best bred horses in the field. If he lives up to his breeding, Boxeur Des Rues could pull off the upset at a nice price.
Boxeur Des Rues is also a descendant of the Mr. Prospector sire line and his sire, Smart Strike, sired such notable runners as Curlin, Lookin At Lucky, Soaring Free and English Channel to name just a few.
His damsire is the Prix du Jockey Club winner Caerleon who sired such notables as Generous (Epsom and Irish Derby), Grape Tree Road (Grand Prix de Paris), Marienbard (Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe) and Moonax (English St. Leger).
Lucky Mr. K has been running in California-bred stakes races and steps up into graded-stakes races for the first time. In his last outing, he finished third in the I’m Smokin Stakes – beaten by only a half length.
Benchmark’s 2-year-old runners have 8 wins in 16 starts for 50 percent.
Lucky Mr. K has been working out good at Hollywood Park and on September 25, he posted a better work than Jaycito. A jockey switch to Joseph Talamo could help Lucky Mr. K to be a factor in the Norfolk.