LAUREL, MD. 11-01-12—Robert Cole’s Jax and Jill looks to remain unbeaten in Saturday’s $125,000 Smart Halo Stakes at Laurel Park. The 6-furlong test features eight 2-year-old fillies.
Trained by Scott Lake, Jax and Jill has gone unchallenged in four starts, winning by a combined 25-3/4 lengths in victories at Parx Racing, Timonium and a pair of state-bred stakes at Charles Town.
“She is very fast and we thought she would excel in the short races at Charles Town,” Cole said. “I don’t know how anybody is going to beat her going 5-1/2 furlongs or less. I wish this race was 5-1/2 because I would be super confident. Stretching out to 6 could be tough but she is going to the lead and we hope to hold on. Her half-mile splits are 44 (seconds) and change where everybody else in the race is around 46, so even though there is a lot of speed in the race she seems to have the dominant early speed.”
Jax and Jill is the first horse bred by Cole, who bred multiple stakes winner Rain Song, a mare he owned, to 1999 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G1) winner Yes It’s True.
Cole also owned graded stakes winning sprinter Shake You Down and Rapid Redux, who set a North American record with 22 consecutive victories.
“Rain Song was fast. There was a time Lake believed she was the fastest horse he had ever trained. Now he thinks Jax and Jill is the fastest,” added Cole. “We were offered $12,000 for Rain Song but she was so talented we decided to breed her and take advantage of the West Virginia program. There are so many easy races there throughout the years.”
Sheldon Russell has the riding assignment on Jax and Jill, who is 2-1 on the morning line.
Maryland Jockey Club handicapper Frank Carulli has tabbed Baby J as the 9-5 program favorite. The daughter of J Be K finished second in Matron Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park on Sep. 30 at this distance. The Rick Dutrow trainee was third in Schuylerville Stakes (G3) in her previous start. Erick Rodriguez picks up the mount.
Power Lady (4-1) is 2-for-2 for trainer John Servis, including a 7-3/4 length allowance score at Parx Racing last month. Regular rider John Bisono will be aboard the Discreet Cat filly.
Lighthouse Bay (5-1), Flattering Bea (10-1), Jubileebra (12-1) and Forest Diva (30-1) all come into the race off victories.
Ek Haseena (30-1) rounds out the field.