04/07/2017 2:00PM

Joking might be ready to run by Saratoga

Barbara D. Livingston
Joking, who got sick and had to miss the Breeders' Cup Sprint in November, has returned to the East Coast.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Joking, the Grade 1-winning sprinter who got sick after shipping west last fall, forcing him to scratch from the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, has returned to the East Coast, but not yet the racetrack.

Joking, an 8-year-old gelding by Distorted Humor, has been turned out at Patty Hogan’s farm in central New Jersey, having arrived there about three weeks ago from Southern California, according to owner and trainer Charlton Baker. Joking will remain at the farm for up to three more weeks before rejoining Baker at Belmont Park.

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Baker said he will try to get Joking ready for the Saratoga meet. Previously, Baker has said that Joking didn’t do well at Saratoga. But Baker said Friday that that had more to do with where he had been stabled than the racing surface. Baker said the barn he had last year was away from the hustle and bustle of Saratoga and would be suitable for Joking.

“He would get riled up from the traffic and the people walking around,” Baker said. “If he’s away from all that, he’s okay. Hopefully, I can get back to that same spot.”

Baker said Joking needs to put on more weight, but Hogan, a veterinarian, is helping in that process.

“Patty said she’s going to put some weight on him,” Baker said.