01/12/2011 1:00PM

Joanie's Cash tunes up for Sunshine Millions Distaff


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Trainer Barry Rose is pointing Joanie’s Catch for the Sunshine Millions Distaff at Santa Anita on Jan. 29. She will prep for that assignment Friday at Gulfstream Park as a key contender in a talent-rich field of eight fillies and mares entered in the ninth race, a fourth-level optional $100,000 claimer at one mile.

Joanie’s Catch ran 17 times at 3, winning twice while hitting the board 10 times, including four consecutive occasions in graded stakes races here last winter. She ran in two Grade 1 races last season ,including the Kentucky Oaks, and registered her most important victory when she upset Elmer Heubeck Distaff Handicap at Calder.

Joanie’s Catch has already started once in 2011, finishing second and posting a career-best 92 Beyer Speed Figure in the Grade 3 Stage Door Betty Handicap at Calder on New Year’s Day.

“With all the stuff going on at Calder with the racetrack, I didn’t want to work her there or ship her back and forth from Gulfstream to work so this race will serve that purpose,” said Rose. “She’s in there to win and I expect she’ll run well. If she looks like she needs a little rest after this race, we’ll skip California. There are a couple of nice horses in the field and being an open race, might actually be as tough as the Sunshine Millions.”

Perhaps the most noteworthy name among the eight prospective starters is Sassy Image, who was a multiple graded stakes winner at 2 and a stakes winner here last winter to kick off her 3-year-old campaign. She has not started since finishing far back in the Grade 2 Davona Dale 11 months ago.

Happy Week captured three of her last four starts at 3 for trainer Todd Pletcher, including a slightly lower priced optional claimer going a mile out of the chute at Churchill Downs over a wet track on Nov. 24.

Catch a Thief has won 4 of 7 career starts, capping off her 3-year-old campaign by winning Laurel’s restricted one-mile Twixt Stakes.

Trainer Marty Wolfson has entered the uncoupled entry of Omega Cat and Jehan. Omega Cat takes a class drop off a steady diet of stakes competition on the grass. Jehan also last raced on turf, finishing a tiring fourth after prompting the early pace in the five-furlong Lightning City at Tampa Bay Downs .