03/16/2013 7:40PM

Santa Anita: Joyful Victory grasps elusive Grade 1 win in Santa Margarita

Benoit & Associates
Rosie Napravnik guides Joyful Victory to a four-length score in the Santa Margarita.

ARCADIA, Calif. – It took 17 races and some frustrating near-misses over the course of a couple years, but the ambitious, cross-country schedule mapped out for Joyful Victory by trainer Larry Jones and owner Rick Porter finally earned a Grade 1 dividend on Saturday when Joyful Victory crushed four rivals in the $294,250 Santa Margarita Stakes, the championship race of the Santa Anita meet for older fillies and mares.

Joyful Victory ($4.20), under the country’s winningest rider, Rosie Napravnik, took over a half-mile into the 1 1/8-mile race, opened up on the field nearing the quarter pole, and was never threatened thereafter while romping by four lengths. More Chocolate was a clear-cut second, 5 1/4 lengths in front of Brushed by a Star.

Great Hot was fourth, and Snow Fall was eased by jockey Tyler Baze after six furlongs. According to Santa Anita’s stewards, track veterinarians could not find anything wrong with Snow Fall, but Baze thought she took a couple of bad steps and used caution.

Joyful Victory was timed in 1:49.53 on the fast main track.

Joyful Victory, 5, had finished second in the 2011 Mother Goose, and second in the Zenyatta here last fall, among prior Grade 1 tries. The desire to finally put a Grade 1 win on her resume was the primary reason Jones and Porter, who races as Fox Hill Farms, had Joyful Victory ship from her winter home at Fair Grounds for the Santa Margarita.

“She was favored in the Kentucky Oaks,” Jones said, “but something always happened.

“I was starting to wonder,” Jones said.

Joyful Victory was coming off a runaway win in the Houston Ladies Classic on Jan. 26, only the second time she had hooked up with Napravnik, who first rode Joyful Victory in the Zenyatta last fall. They obviously make a terrific team.

“Rosie is one of those special riders. A gift from God is what she has,” Jones said. “She’s one of the brightest young stars in the game.”

Joyful Victory, a daughter of Tapit, has now won 6 times in 17 starts, and the $180,000 winner’s share put her over the $1 million mark in career earnings. Her biggest graded stakes win had been the Grade 2 Fantasy nearly two years ago.


Mick More than 1 year ago
Very nice, dominating performance by Joyful Victory. Nice, consistent, great looking mare.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Again, boldness is rewarded, as Jones ships and Joyful Victory gets her grade 1. The SoCal circuit was really weak and thin in a number of divsions last year, and the older filly and mare group was one of them. Include Me Out, who in no way is a superstar, feasted last year and is on the bench until summer. That gap wasn't really filled by anyone the last 3 months, and Jones undoubtedly saw a golden opportunity. Shippers ran 1-3 in here, which only prompts questions as to why more didn't come out, and most baffling why Asmussen went to Arkansas with My Miss Aurelia for less money and tougher competition. A note on Rosie's fantastic ride. She let JV just cruise out of the gate. I think this caused confusion for Garcia on More Chocolate, who must have been worried about Stevens and Great Hot walking on the lead by herself. Rosie perfectly played into the fears by looking none too eager to engage Great Hot. That is, until the first turn, after Garcia had already been forced to use his horse and go 4 wide, and after Stevens basically paved the rail for Rosie. To her credit, Rosie attacked this scenario, and decisively moved Joyful Victory up to the lead. Stevens must have wanted to pin Joyful Victory on the rail, keep the main competition to his inside where he could see things unfold and apply pressure. The pace was totally legit on a track that produced slow times. 1:10 for 6 furlongs was quite strong. That begs the question why Espinoza on Brushed by a Star decided to make a very wide early move? Perhaps he saw that Great Hot was stopping and that Joyful Victory was about to find herself alone up front. But conventional wisdom suggested that Espinoza just take back Brushed by a Star and make one run given the pace. Joyful Victory is clearly in the best form of her career. However, I still am not sold on her running 9 furlongs against the truly elite. Let's be clear, Joyful Victory wasn't facing much in here, and absolutely no one was running at her that last eighth. Thus, Joyful Victory was able to complete the final 3/8ths in 39, and the final eighth in 13 and 2. That final eighth is not too much slower than the one Switch put up when she came apart late and the unheralded Miss Match tagged her in the 11' Santa Margarita. Joyful Victory was tired and running slowly that last eighth; it's just that given the competition everyone else was breathing fumes as well.
zerosumzen More than 1 year ago
Love Rosie. Everything a rider should be and more. Seems a sure bet that she'll be the first female jockey to win the KY Derby. And she'll win more than one too. I'm going to play that Joan Armatrading song now. "Oh Rosie, don't you do that to the boy(s)."
Gary Smith More than 1 year ago
Nice Rivalry between Joyful Victory and Brushed By A Star now stands at 2 apiece!
Marc Estrich More than 1 year ago
Let's get the two of them on a track where Joyful Victory is on the conveyor belt rail like here and at Sam Houston. That being said it must be stated JV is in career shape and fulfilling her promise when she was the KY Oaks favorite. At track record last and racehorse fractions on the front end here.
Marc Estrich More than 1 year ago
Correction: ISN'T on the Free Spirits Joy inside conveyor belt..ISN'T!!!
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
Girl Power! It was a beautiful sight watching the fabulous Rosie Napravnik winging her way around the track at Santa Anita today on the gorgeous gray mare, Joyful Victory. What a beautiful, decisive victory this was! I was thrilled to see Joyful Victory finally get that G1 under her belt. Congratulations Joyful Victory, Rosie, and JV's connections on a wonderful, impressive win. Lovely, fun race to watch! And I have to add, it's great watching Rosie Napravnik just get better and better. She is an outstanding jockey and she just keeps blossoming more & more right before our eyes. Keep up the great work, Rosie!
Flint King More than 1 year ago
rosie is a hell of a jockey
Union_Rags More than 1 year ago
JV is all that.
Robert More than 1 year ago
R. Carlos Nanez More than 1 year ago
obviously you don't know Larry Jones or Porter