Thursday, May 24, 2018
Sports

Jacks Lil Bigman aims to celebrate in style at Derby Lane

ST. PETERSBURG — Jacks Lil Bigman is unique, beginning with his oxymoron name.

He arrived in January with little hype. His big closing kick has brought a wow factor to Derby Lane.

"He's got two different gears: fast and faster," Lashmet kennel manager-trainer Ken Deacon said. "I've told people in a two-dog race where he doesn't get hit by anybody, I've never seen him lose. He is my top three-eighths dog. … I would put him in a match race with any dog there."

Consistency has been part of Jacks Lil Bigman's DNA. He has cashed in the money in 34 of 38 lifetime starts with top-four finishes, including wins in his past four outings. He celebrates his second birthday tonight by starting in Race 8 at 9:33.

Jacks Lil Bigman clocked a career-best time of 36.92 seconds on the 660-yard course on July 30. It is the track's second-fastest time since 2011, topped only by Abernathy kennel's Odd Grayson at 36.84 on April 12 in the Distance Classic finale.

Jacks Lil Bigman needed only eight starts to win at Grade A, 21 races to become stakes placed with a third in the $20,000 Gold Trophy Juvenile on May 17, and he won the $30,000 St. Petersburg Derby on June 28 in start No. 29. It was his first stakes crown.

"He is built like a Sherman tank, a little 72-pounder who is rock hard and you can't find a flabby spot on him," Deacon said. "He went to Grade A (on March 5) and has never dropped out of A."

John Lashmet, kennel owner and breeder from Fort Lupton, Colo., didn't have Jacks Lil Bigman rated highly when he sent the dog to Derby Lane.

"John kept telling me that Jacks Lil Bigman wasn't the best of the litter," Deacon said. "I school dogs anywhere from eight to 10 times in the morning (before their career debuts), and Jacks Lil Bigman never got beat."

His first 21 races were at 550 yards before Deacon moved him to 660.

"Every race (at 550), he was always in front of the other dogs by five or six lengths by the time he got into the escape (paddock turn)," Deacon said.

"We knew he could go longer. He runs forever, and when he gets to the far turn, that's where he kicks in another gear from the (660 starting) box to the finish line."

Eleven of Jacks Lil Bigman's 15 victories have been against stakes and Grade A foes. His five littermates — Jack's Foxydrive, Jack's Smokincat, Jack's Smokingun, Jack's Texasfire and Jack's Tigress — have combined for one Grade A win.

Jacks Lil Bigman is owned by Michael Cassidy of Highlands Ranch, Colo. The male dog is from a litter by 2007 All-America second-team member Pat C Clement and Jack's Firstlady.

"Jacks Lil Bigman hasn't reached his full potential," Deacon said. "I can guarantee you that."

MORE DOGS: Husker Magic (Abernathy kennel) had her 11-race win streak snapped Wednesday by Hi Noon Wheezy (Nova).

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