With an easy win in Saturday’s Santa Margarita S. (G1), Joyful Victory became Tapit's seventh millionaire with a dominant gate to wire, four length triumph in the 1 1/8 miles contest. It was also the first Grade 1 win for the 5-year-old gray or roan mare.
Joyful Victory is one of four graded stakes winners in 2013 by her sire, who ranks third on this year's General Sire list.
Joyful Victory, 5, went right to the front in the field of five, setting fractions of 23.02, 46.50, 1:10.50 and 1:36.00. At the top of the lane, she asserted her dominance, opening up a four length advantage she held the rest of the way. The final time was 1:49.53 on a fast track.
“She broke sharp,” said Rosie Napravnik, America’s leading rider by number of wins (79) coming into Saturday. “She likes to run freely and doesn’t like being restrained so it was nice that we had plenty of room on the rail to take the lead into the first turn. She was just relaxed and ran a great race.”
“I thought we were going to be on the heels of horses on the first turn, but when Gary’s horse went wide, Rosie just took advantage of it and thought this was the parting of the Red Sea…and it worked out very well,” said winning trainer Larry Jones.
Owned by Fox Hill Farm, Inc., Joyful Victory netted $180,000 for the win, increasing her earnings to $1,090,679. Her record stands at 17-6-5-3. Her other graded stakes wins came in the Honeybee S. (G3) and Fantasy S. (G2), both a Oaklawn Park.
“I was starting to wonder if she (Joyful Victory) was ever going to show up at the right time on the right day (to win a Grade I),” said Jones. “She had shown us this brilliance at times, but she’s just doing everything better right now.”
Second in the Zenyatta S. (G1) at Santa Anita on Sept. 29, Jones said the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (G1) in November is at the top of his list of priorities.
“We know we want to be back here (at Santa Anita) for the Breeders’ Cup…This is a good, safe racetrack and that hasn’t always been the case. We’re looking forward to coming back here regularly and running over this natural dirt surface.”
Fox Hill purchased Joyful Victory as 2-year-old with a winning bid of $400,000 at the 2010 Fasig-Tipton February Select 2-year-old in Training sale.