Bob's Edge winning the (G3) Whitmore stakes

Photo credit: Coady Photography

By Robert Yates


HOT SPRINGS, AR (Friday, April 15, 2022) – Jackie’s Warrior, an Eclipse Award winner as the country’s champion male sprinter of 2021, is scheduled to make his 4-year-old debut in Saturday’s $500,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) for older horses at 6 furlongs.

Probable post time for the Count Fleet, which goes as the 11th of 12 races, is 5:42 p.m. (Central). First post Saturday is 12:10 p.m. Weather permitting, the infield will be open. There was a 90 percent chance of thunderstorms Friday night in Hot Springs and a 100 percent chance of thunderstorms Saturday morning, according to

Jackie’s Warrior, who was assigned top weight of 123 pounds, hasn’t started since finishing sixth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) Nov. 6 at Del Mar. A three-time Grade 1 winner, Jackie’s Warrior underwent surgery to remove a bone chip from a knee following the Breeders’ Cup and returned to the work tab Feb. 27 at Fair Grounds. Jackie’s Warrior has six subsequent published workouts leading up to the Count Fleet, the last two coming at Oaklawn. The first was an eye-catching 5-furlong bullet move April 3 (:59.40). Clockers caught the speedy son of Maclean’s Music in splits of :22.20 for his opening quarter, :34 for 3 furlongs and :46.40 for a half-mile.

“Very rare to get to run the Eclipse champion another year,” Asmussen, an 11-time Oaklawn training champion, said Friday morning. Very grateful for that. Expecting him to run well.”
Owned by Kirk and Judy Robison, Jackie’s Warrior has won 8 of 12 starts overall and earned $1,553,964. Asmussen began targeting one-turn races for Jackie’s Warrior after he finished third behind Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old male Essential Quality in his 3-year-old debut, the $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) at 1 1/16 miles in February 2021 at Oaklawn. Jackie’s Warrior returned to win the $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial Stakes (G1) Aug. 1 at Saratoga and the $300,000 Gallant Bob Stakes (G2) Sept. 25 at Parx.

Asmussen has won the Count Fleet a record-tying three times, including 2019 with Mitole, who also captured the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) en route to an Eclipse Award as the country’s champion male sprinter.

Late-running Bob’s Edge (121 pounds) is the top locally based older male sprinter after winning the $150,000 King Cotton Stakes Jan. 29 and the $200,000 Whitmore Stakes (G3) March 19 for trainer Larry Jones.

“Bob’s doing well, but I don’t know if he’s well enough for Jackie’s Warrior,” Jones said Friday morning. “When you’re going against the best, I mean, they gave him that Eclipse Award for a reason. But it’s going to be a job we’ve just got to tackle and don’t know if the muddy track’s going to be playing to a closer’s favor. It just kind of depends on how that goes, but we’ll see what happens. There’s a little speed in there to hopefully stay close to Jackie and at least make him run.”

The projected six-horse Count Fleet field from the rail out: Mojo Man, Ricardo Santana Jr. to ride, 116 pounds, 8-1 on the morning line; Chipofftheoldblock, Jon Court, 115, 8-1; Letsgetlucky, Martin Garcia, 115, 6-1; Empire of Gold, Richard Eramia, 116, 6-1; Jackie’s Warrior, Joel Rosario, 123, 6-5; and Bob’s Edge, Luis Quinonez, 121, 2-1.

Jackie’s Warrior will be racing on Lasix for the first time in his career Saturday.

Empire of Gold ran fourth in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) and third in last year’s Count Fleet (G3) for co-owner/trainer Terry Eoff. Empire of Gold hasn’t started since an Oct. 20 allowance victory at Remington Park. The 5-year-old has been breezing at Sam Houston in advance of the Count Fleet.

“We like him,” Eoff said Friday morning. “We wouldn’t have come over here unless we thought he was going to be a contender. We’re going to take a shot and see. Kind of started him out here last year, same thing, long layoff and he runs good off of the layoff, so he’ll be all right.”

Empire of Gold made his 2021 debut in the Count Fleet and was beaten only 3 ½ lengths by C Z Rocket. Reigning Eclipse Award winner Whitmore (male sprinter) finished second. Whitmore and C Z Rocket were 1-2, respectively, in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). Empire of Gold was beaten 4 ¼ lengths in that race.

Eoff said he had the 2022 Count Fleet circled for months.

“We didn’t want to run him until then,” Eoff said. “Just wait and start here.”

Empire of Gold has been on or near the early lead throughout his career, but Eoff said he’s unsure how Saturday’s race will unfold tactically.

“Depends on the weather,” Eoff said. “We’ve kind of got to wait and see what happens tomorrow. I know we’re supposed to get quite a bit of rain tonight and they’re saying in the morning, too.”

The consistent Letsgetlucky – first, second or third in all nine career starts – will be racing outside California for the first time for trainer Brian Koriner.

Mojo Man and Chipofftheoldblock were allowance winners earlier in the 2021-2022 Oaklawn meeting.