Tuesday, 12 July 2022 18:51

Spangled Jimmy win on Saturday very special for Market Analysis co-owner

Market Analysis and Rico Walcott leading in the stretch of the Spangled Jimmy Handicap on Saturday at Century Mile Market Analysis and Rico Walcott leading in the stretch of the Spangled Jimmy Handicap on Saturday at Century Mile Coady Photo/Ryan Haynes

The years rushed by when Market Analysis won this past Saturday’s power-laced Spangled Jimmy stakes at Century Mile in track record time.

“I was actually at Northlands when Spangled Jimmy, owned by Jimmy Charlesworth, won the Canadian Derby in 1957,” said co-owner Gary Kropp. “I was with my dad, who was a horse player. I was 12-years-old and hanging on the fence around the clubhouse turn. I remember it clearly. I told someone in the winner’s circle that Red McKenzie, Red Smith and myself were probably the only people left who were there that day. Now we go out and win the race named in that horse’s honour. It was pretty special,” said Kropp, 77.

Special was also the way Market Analysis tore down the stretch, splitting the front end speed set by venerable Stone Carver and Deuces Are Wild and then holding off the big late moves from Greek Geek and Parking Permit.

In the end Market Analysis won by a length and a half over Greek Geek getting the seven furlongs in 1:20.91 shattering the previous record of 1:21.35 set by Got My Mo in 2019.

“It was a nice win for us,” said Kropp, who owns Market Analysis with Rick Wiest, Clayton Wiest and Lana Wiest and who is one of a dozen horses trainer Robertino Diodoro sent to Century Mile this year from the U.S.

“I was uncertain how Market Analysis would do,” said Kropp, who was born and raised in the Gold Bar area of Edmonton. “The horses Robertino sent north hadn’t exactly blown the doors off so far. But it looks like it was a wise move to send this horse to Alberta.”

That’s for sure. It was an extremely competitive field that Market Analysis topped. Greek Geek was last year’s Horse of the Year. If the Spangled Jimmy was a tad longer he probably wins. Parking Permit is a much improved horse from the hot stable of Deanna Walper. He had won three in a row coming into the Spangled Jimmy. Resilient Stone Carver is the six furlong track record holder at Century Mile. And the race favourite, Uncharacteristic, who ran fifth, was last year’s Canadian Derby winner.

“Market Analysis a real nice horse,” said Diodoro. “He was a private purchase and he’s exceeded expectations. Since being bought last fall he’s won almost $200,000 for us.”

Easily winning his first start - a $50,000 allowance race at Arkansas’ Oaklawn Park - for his new connections after being purchased, Market Analysis came back to run second - beaten three parts of a length - and then won again taking a $100,000 allowance by three lengths.

“He’s a very honest horse who loves to train. He ran a big race in the Spangled Jimmy,” continued Diodoro. “I thought Rico (jockey Walcott) gave him a perfect ride especially since it was the first time he rode him. Rico tried to get him out earlier in the race but couldn’t so he just sat in behind and waited. He’s a big, heavy horse so it takes him a while to get going.”

With the Wiests staying in Lethbridge, Kropp said he and his wife, quietly celebrated the Spangled Jimmy victory with a glass of wine and a pizza at Boston Pizza. “In the old days there would have been a barn party going on until the wee hours.”

Diodoro said he hasn’t been overjoyed with the way his horses have performed in Alberta. But he was pleased with Market Analysis performed and in the following race first-time starter Effortless won his career debut for Alberta owner Randy Howg very impressively winning by open lengths.

“Big race from Effortless,” said Diodoro, who has now won four of his 17 starts at Century Mile. “They’re starting to come around. The horses that came from Oaklawn were tired horses.”

But he gave Market Analysis two months off and that proved to be the winning strategy. “Now we have to keep it going.”

Kropp bought his first horses after graduating from the University of Alberta. “Someone said to me ‘You spend half your time at the track anyway so why don’t you buy a horse.’ So I did. A couple of mares with Ben Zenari and Jack Little.”

Today he owns parts of 20 thoroughbreds that are trained by Diodoro including a couple of two-year-olds. “After I retired I started to get a little more active and stepped up the action.”

Kropp said there is no question which horse he has owned. “Shaky Start,” he said without hesitation. We bought her as a yearling for $4,000 and she wound up winning about $450,000. She even beat Raylene, who won the 2003 Canadian Derby.

Now Kropp is looking to win a Canadian Derby for himself like Spangled Jimmy did 65 years ago. He came close last year when Myopic, whom he owned with the Wiests, Howg and two others, finished second - by three-quarters of a length - to Uncharacteristic.

On Monday he ran Great Escape, a horse who has Derby aspirations, in Winnipeg in the Manitoba Derby Trial. However, Great Escape, who was sent away at 6-1 in last year’s $500,000 in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland, Kentucky, was no match for Prayforpeace - one of several invaders to contest the Derby Trial - running a well-beaten second.

“Gary is a true Alberta horse owner,” said Diodoro. “He’s a really good guy. Very funny. He loves the game like all of us. It would be nice to get him a Derby winner.”

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