01/30/2016 3:05PM

J R's Holiday scores upset in Kitten's Joy

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Barbara D. Livingston
J R's Holiday, with Emisael Jaramillo aboard, wins the Kitten's Joy Stakes by three-quarters of a length Saturday.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – When the big boys ship south for the winter, well, the year-round Gulfstream stables tend to get short shrift with bettors.

But up jumps the occasional big-priced winner for a local trainer such as Jose Garoffalo, who said he wasn’t cowed by the fact that J R’s Holiday was the longest shot on the board Saturday in the $100,000 Kitten’s Joy Stakes.

“I always had a good concept with this horse,” Garoffalo said after J R’s Holiday, ridden by Emisael Jaramillo, drove to a 19-1 triumph in the 19th Kitten’s Joy on the turf. “I thought he could beat these horses.”

Last of six 3-year-olds for much of the one-mile journey, J R’s Holiday suddenly flew up the rail, prevailing by three-quarters of a length over the front-running Don’t Be So Salty. A stewards’ inquiry and an objection ultimately found Don’t Be So Salty guilty of stretch interference, and he was lowered to fourth, with Azar placed second and Little Mo third.

J R’s Holiday, a Kentucky-bred colt by Harlan’s Holiday, returned $40.80 for his first stakes win after finishing in 1:35.20 over a course rated “good.” He is owned by JR Racing LLC and was coming off a first-level allowance victory Dec. 13 over the Gulfstream turf.

Jaramillo, said Garoffalo, “did a very good job. He kept the horse inside and saved him. We are very happy.”

The two favorites brought up the rear, with Life Imitates Art finishing fifth at 9-5 for Chad Brown and Conquest Daddyo never contending when finishing last at 7-5 for Mark Casse.

The Grade 3 Palm Beach on the Feb. 27 Fountain of Youth undercard is the next stakes in the 3-year-old turf category at Gulfstream.

The $2 exacta (2-4) paid $236.40, the $1 trifecta (2-4-5) returned $799.70, and the 10-cent superfecta (2-4-5-3) was worth $170.34.

Ken Ramsey, the owner of the champion racehorse and sire for whom the Kitten’s Joy is named, was on hand to present the winner’s trophy.