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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Brown Begins Derby Journey for Practical Joke


Practical Joke on His Toes, Brown Says

By Dick Downey

If 2-year-old form has anything to do with it, Practical Joke has to be seriously considered ahead of Saturday's Fountain of Youth Stakes.

The bay son of Into Mischief won the seven-furlong Hopeful Stakes and the one-mile Champagne Stakes last year before capping his juvenile season finishing third behind eventual 2-year-old male champion Classic Empire in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

The Chad Brown trainee has breezed seven times since Jan. 17 at Palm Meadows, most recently going a half-mile in 48 seconds on Sunday, and he's developed since last year.

“He has done really well with the time off. We just backed off him a little bit and let him grow up some,” Brown said. “He was always an outstanding looking horse, but he has gotten bigger and stronger. I’m so impressed with him. His works have been great. He’s really enjoying being down here.”

Brown said the colt's acclimation to south Florida was a major factor in choosing the Fountain of Youth as Practical Joke's sophomore starting point.

“Ultimately, I decided on the Fountain of Youth because I didn’t want to move the horse from where he is doing so well,” Brown said. “He is thriving down here and I wanted him to stay down here.”

Bred in Kentucky by Whispering Oaks, Practical Joke originally sold for $135,000 at Keeneland in January 2015. He fetched $240,000 at the Keeneland September 2015 Yearling Sale. The following year, Practical Joke debuted with a five-length victory going six furlongs last August at Saratoga before winning the Hopeful and the Champagne.

Brown said he would not be surprised to see Practical Joke laying a fairly close in the Fountain of Youth due to the layoff and his recent training. Reunited with Jose Ortiz, last aboard in the Hopeful, he will break from Post 6 in the field of 11 and rates second behind Irish War Cry on the morning line at 3-1.

“I could see him being a little sharper in this race. He’s definitely been on his toes in the morning,” Brown said. “I think he’s going to run really well. Going two turns off a layoff like this is a tall order, and I understand that. As long as he runs well, I’ll be happy to build off this. The way he is training, I would expect him to run well.”

The Fountain of Youth is the last of 13 races on a card that features eight graded stakes. First race post time is noon ET, with a 6:05 p.m. post for the Fountain of Youth.

With content from Gulfstream Park


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