Racing’s homebred Wildman Jack will return to a familiar course and distance Sept. 25 when he takes the rail position in the $200,000 Eddie D Stakes (G2T) at Santa Anita Park.
Run at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf, the Eddie D will have Wildman Jack back in the setting of his May 23 Daytona Stakes (G3T) victory. The 4-year-old Goldencents gelding eked out a nose triumph that day, the same margin he lost by when running the same course and distance in an allowance optional claiming event last October.
One start prior to the Daytona, Wildman Jack won the Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint (G3) over six furlongs in Dubai. He trailed throughout in the Shakertown Stakes (G2T) July 11 at Keeneland and last out was fourth beaten 1 1/2 lengths after a brief lead in the stretch of the Bing Crosby Stakes (G1) on dirt at Del Mar.
Trainer Doug O’Neill has assigned jockey Abel Cedillo to ride Wildman Jack for the first time.
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Wildman Jack will face another graded stakes winner on the Southern California turf in Jay Em Ess Stable’s Mr Vargas, who makes his first start off a year-long layoff.
The 6-year-old Midshipman gelding stepped up to stakes company in August of 2019 to wire the five-furlong Green Flash Handicap (G3T) at Del Mar. He last raced in the Eddie D a year ago and faded to eighth.
Mr Vargas has put in a string of sharp breezes at Los Alamitos Race Course for trainer Brian Koriner. He worked five furlongs Sept. 6 and Sept. 13 in :58 2/5 and :59 3/5, respectively, and both times were bullets. He tuned up with four furlongs in :47 Sept. 19.
Other stakes winners in the field are Sparky Ville, winner of the 2019 San Vicente (G2) who was second to Wildman Jack in the Daytona; El Tigre Terrible, who cuts back from seven furlongs after conquering the Real Good Deal Stakes by 4 3/4 lengths against state-breds on Del Mar’s main track; and Big Runnuer, who won the Siren Lure Stakes June 21 and an allowance optional claimer May 25, both over the same course and distance as the Eddie D.
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