St. George Stable’s Jala Jala (MEX), a star at Mexico City’s Hipodromo de las Americas, where she has 11 wins, four seconds and four thirds in 21 starts, will shoot for her first graded stakes victory in the U.S. on Friday when she goes postward in the 25th running of the $100,000 Hilliard Lyons-Baird Doubledogdare (G3) going 1 1/16 miles.
“She has run some good races in the (Confraternity) Caribbean Cup (at Gulfstream Park), and we decided to try (other stakes at) Gulfstream,” said trainer Fausto Gutierrez after Jala Jala returned to the Keeneland stakes barn following a Wednesday morning gallop on the main track. “She flew up (to Gulfstream) with Kukulkan (MEX) for the Pegasus World Cup (G1).”
Named Mexico’s Horse of the Year for 2017, Jala Jala dominated horses from the Caribbean by winning Caribbean Cup races at Gulfstream by nine lengths in December 2017 and by 4½ lengths last December.
The 5-year-old daughter of the Grade 3-winning Point Given stallion Point Determined remained at Gulfstream, where she was second in the 1-mile Royal Delta (G3) and fifth in the 7-furlong Inside Information (G2).
“She ran a good race in the Royal Delta, and her race in the Inside Information was creditable,” Gutierrez said. “I looked at this race for the past few years and looked at the past performances (for this year) and the race did not look that tough. We’ll see.”
Luis Saez will have the mount Friday on Jala Jala, who worked a half-mile at Palm Meadows Training Center in South Florida last Friday before shipping here Tuesday.
Jala Jala will represent the second Keeneland starter for Gutierrez.
“I am came here in 2017 with a claimer,” Gutierrez said of Grosco (MEX), who finished fifth in a $10,000 claiming race. “I have come here to buy yearlings for several years and to race here is a dream.”