01/30/2013 4:31PM

Sam Houston Ladies Classic winner Joyful Victory to make next start in California

Coady Photography
Joyful Victory earned a career high 100 Beyer Speed Figure for her win in the Houston Ladies Classic.

Joyful Victory will be returning to Grade 1 competition following her track-record performance in Saturday night’s inaugural $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic at Sam Houston Race Park. Trainer Larry Jones said Wednesday that Joyful Victory will make her next start in the Grade 1, $300,000 Santa Margarita at Santa Anita on March 16. She will be traveling to Southern California from her Fair Grounds base in New Orleans.

“We took her out to Santa Anita last fall, and she seemed to like that track,” Jones said of a runner-up finish in the Grade 1 Zenyatta. “We would love to get a Grade 1 win under her.”

Joyful Victory won the 1 1/16-mile Houston Ladies Classic in 1:42.30, for a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 100. Jones said in the coming weeks he will begin mapping out a game plan to get the mare to the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic, which will be run at Santa Anita in November. He said following the Santa Margarita, there is a chance Joyful Victory could be given time off, to avoid racing in the heat of the summer.

“I’m not sure the summertime heat does her great, especially as hot as it was last year,” Jones said. “We could show back up by September. We could set up her schedule where if we have another hot summer, we don’t have to be racing.

“Our number one objective is to go to the Breeders’ Cup.”

Joyful Victory races for Fox Hill Farms.