Joy’s Rocket Fires in Skipat Stakes
The Hanley and Parkland Thoroughbreds’ team Joy’s Rocket winless in her previous eight starts which included four second-place finishes, looked like a winner throughout the history Pimlico Racecourse May 21 in a dominating 4 1/4 length triumph in all six stages of the $100,000 Skipat Stakes
Joy’s Rocket broke up the run and was quickly joined up front by the 2-1 favorite Cilla as they ran a quarter mile in: 22.57 with the Maryland Stakes winner time limit positioned on the outside in third. Time Limit moved into second place after a half in :45.06 and was threatening a threat approaching the stretch when Joy’s Rocket began clearing steadily under a carousel to win in 1:09.76 on a fast main track.
“I was happy to see her walk away from the gate so cleanly today. She ran well all year. We got back to the pace she showed when she was 2 and winning races “said coach Steve Asmussen. “She’s been racing well. But it put her back in the winner’s circle. And I thought the break and the first quarter mile was key. When she got off to a good start, I thought it gave her a really good chance to win and she turned out to be the best.”
Daughter of Spirit made a late move on the outside to get up for second, 1 1/2 lengths ahead time limit . Cinabunny Cilla, Oxana, dia of glory and street lute an eight-time staking winner who is making her second start of the year, completed the order of finish.
“She did really well and showed me some speed,” said jockey Joel Rosario. “That’s what I thought before the race. She showed amazing speed and was able to keep going. She ran a big race today.”
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Joy’s Rocket hadn’t won since winning the 2020 Letellier Memorial Stakes in December at Exhibition for his third stakes win in five starts. With the result, Asmussen now has five wins, seven seconds and three thirds in 19 starts at Pimlico in 2021-22, according to Equibase statistics.
No Average “Joe” Makes $100,000 James W. Murphy
The Maryland Breeding of the Elkstone Group Jo a multi-stakes winner on the dirt, made the transition to grass with a hard-fought win over the favorite Loan to Purrform in James W. Murphy’s $100,000 one-mile grass test.
Regular rider Victor Carrasco ranked Joe sixth along the inside rail of Crabs N Beer as an uncaptured spirit and Epic Luck 30-1 dueling long shot up front by 22.85 splits and 45.85 seconds, with Local Motive and Ready to Purrform – the two previous winners of the stakes in Maryland – leading the second flight.
Advancing strongly and still with plenty of horsepower, Carrasco maintained his inside position until halfway through the far corner when he tipped to separate Uncaptured Spirit and Ready to Purrform and straightened up to head home with a narrow lead. . Ready to Purrform pulled away on the outside and both horses raced down the stretch with Joe clearing late.
Crabs N Beer finished third, 2 1/4 lengths behind second, followed by Uncaptured Spirit, Determined Kingdom, Shake Em Loose, Local Motive and Epic Luck. The winning time was 1:35.26 on a firm course.
Joe – named after Grant’s friend US President Joe Biden – was named Maryland Men’s 2-Year-Old Champion for 2021 after smashing his young daughter and winning Maryland Juvenile in mid-December at Laurel Park . This year he won his two-round debut in an optional 1 1/16 mile claim allowance on January 23 and finished second to Shake Em Loose in the private conditions before his win at Tesio.
It was Murphy’s first victory for Carrasco. Trombetta had already won the Murphy in 2016 with Marengo Road.
The James W. Murphy honors the late trainer who won nearly 1,400 races and more than 50 appearances and $24 million in purses beginning in 1965. He was named MTHA’s Trainer of the Year in 2006, three years before his death at age 82. .
$100,000 James W. Murphy Quotes
Stuart Grant, Elkstone Group winning owner Joe: “It’s so exciting. It’s really because it’s the second race in a row he’s been heading into the stretch and he’s still fighting back. That’s all just awesome when he does that. He just doesn’t know how to give up. [trainer] Mike [Trombetta] pushed for it and I said, “Mike, this horse will make you either a genius or a model.” Mike said he’s a grass horse, and he was right. He ran his first grass race, but it was too short, and it was the only time he wasn’t on the board.”
“It bears the name of our president [Joe Biden], which is really cool. There’s a horse named VP Joe from about 10 years ago that didn’t have the success that Joe did. I’m glad they both reached a new level. I know the president knows about the horse. We will continue to send him the winning photos. He just has to keep running the country.”
Winning coach Michael Trombetta, Joe: “He digs, he fights. He did that in the Tesio. He got beaten and he came back. He keeps reaching. It’s great. [Elkstone Group’s] Stuart [Grant] is a big supporter of Maryland. For him, winning a bet on Preakness Day is good.
(Passing by Preakness): “We had a plan. We wanted to pick our spots and try to let this horse develop into what we hope will be a good horse.
“To have one that will do both [dirt and turf] is fantastic. I will do many grass races hoping for rain.”
Winning jockey Victor Carrasco, Joe: “He’s been nothing but brilliant with me. He’s always been very professional from day one, and he’s a fighter. He didn’t give up, he fought until ‘over and did it.
“He’s better. Today is loud and crowded, but he was very professional. I tried to silence him because of the heat, but he was just a pro.”
(On his win with a Maryland): “That’s great. I told Mike [Trombetta] how special it is to embrace this and days like this. A lot of great riders are coming today, and it’s great to get a win. I feel blessed.
“The whole crew, the Ortiz brothers and Joel Rosario, congratulated me after the race. It’s great to have the support of guys like that. With this horse, I received so many positive messages and all the Everyone here couldn’t wait to see him race. He’s a very special horse for me.”