11/07/2007 12:00AM

Joyful Juno on verge of breakthrough

EmailETOBICOKE, Ontario - Joyful Juno, a bargain $5,000 claim last year at Fort Erie, appears poised to break through at the first allowance condition in Friday's featured eighth race at Woodbine.

Joyful Juno has banked $83,777 this year in nine starts under the guidance of trainer Vito Armata. She won her fifth start of the meet in a $40,000 conditioned claimer June 30, which was her second grass outing this year.

Armata kept Joyful Juno on the turf for the rest of the summer, and she finished second in two consecutive allowances at extended distances. The horse that beat her in her penultimate start, Tell It as It Is, subsequently won a second-level allowance in a cakewalk.

Joyful Juno switched to the Polytrack for her last start and blew a clear lead in deep stretch, losing narrowly to Pleasant Mix, who returned to finish fourth in tougher company.

Apprentice Tyler Pizarro retains the mount on Joyful Juno, a daughter of Langfuhr.

Other win possibilities in the 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares include Imeanseriously, Box Office Launch, Ifbutmaybewhen, Stolen Humor, Real Jubilant, and Valeisha.

Imeanseriously's last two-turn attempt on the Polytrack resulted in a fourth-place finish behind Sealy Hill and Street Sounds in the July 1 Bison City Stakes. She has failed to hit the board since, but subtract her three lackluster turf efforts and her recent form looks more appealing.

The steady Box Office Launch is winless in five starts since her triumph over Ontario-sired allowance stock in June. She wound up third in back-to-back first-level allowances earlier this fall, including one going long.

Ifbutmaybewhen finished first in two straight Ontario-sired allowances in August, but was disqualified in one of them for interference. She was fifth two starts ago in a grass allowance, and was recently a distant fourth in the restricted Classy 'N Smart Stakes on the Polytrack.

Stolen Humor, an expensive daughter of popular sire Distorted Humor, had a troubled trip when far back in a seven-furlong allowance Oct. 21. She won her maiden over seven furlongs Oct. 3, and is bred to handle a route of ground.

Real Jubilant mounted a belated wide bid to end up fifth behind Pleasant Mix and Joyful Juno Oct.o14. She got a late start to her campaign, and could be peaking.

Valeisha led all the way in a recent 1 1/16-mile maiden special, which was taken off the grass and run on the Poly.