10/31/2016 12:56PM

Joking forced to miss Breeders' Cup Sprint

Barbara D. Livingston
Vosburgh winner Joking has not been able to train at Santa Anita because of the effects of a fever.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Joking, who went from being a $20,000 claimer to a Grade 1 winner, was entered Monday for Saturday’s $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint but is not expected to run after developing a temperature last Friday upon his arrival to Southern California, according to Charlton Baker, his owner and trainer.

Joking has not been to the track since arriving at Santa Anita on Friday, and Baker said it would take "divine intervention" for the horse to run in the Sprint.

“The horse came up with a temperature when he came here,” said Baker, who was going to make his Breeders’ Cup debut in the Sprint. “It went back down, but he’s not himself. I’m disappointed, but I deal with stuff like this all the time. I’ve been around too long.”

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Baker claimed Joking for $20,000 in January 2014. Joking was enjoying a sensational 7-year-old campaign, with four wins from five starts, including victories in the Grade 2 True North at Belmont in June and, most recently, the Grade 1 Vosburgh at Belmont on Oct. 1, which was a Win and You’re In race for the Sprint.

The day after Joking won the Vosburgh, Baker said he was very much looking forward to running in the Breeders’ Cup, calling it “a once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity.

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