EL PASO, Texas - Jackie's Warrior, the 4-year-old colt, came in first place by a gap of 4 horse lengths in the Grade 1 Churchill Downs Stakes this Saturday. The horse is owned by El Paso locals, Judy and Kirk Robison, who own more than 40 Peter Piper Pizza restaurants and almost 40 Burger King chains, according to their biography on America's Best Racing site found here.
It was in the 1990s when the Robisons began racing, and their horses have come first in 557 races, amounting to a whopping $21,142,019 in rewards. But this year, Jackie's Warrior has been one of their big winners- receiving $1,250,000 in the two races he's participated in. The largest purse is his most recent win at Churchill Downs.
Kirk and his trainer bought Jackie's Warrior as a yearling at a Kentucky horse auction in September of 2019. Buying a horse is like a mystery Kirk explained.
"When you buy a yearling, it's like looking at a 2nd grader or a 3rd grader, and predicting which one is going to have a Ph.D. or is going to be a major league athlete. You just don't know, and that's what a younger horse is. They have a pedigree, they have a family, they have a look that you can look, at but you never know how they are going to run- never. So when they run like this guy, he's the best I've ever had," Robison admitted.
Normally when you buy a horse at auction, they are nameless, so the owners can give them a new name. That was not the case with Jackie's Warrior. A member of the family who raised him had cancer, so they named him 'Jackie's Warrior'. She is now a cancer survivor. Judy and Kirk could've changed the name once they purchased the horse, but decided not to, because of the story of the name.
Jackie's Warrior trained to become a racehorse in Laredo until he was two years old. Then he was put in his first race at the Churchill Downs.
"He went to Churchill downs and won his first race. So we knew right away he was a pretty good horse, didn't know how good, but that's the history. Now he's gone on and won 4 grade 1s, which is the highest level of racing, and now he's won 10 times in 13 starts," Robison said.
His jockey is Joel Rosario, who is a veteran jockey of 15-20 years. Jackie's trainer is Steve Asmussen who is also very experienced.