03/15/2012 4:17PM

Gulfstream: Plesa has new rising star in Scatter Joy


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. has had his share of good horses over the years but none has had him any more excited than his latest star, the 3-year-old Scatter Joy, who will make his second start in a first-level optional claiming race going a mile here at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.

Scatter Joy, a gelded son of Scat Daddy, was nothing short of sensational in his debut, drawing off to an easy 7 1/2-length victory going 6 1/2 furlongs here on Feb. 19. Scatter Joy made his first start in the colors of his owner-breeder, Marion Montanari, but will start in the Trilogy Stable silks on Saturday.

“Marion sold a half-interest in Scatter Joy after her last start to David Melin, who is a longtime partner of her’s in many other horses,” said Plesa.

Scatter Joy has had two works since his debut.

“He went a mile in 1:44, and you know what that is at Calder, and a half in 47 and change with a five-furlong gallop-out in 59 and change,” said Plesa. “The rider was just sitting on him in both works. He’s coming into this race 110 percent. This is the kind of horse who needs a little more racing to be at his peak, so this race comes up perfect as far as we’re concerned.”

Plesa, who as of Thursday was four wins shy of his 1,000th career victory, returned earlier this week from the Ocala sales, where he purchased five new 2-year-olds for his stable.

“The horses we bought were moderately priced for this sale, but it’s good to have people who are buying horses like that,” said Plesa.

Scatter Joy will have his work cut out to stay unbeaten on Saturday, with his competition to include trainer Todd Pletcher’s Grade  2-placed Stat and the undefeated Bellafire.

Stat was an easy debut winner at Belmont last summer before closing out his abbreviated campaign finishing a distant second behind Union Rags in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special. He was fourth after breaking in the air as the 1-5 favorite in his 3-year-old debut here on Feb. 9.

Bellafire, like Scatter Joy, was a very impressive-looking debut winner when he launched his career at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 4 for trainer Leo Azpurua Jr.

* Sunday’s Grade 2 Honey Fox drew a field of 11 plus two main-track-only horses. The Honey Fox is scheduled to be run at one mile on the turf. Leading contenders include Heavenly Landing, La Reine Lionne, and Tapitsfly – the first three finishers in the Grade 3 Marshua’s River on Jan. 7 – as well as Romacaca, Future Generation, and Louvakhova.

* Redeemed, third in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap earlier this winter, worked six furlongs in 1:14.47 in company with stablemate Photon here before the rains came on Thursday. Redeemed posted fractions of 26.22 and 49.63 seconds while going easily throughout under regular rider Edgar Prado.