05/19/2011 1:25PM

Pimlico: Joes Blazing Aaron the one to catch in Murphy


Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out how a race will shape up. But in the case of the $100,000 James W. Murphy Stakes, there seems little doubt about which horse is headed to the early lead: Joes Blazing Aaron.

“His way is just to get into the race,” trainer Mike Maker said. “We’re going to let him go and do that. He might be better if he puts a little space between himself and the field.”

With Julien Leparoux taking the mount, Joes Blazing Aaron will break from the outside post in the one-mile turf race and try to rebound from a fading finish in the April 16 Blue Grass Stakes. Maker said he believes the free-running gelding could go farther out front when returning to grass, a surface over which he won back-to-back races at Gulfstream Park this winter, including the Grade 3 Palm Beach.

If Joes Blazing Aaron comes back to the pack, among those ready to pounce could be Master Dunker, a gray colt who gets Ramon Dominguez and the rail; Lil Bit O’Fun, a close fourth in a Keeneland turf stakes last month; and Humble and Hungry, a Sagamore Farm colt making his second start of the year after ending 2010 with an eighth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

Ten 3-year-olds are entered in the Murphy, which is named for the longtime Maryland-based trainer who died in June 2009.