Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

Joyful Tidings: The Novel Nine

Posted by Brian Appleton on March 15, 2011

It was Premier Pegasus and Uncle Mo who stole the show over the weekend with their powerful Kentucky Derby prep wins, but one other sophomore runner turned in a performance just as impressive on Saturday. From 2008-2010 trainer Larry Jones and wife Cindy Jones have dominated the Honeybee Stakes, winning each of the three renewals with their talented fillies Eight Belles, Just Jenda and No Such Word. A few days before the 2011 running of the Honeybee Stakes Larry Jones remarked that his star 3-year-old filly Joyful Victory strongly reminded him of another extremely talented filly that he trained. That filly was the ill-fated 2008 Kentucky Derby 2nd place finisher and Honeybee Stakes winner Eight Belles. Jones does not often make bold statements like that but when he does you’d better listen. In 2007 Jones told reporters that he thought Curlin was going to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic after seeing how spectacular he looked in the paddock and he was right, Curlin romped to victory by more than 4 lengths.

After reading how he compared Joyful Victory favorably to Eight Belles I immediately set the gray filly as my win pick and once again Jones proved his word is as good as gold.

The field for the Honeybee Stakes broke cleanly from the gate and Rigoletta immediately shot to the lead with Norma’s Dream to her outside and Salty Strike settling behind in third. Grade 2 winner Dixie City was running comfortably in 4th as Joyful Victory ran another two lengths back in 5th and Holy Heavens raced second to last. The opening quarter went in :22.67 and the half in :45.91 with the positions relatively unchanged. Suddenly Joyful Victory began to move up past the half mile mark with absolutely no urging from jockey Mike Smith. She was two lengths behind Dixie City at the ½ mile mark and by the time the ¾ mile mark flew by she was almost two lengths in the lead.

Joyful Victory swept up along the outside as the field flew through the turn, seized the lead, rolled through the stretch and blazed away with ease to win by an ever-widening margin, finally crossing the wire 8 ¾ lengths the best. Holy Heavens ran the race of her life to seize the second spot after coming from far back, going 5 paths wide off the turn, re-adjusting her path down the stretch and finishing a clear second by two lengths over Dixie City.

The Jones’s have now won four consecutive Honeybee Stakes dating back to 2008 but Joyful Victory by far turned in the most impressive victory of their fabulous quartet. The Tapit filly won in a hand-ride and proved herself to be a serious Kentucky Oaks threat. Next up could be the Fantasy Stakes for the fittingly named filly. [Read the rest here on Horse Racing Nation]

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4 Responses to “Joyful Tidings: The Novel Nine”

  1. Susan said

    Brian,
    Out of your top 4, THREE of them are by Tapit!
    That was a very nice effort by Joyful Victory this weekend, and a win in the Oaks would certainly be “joyful” and so deserving for Mr. Jones.
    I wish they would do something different with the color scheme of the blinkers.
    Good job in following the “Oaks” fillies.

    • Thanks Susan,

      I know, Tapit is on fire with his fillies this year, and all greys too! It was great to see Larry Jones back at the top of the game with such a nice filly. I hope he has a fantastic year with her.

  2. Great reading Brian. I would have the top 6 in exactly the same order. I am definitely looking forward to Kathmanblu and Inglorious II in the Louisiana Oaks. Joyful Victory was really impressive, particularly because the pace was pretty hot and she was sitting relatively close to it. Larry Jones is a great trainer.

    • Thanks Andrew!

      So am I, they should both be much sharper than they were in the Rachel Alexandra. I’m especially curious to see what Inglorious does.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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