Keeps Record Perfect
By Dick Downey
Connections quotes by Jennie Rees
Photo by Reed Palmer
The $390,600 Kentucky Downs Juvenile was won by Bloom Racing Stable's Henley's Joy, extending a year of success for the owner of prominent 3-year-old filly Midnight Bisou.
Sitting comfortably for Tyler Gaffalione near the rail in fifth place on the run up the backstretch and about four lengths back around the sweeping turn, Henley's Joy cut the corner into the stretch to get into contention. He appeared to get the lead between calls, but an eighth of a mile from home he was inside on the rail behind Tracksmith and Adam Beschizza. Henley's Joy re-broke and in a gritty performance prevailed by a head.
The filly Drajic finished four lengths back of Tracksmith in third, followed by Jia's Solitude, Best You Ever Seen, Pole Setter, Mr Zydeco, All American Hero, Good Good, Pradar and Coral Legacy.
A son of Kitten's Joy bred by Kenneth L. Ramsey and Sarah K. Ramsey, Henley's Joy is out of Blue Grass Music, by Bluegrass Cat. Jeff Bloom bought the colt at the April 2018 OBS 2-year-olds in training sale for $50,000.
The win sent Henley's Joy's record to two wins from two starts. He broke his maiden at Ellis Park on July 21 going today's distance of one mile. He was timed in 1:43.33 on firm turf in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile while sporting blinkers for the first time.
The win was the second of the day for trainer Mike Maker and Gaffalione, who also teamed up to take the third race on the card. Bloom won the Kentucky Downs Juvenile for the second straight year after taking it last year with Snapper Sinclair.
Henley's Joy was sent off as the 9-5 favorite and returned backers $5.60 to win, $3.60 to place and $2.60 to show.
Tyler Gaffalione, winning jockey: “What a professional race he put in today. All the credit goes to Mike and his team having him ready for this race. He broke alertly. I think it was the addition of blinkers that put him more forwardly placed. When I asked him for run, he moved up a tight spot on the rail and fought on hard. He could be anything. He’s really special. I’m looking forward to getting on him again.”
Winning owner Jeff Bloom, president of Bloom Racing (which owns Henley's Joy and also won stakes last year with the Steve Asmussen-trained Snapper Sinclair): “I was anxious the whole way down the stretch, but Mike had this horse just primed and ready and he showed what he’s made of. It doesn’t get old, I’ll tell you that much. I love this race.
(When it was suggested he seemed calmer than last year) “That’s the Maker’s Mark, I think, tempering everything. I was smart and made sure I had calmed the nervous a little bit. So relatively calm? I don’t think so. And I think I actually ran a little bit farther down the stretch this year than I did last year. So I think I should get some credit for that, I think.
“We’ve been really high on this horse from the get-go. We’ve been really high on this horse from the get-go, and Mike has always maintained that this is a nice horse. Obviously for this horse to do what he did first time out, then to come back off just this one start, Mike has done just a remarkable job with him and we have high expectations for him.”
Mike Maker (on adding blinkers): “He was very green in his finish.We tried them on one morning and he was very professional and into the bridle. We thought it was a no brainer. I don’t think he’d have liked being in that tight without the blinkers on. I don’t think he likes it that tight with blinkers on. But he’s such a nice horse he overcame it.”
What might be next? “Obviously he’s here in Kentucky so we’ll look at Keeneland and the Breeders’ Cup.”
Adam Beschizza (second on Tracksmith): “He ran big. He got a little tired there the last 50 yards. They are two very nice 2-year-olds. You take those two any day of the week and they’ll run to a good standard. I said to Joe after he won at Ellis, that I think he’s smart and maybe to have this race in mind. He did and it nearly paid off. He just got a little bit tired here. It’s a little bit of the unknown coming here. You have to have all boxes checked. But he’s pretty smart, and there will be some nice races for him.”