08/06/2016 5:09PM

Jocker Justice turns tables on Cake Pop in Cleveland Kindergarten

JJ Zamaiko Photography
Jocker Justice (inside), ridden by Eduardo Perez, barely holds off Cake Pop to win his first career race in the Cleveland Kindergarten.

Jocker Justice, second behind Cake Pop in each of his first two career starts at Belterra Park in Cincinnati, turned the tables when the rivalry continued in the opposite corner of Ohio at a slightly longer distance.

Racing at six furlongs and at Thistledown in suburban Cleveland for the first time, and with a new rider in Indiana Grand-based Eduardo Perez, Jocker Justice held off Cake Pop’s late rally to win Saturday’s $75,000 Cleveland Kindergarten Stakes for Ohio-bred 2-year-olds.

The maiden second-time starter Lunar Heat outbroke the field from the outside post 8 under Luis Rivera and led by 1 1/2 lengths through the first quarter-mile in 22.36 seconds. But Jocker Justice made a big move on the outside to put his head in front after a half-mile in 46.50, took a clear lead into the stretch, and just had enough to beat even-money favorite Cake Pop by a head. Crazycantberighted, third in the Hoover Stakes behind Cake Pop and Jocker Justice, was third again, 4 1/4 lengths behind the runner-up. The winning time was 1:12.82.

A son of Stay Thirsty owned and bred by Greg Justice’s Justice Farms, Jocker Justice is trained by Indiana Grand-based Aaron West.

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