Jesus’ Team wins the 2020 Claiming Crown Jewel at Gulfstream after finishing third in the Preakness
Jesus’ Team has battled long odds throughout his racing career, rising from the $25,000 claiming ranks to more than hold his own against Grade 1 company, but the tough-as-nails son of Tapiture has overcome no more imposing obstacles that those he has faced during the 11 months since his most recent race.
Turned out after a disappointing effort in the Alydar at Saratoga last August, Jesus’ Team would have to fight for his life after coming down with salmonella and laminitis.
“The horse had surgery and he got salmonella at the hospital. After the salmonella, he got laminitis. He lost a lot, a lot of weight. When I saw him, I almost died,” trainer Jose D’Angelo said. “He is a warrior.”
Since recovering from a series of physical afflictions, Jesus’ Team rejoined D’Angelo’s stable at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County, where he was sent to the track for his first workout in nearly a year Saturday morning.
Jesus’ Team breezed three furlongs in :37.05 for the workout that was overseen by D’Angelo’s father, Francisco.
Grupo 7C Stable’s former claimer finished third in the 2020 Preakness Stakes (G1) before finishing second behind Knicks Go in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Keeneland. After prepping with a victory in the Claiming Crown Jewel at Gulfstream, Jesus’ Team again finished second behind Knicks Go in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream.
“With all that happened, we had a hard road to bring him back,” sad D’Angelo from Saratoga, where he has a small string of horses. “We’re very happy. My father said he went easy, easy and he looked good. He wants to be back.”
Jesus’ Team, who was bred in Kentucky by Pamela P. Gartin, has a 3-5-3 record from 17 lifetime starts and $1,340,340 in purse earnings.
He sold for $30,000 to Alfamaq out of the Darby Dan Farm consignment at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. His dam is the Suave mare Golden Memories.