07/28/2013 2:24PM

Monmouth Park: Joyful Victory cruises in Molly Pitcher

Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Joyful Victory, under Rosie Napravnik, wins Sunday's Grade 2 Molly Pitcher Stakes by 7 1/2 lengths.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – When Larry Jones, the trainer of morning-line favorite Joyful Victory, heard that his main rival, Funny Proposition, was scratched from Sunday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Molly Pitcher Stakes at Monmouth Park, he had mixed emotions.

As a friend of Mark Casse, the trainer of Funny Proposition, Jones said, “I was hoping there was nothing seriously wrong with his horse, but I knew it would make my job a lot easier this afternoon.”

Funny Proposition, who beat Royal Delta in the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis at Churchill Downs last month, was scratched due to heat in her left knee, according to Casse.

And Joyful Victory did indeed have an easy time in the Molly Pitcher, securing the lead entering the first turn and drawing away to a 7 1/2-length victory under Rosie Napravnik.

The win was the second straight on the afternoon for the Jones-Napravnik team, who combined to win the Grade 3, $150,000 Matchmaker with Starstruck.

For Joyful Victory, the Molly Pitcher was her third win from four starts this year – including a score in the Grade 1 Santa Margarita at Santa Anita. It enabled her connections – including owner Rick Porter – to erase a fifth-place finish in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps at Belmont in May from memory.

In the Phipps, Joyful Victory was used up in a speed duel with Authenticity in which they ran a half-mile in 45.40 seconds.

On Sunday, Joyful Victory cleared Successful Song entering the first turn and only had to run a quarter in 24.14 to do it. From there, she ran a half-mile in 47.85, six furlongs in 1:12.47, a mile in 1:38.43, and 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.09. Joyful Victory returned $3.40 as the 3-5 favorite.

“She was just cruising in such a great rhythm all the way around there,” Napravnik said. “She did it easily.”

Wine Princess finished second by 7 1/4 lengths over Lady Samuri. Winiliscious and Successful Song completed the order of finish.

Jones said Joyful Victory would be pointed to the Grade 1 Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita on Sept. 28, followed by the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic, also at Santa Anita, on Nov. 1.