Trainer Jack Mobberley had a slightly muddled view of the Walter Haight Handicap until the rain cleared his line of vision and helped Jet Stream splash to an easy victory yesterday at Laurel.
A sloppy track brought the withdrawal of Silano, the highweight, and Due North from the $54,150 race, reducing the field to five and removing significant speed as well. With that, Mobberley and jockey Mario Pino decided to send Jet Stream from the outside, and he controlled the race on the way to a five-length victory over Learned Jake.
"While Jet Stream was setting a leisurely pace through the clubhouse turn, Learned Jake was last and being restrained by Joe Rocco. For almost a quarter-mile Rocco slowed his mount to avoid running up on horses.
"I was in tight," Rocco said. "They were going slow."
By the time Learned Jake (8-5) found room to maneuver through the backstretch, favored Jet Stream (13-10) had a 2 1/2-length lead after a slow half-mile of 48 3/5 seconds.
Learned Jake advanced almost within a length of Jet Stream leaving the backstretch and made another offering as they swung into the stretch, where Jet Stream began to pull away. Pino tucked his whip away with a sixteenth-mile left, and Jet Stream finished 1 1/8 miles in 1:50 1/5 for his second victory of the year.
The small field was well-extended as Jet Stream reached the wire. Last-place Macau was nearly 30 lengths behind the winner, and each horse was separated by four lengths or more.
Learned Jake, whose only stakes victory this year came on turf, easily held second over Midas. There was a large gap to Halo Hansom and Macau.
With his eighth career win, 4-year-old Jet Stream has earned more than $310,000 for Mobberley and his wife, Gretchen, who bred him at their old farm in West Friendship, Md.
"He's a thrill to have," Jack Mobberley said. "When they belong to you, it's nice because you can do whatever you know is right for the horse. You don't have any owner pushing you to do something against your better judgment."
Jet Stream paid $4.60 to win and led an exacta worth $9, smallest of the day.
The race is named for the Post's late racing writer, Walter Haight.