Options Aplenty for Turf & Dirt Stakes Winner Joe’s Next Start

Options Aplenty for Turf & Dirt Stakes Winner Joe’s Next Start

Laurel Park’s Summer Meet-Leading Rider Barbosa Back in Action
Live Racing Returns to Laurel Friday to Open Father’s Day Weekend

LAUREL, MD – Several options are on the table as the connections of The Elkstone Group’s Maryland homebred Joe seek out a return spot for their 3-year-old dirt and turf stakes winner.

“We haven’t decided what’s next for him or exactly where we’re going yet,” Laurel Park-based trainer Mike Trombetta said. “We’re going to start thinking about that real soon.”

Joe has breezed once at Laurel, a half-mile move in 49 seconds June 6 over the main track, since his gutsy neck triumph over favored Ready to Purrform in the one-mile James W. Murphy May 21 on the undercard of the 147th Preakness Stakes (G1) at historic Pimlico Race Course.

It was the first race on turf for Joe since running fifth in his unveiling last fall at Laurel, and his second straight hard-fought victory after winning the 1 1/8-mile Federico Tesio on Laurel’s main track by a head over stablemate Mr Jefferson.

“It’s hard to find horses with heart like that, but when you do you’ve got to love it,” Elkstone’s Stuart Grant said. “He came out of it well and he’s doing well. He’s training and we’re looking at a couple of options for him.

“We’re fortunate. We think he’s probably a little better horse on the turf than he is on the dirt, so we’re going to look for a good mile and a sixteenth turf option,” he added. “If we can find that, great. And, if it comes off the turf, that wouldn’t be awful.”

One possibility, Grant said, is July 2 at Delaware Park when the track will host four stakes including the 1 1/8-mile Kent (G3) for 3-year-olds on turf and six-furlong Alapocas on the dirt for 3-year-olds and up.

“We think he’s found his niche running in the Mid-Atlantic. If he shows us he’s a real graded horse then we’ll think about that, but right now we’re looking at overnights, maybe Grade 3s, [and] listed stakes,” Grant said. “We’re just sort of looking to keep him where he’s competitive and grows and not get too far ahead of ourselves.”

Named for U.S. President Joe Biden, Joe owns five wins, three in stakes, and $288,324 in purse earnings from seven starts. He became a stakes winner in the Maryland Juvenile last December and was named the state’s champion 2-year-old of 2021.

Laurel Park’s Summer Meet-Leading Rider Barbosa Back in Action

After missing the start of the week following a spill at Laurel Park, where he is the leading rider in wins and purses earned at the summer meet, 18-year-old apprentice jockey Jeiron Barbosa returned to the irons Wednesday.

Barbosa was replaced on his final two mounts Sunday at Laurel after he fell from 17-1 long shot Sullivan Street leaving the far turn of Race 6. He walked to the ambulance and was taken to the hospital for precautionary X-rays.

“He was at the hospital until about 10 o’clock,” Barbosa’s agent, Tom Stift, said. “He got the release to ride and he was still sore the next day but he worked three horses for [trainer Jamie] Ness [Tuesday] morning.”

Stift said Barbosa has also been battling the flu, and took off his mounts both Monday and Tuesday at Parx. He was named on five horses there Wednesday, finishing second in each of the first two races.

“It was more of him not feeling 100 percent than being hurt from the spill,” Stift said. “He’s been sick. He got a covid test, and it came back negative. There’s a lot of pressure to get back to riding, but I told him it’s better off to ride when you’re feeling a lot better than riding at less than 100 percent.”

Laurel’s 2022 spring meet titlist, edging Maryland’s three-time overall champion Jevian Toledo by one win, Barbosa leads the summer stand with six wins, including My Mamba in Race 2 Sunday, and $175,790 in purse earnings. Six riders have four wins each at the 37-day meet, which opened June 3.

Barbosa launched his pro career Jan. 1 in his native Puerto Rico. He is named in six of nine races as live action returns to Laurel Friday, June 17.

Live Racing Returns to Laurel Friday to Open Father’s Day Weekend

Laurel Park will host a live, nine-race program Friday, June 17 to kick off a Father’s Day weekend that wraps up Sunday with three stakes worth $250,000 in purses.

First race post time is 12:40 p.m.

Four races are scheduled for Laurel’s world-class turf course drawing a total of 50 entries, an average of 12.5 starters over the Bowl Game and Exceller layouts.

Race 8 is a 5 ½-furlong turf dash for Maryland-bred/sired 3-year-olds and up that attracted an overflow field of 14 including Free Square, entered for main track only. Among the entries are Whenigettoheaven, a maiden special weight winner over elders last out May 5 at Laurel in his turf debut; 2021 Timonium Juvenile winner Cynergy’s Star; and Justwaveandsmile, a five-time winner from 14 starts including three in a row to end 2021.

Friday’s feature comes in Race 7, a maiden special weight for horses age 3, 4 and 5 sprinting six furlongs on the main track. Three of the seven horses – Sam Lords and Elvis Trujillo-trained stablemates Jahez and Qaader – are first time starters. Three others are coming off runner-up efforts – Surprise Hello and Frightland in maiden claiming spots and Covert Kat in a six-furlong maiden special weight May 21 at Monmouth Park.

Entries will be taken and post positions drawn Thursday for each of Sunday’s three Father’s Day stakes, all scheduled for the grass – the $100,000 Stormy Blues for 3-year-old fillies sprinting 5 ½ furlongs, $75,000 Find for 3-year-olds and up and $75,000 All Brandy for fillies and mares 3 and older, both going 1 1/16 miles and restricted to Maryland-bred/sired horses.