The Manhattan (Grade 1)- $1,000.000 Purse
BEL- For Four Year Olds and Upward
One Mile and One Quarter on the Inner Turf
June 9, 2018
The Joker spent much of last year being passed around from trainer to trainer, mostly in claiming races. Though it was in early November where Maxmillion Farm purchased him in private sales for $70.000. He was always able to find his way to be at or near the front, but it would be Maxmillion Farm who advanced his career from the claiming ranks to where he is today, a two-time graded winner. It can serve as another piece of evidence for that special talent that Maxmillion has when it comes to identifying turf stars, and then getting the most of them. In this field, he did not quite have the accolades as some of the bigger names he was up against. Now, with this victory, he can say that he does. It is his first win in the stake, and that is true for jockey E Maldonado as well. Congratulations to them! The winning time was 1:58.32, a middle of the road time in comparison to previous editions of the race. Let’s take a look at it!
(½ Mile- :46.98)- Banshee Star, from Joseph Racing is the quickest out of the gate, but is soon joined by the great Clockwork Chai from Mb Stables. Threshold’s Decibel mounts a challenge to them as well as they head into the opening turn. Ultimately, it is Clockwork Chai taking a hold of the lead, making us wonder what would be in store for him today. Levitical Order, out of Nakamura Stables would stalk those three, running on the rail, just two lengths back into the backstretch. In the heart of the pack, we had a foursome next consisting of Major Weiner (Night Rider Stables), our eventual winner, The Joker (Maxmillion Farm), Controlled Power (Spankys Barn), and Lunar Blaze (John Henry). The Joker seemed to have a nice lane here, with the potential to split Decibel and Banshee Star if Maldonado wanted to push forward. A length behind them were Taniwha (Aml Racing) and Devilish Luck (D J C Racing Stables). At the back, after a lethargic start, was Suspicious Native (Wil Mac Racing), who was soon joined by Rookaholic (TwinTowersRacing).
(3/4 Mile- 1:10.38)- Clockwork Chai is at the front still, looking sharp as he battles with Decibel on the front end. As they race side by side, they have a length advantage on third place Banshee Star. However, a horse on the move here was Lunar Blaze, who had the outside lane in the backstretch and looked to make the most of it within the turn. He was within two lengths, as was Levitical Order, who maintained his position on the rail. The Joker was battling for position with Controlled Power and trailed by two and a half lengths. Major Weiner dropped back to run with Taniwha and Devilish Luck. A gap of three then existed to the trainer, Rookaholic and Suspicious Native.
(Top OF Stretch, 1.7F To Go)- The Joker was amazing in the turn. Soon after completing the backstretch trip, he effortlessly moved over a lane, to the outside of Banshee Star, and made that pass look rather easy. As he continued to generate momentum while rounding the turn he came up the leaders quicker then expected. Reaching the top of the stretch, he was now even with the leader, Decibel. Others were moving forward as well. Devilish Luck was another who ran quite well in the turn, thanks to having the great F Pennington in the saddle. It took a sweeping, six wide move, but he was now within a length. Banshee Star was still in the third position here, but had a wall of horses immediately behind him. Controlled Power tried to move to the outside of The Joker when the winner made his big move, and remained with a length of him. Lunar Blaze tried to stay with him as well as with Devilish Luck. Meanwhile, Taniwha was looking to take the lane to the inside of The Joker. Levitical Order continued to hold his rail position. What about Clockwork Chai? He was not looking like himself here. He was still fourth at this point, but had been passed by three with others clearly having more momentum then him for the stretch run. Rookaholic was joining the rest of the pack as well. Suspicious Native had the best seat in the house to watch all this excitement.
(Finish- 1:58.32)- The Joker had several challenges to deal with, but he was up to the task. He never missed a beat in the stretch, and held on for a pretty exciting win, which is the biggest of his career to this point. He holds off a great run by Devilish Luck, who’s name might have been appropriate for his outside trip. Otherwise, he did everything right in this race, giving D J C Racing Stables another strong result at BEL. Taniwha came on well in the stretch, and maybe if this race was another furlong, it would have been his race. Still, a good third place showing. Decibel rode the rail to hold on for fourth, with Controlled Power half a length behind in fifth. Next was Banshee Star, who tried to hang tough for as long as he could. For Lunar Blaze, who rank 7th, perhaps the outside trip the whole way did him in. Speaking of wide trips, the explains Rookaholic in the stretch, who with no other options, was way out wide doing the best he could, but that would only be the 8th spot. Levitical Order lacked stretch response despite a decent start, with Major Weiner behind him. Everyone in the grandstands is scratching their heads as to how Clockwork Chai finished 11th, but don’t worry about his trainer, he did quite well in the two races that followed. Suspicious Native was outclassed but can say he finished within a length of the reigning Horse Of The Year.
About The Winner- The Joker, trained by Maxmillion Farm, and ridden to victory by E Maldonado, is a four year old gelding by Champsville, and is out of Belvedere. He was bred in California by Angelos Stable, and acquired by Maxmillion via private sales in November 2017 from Night Rider Stables, for $70.000. The win is fourth in 11 starts, three of them coming after the private sale. It is his second graded win, and his career earnings are now $915.320.
Time: :464 1:101 1:341 1:581
$2 Mutuel Prices:
$1 Exacta: 2 – 10 Paid 151.50
$1 Trifecta: 2 – 10 – 7 Paid 1,461.20
Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES