Never in Doubt: X Y Jet Wins the Smile Sprint Stakes

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

July 1st, 2018

The race was over almost as soon as the gates opened, practically before the horses had completed the 30-foot run-up to start the official timer. That’s how dominant X Y Jet was in Saturday’s Smile Sprint Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park.

Bettors seemed to think the race was over even before the start of the six-furlong sprint, sending X Y Jet to post as the clear 3-5 favorite in the wagering. That was understandable; the six-year-old gelding had won his last five starts at Gulfstream (all stakes) in impressive fashion and entered the Smile Sprint off a narrow defeat in the Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) in Dubai.

X Y Jet has a reputation for speed, speed, and more speed, so when the starting gate opened and X Y Jet came out running like an Olympic sprinter off the starting blocks, it was readily apparent that his seven rivals were in a race for second place. In the blink of an eye, X Y Jet had cleared the field through a :22.16 opening quarter-mile, and he was doing it easily while well within himself.

So, having secured such an easy lead, the only natural thing for X Y Jet to do was extend it, which he did by throwing down another quarter-mile in :22.20. Pairing up :22 1/5 quarters left everyone else in chase mode, but none could keep up as X Y Jet pulled away to a 2 ½-length advantage. For good measure, the veteran sprinter rocketed the fifth furlong in :11.94 to extend his lead even further before cruising home unchallenged and untested by 2 ¼ lengths, stopping the clock in 1:09.61.
The only drama involved the battle for the minor awards, as Reason to Soar—who crossed the wire in second place—ducked out sharply turning for home and interfered with the eventual fifth-place finisher Splash Rules. As a result, Reason to Star was disqualified and placed fifth, moving the late-running longshots Sweetontheladies and Petrov into second and third place, respectively.

Meanwhile, the two horses that stayed closest to X Y Jet early on—the well-bet duo of Classic Rock and Mo Cash—faded to finish sixth and seventh, a further indication of how testing X Y Jet’s pace was. Due to injuries in the past, X Y Jet has never before run in the Breeders’ Cup, but by virtue of his win in the Smile Sprint—along with the ample class he’s shown in the past—a run at the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) certainly looms on the horizon for this Jorge Navarro-trained star.