04/04/2010 11:00PM

Joanie's Catch still on target


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - It may not be the most well-traveled route to the Kentucky Oaks, using a seven-furlong statebred stakes at Tampa Bay Downs as a final prep, but that's the road trainer Barry Rose chose to take with his multiple graded stakes-placed Joanie's Catch to get her to the big dance for 3-year-old fillies on April 30 at Churchill Downs.

Joanie's Catch finished third, beaten four lengths, in Saturday's Sophomore Fillies at Tampa. It was the fifth time in as many starts that Joanie's Catch has been stakes-placed at 3, the first four of those efforts coming in graded races earlier at Gulfstream Park.

"The Kentucky Oaks has been our target and our intention with her all along, and if everything is 100 percent over the next couple of weeks, she'll be there," said Rose, who trains the homebred Joanie's Catch for the Rose Family Stable.

Joanie's Catch didn't miss a dance this winter at Gulfstream Park, finishing second in the Grade 3 Old Hat at six furlongs, second behind runaway winner Bickersons going seven furlongs in the Grade 2 Forward Gal, second to Amen Hallelujah in the Grade 2, one-mile Davona Dale, and third behind Devil May Care and Amen Hallelujah at 1 1/8 miles in the Grade 2 Bonnie Miss. She was ridden in each of those races by leading jockey Paco Lopez but had Wilmer Galviz aboard for the Sophomore Fillies.

"I sent her to Tampa to give her a little easier race and get a confidence-builder for her, but she moved a little too quick and wasn't used to being out in front like that," said Rose. "She never gives up through the stretch, but I'd rather have a target for her to go after than be on the lead. But she seems to have come out of the race fine."

Rose is hoping to have the red-hot Lopez back aboard Joanie's Catch in the Oaks.

"Paco knows her well and is riding great right now," said Rose. "I'll have to check with his agent to make sure we're still on target to have him for the Oaks."

Lopez running away

Lopez finished off another extraordinary week with a triple on Sunday to all but clinch the 2010 Gulfstream riding championship. He also posted hat tricks on Thursday and Friday's cards. Lopez enters Wednesday's program with 57 winners, seven more than his closest pursuer, Javier Castellano, who has already left town for the remainder of the meet.

The Gulfstream meet closes April 24.

The single-day riding star last week, however, was apprentice Luis Saez, who posted a four-bagger on Saturday, including both ends of the early daily double for trainer Nick Canani.

Pletcher workers out in force

Trainer Todd Pletcher worked several of his top 3-year-olds at Palm Meadows on Sunday, including Kentucky Derby contenders Rule and Super Saver. Rule, who finished third in the Grade 1 Florida Derby, went an easy half-mile in 52.40 seconds while Super Saver breezed the same distance in 50.90. Super Saver is scheduled to have his final Derby prep in Saturday's Arkansas Derby.

Pletcher also worked Devil May Care, among the favorites to win the Oaks, a half in 49 seconds on Sunday.

Other prominent workers on Sunday's Palm Meadows tab included the undefeated Tiz the One (five furlongs in 1:01.60) and Lentenor (a half-mile in 51).

Calder changes first post

Calder Race Course will open its 40th racing season with a new post time and a new daily racing schedule on April 25. Post time throughout the Calder meet, which runs through Oct. 17, has been advanced to 1:10 p.m. daily, with live racing to be conducted on a four-day-per-week schedule, Thursday through Sunday, with the exception of a handful of Monday holiday programs. Monday cards will be added on a regular basis three weeks into the Tropical meet, which continues until Jan. 3, 2011.

The 2010 Calder meet, the first at the track to be run in conjunction with the recently opened casino, begins with the Grade 3 Miami Mile Handicap on opening day.