Not Your Average Joe in $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Championship

Not Your Average Joe in $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Championship

Luna Belle Wins Maryland Juvenile Fillies Championship

LAUREL, MD – The Elkstone Group LLC’s homebred Joe, a 2-year-old son of Declaration of War, drove to the front down the stretch under jockey Victor Carrasco to win Saturday’s $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Championship.

After making his debut on turf Oct. 24, Joe broke his maiden Nov. 21 at a mile on the main track at Laurel by 3 ½ lengths. Carrasco, who has ridden Joe in each of his starts and works the horse, got the seven furlongs in 1:25.63.

“We knew we was a really talented horse,” Carrasco said. “The first time Mike decided to run him on the turf because he was bred for the turf. I said, ‘Mike, I think he’s better on the turf,’ and he’s showed – he’s two for two on the dirt – he’s pretty good.”

Breaking from the No. 12 post, Joe was four wide down the backstretch while a group including Royal Spy, Coastal Mission, Local Motive and Mr. Mox set an opening quarter in :23.09 and a half in ::47.26. Five wide entering the stretch, Joe drove past Alottahope and Local Motive inside the eighth pole and to the finish line.

“After I turned for home and got him in the clear I started getting after him and he moved on,” Carrasco said.

Luna Belle Gets a Clean Trip and Maryland Juvenile Fillies Championship

Luna Belle, who found trouble in the Maryland Million Lassie and Smart Halo Stakes, got a perfect trip under jockey Denis Araujo to win the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Fillies Championship by 2 ¾ lengths over Jester Calls Nojoy. Sweet Gracie was third.

Owned by Deborah Greene and Hamilton Smith and trained by Smith, Luna Belle, a daughter of Great Notion, covered the seven furlongs in 1:25.31.

After breaking her maiden at Colonial Downs in August, Luna Belle was steadied in the Maryland Million Lassie and was wide in the Smart Halo. She had no such issues Saturday. The Elkstone Group LLC’s heavily favored Jester Calls Nojoy took the lead shortly after the start and breezed an opening quarter in :23.81 and a half in :48.05 under jockey Jevian Toledo. But Araujo moved Luna Belle toward the leader around the final turn and drove to the outside of Jester Calls Nojoy down the stretch before taking a clear lead inside the final eighth.

“She had two races there where she had a little bit of trouble,” Smith said. “I think we ran the best horse in the Maryland [Million Lassie], but she ran into trouble and got beat. But that’s part of racing. Everything went her way today and she showed what she’s worth. She’s a real smart filly. I thought she was third good and I think the further she goes, the better she’ll be.