12/14/2010 3:06PM

Joinem could offer boost for Carroll

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Joinem, a 3-year-old Johar gelding, won his career debut last June at Churchill Downs by more than 10 lengths, and he has finished first or second in all four of his starts to date. Joinem was one of 10 horses entered in the featured eighth race Thursday at Fair Grounds, and he looks like a horse with a decent future, but forgive trainer David Carroll for being far more wrapped up in the present.

Carroll has been spending most of his waking hours the last two weeks at a hospital in Louisville where his wife, Kim, appears to be recovering from acute promyelocytic leukemia. As is the case with APL leukemia, the disease came on suddenly, and Kim Carroll nearly died last week, her husband said. But the disease has responded to treatment with chemotherapy, and though Kim Carroll remains in serious condition, her prognosis is favorable.

“My family is everything to me,” said Carroll, who has two school-age children. “It’s just been overwhelming the amount of support we’ve had.”

While Carroll attends to the crisis in Kentucky, he has left his Fair Grounds string in the hands of longtime assistant Stuart Clilverd, who will put a saddle on Joinem and give jockey Shaun Bridgmohan a leg up late Thursday afternoon. Joinem drew post 10 for the feature, a second-level allowance also open to $40,000 claimers and carded for about 1 1/16 miles on turf, but he employs a come-from-behind style that shouldn’t be badly compromised by his wide draw. Joinem last raced Oct. 10 at Keeneland, finishing second in a second-level turf allowance. He worked twice in late November at Churchill and twice more since shipping into Fair Grounds. He looks ready for a representative effort and has a strong measure of sentiment on his side.

Brentwood Bullet has no such emotive backstory, but he does have strong back form established on the Fair Grounds turf course. Brentwood Bullet has an overall grass record of 4-2-1 from 12 starts, but went 2-1-1 in four Fair Grounds turf tries last season while facing foes at least as strong as those he encounters Thursday.

A rain-off onto the main track could leave the race to Rock Hard, whose two victories came in dirt races.