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ODDS-ON CHOICE JOKER FACE RUNS AWAY WITH ROSEMEAD PURSE
ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 14, 2011) – After a change in running style that resulted in two near misses surrounding his maiden victory, 3-year-old gelding Joker Face scored with authority Friday as the 7-10 favorite in Santa Anita’s $28,050 Rosemead Purse, a starter allowance event at one mile on turf.
With Rafael Bejarano gaining his third win of the afternoon, Joker Face took command early, discouraged early pursuer Italian Channel, and drew off to win by 3 ½ lengths in 1:35.47. Myhorseofcourse rallied strongly for second, a nose in front of Blue Grass Music.
A Kentucky-bred son of It’s No Joke, Joker Face had appeared to prefer a closing style during his first three starts. That changed in his fourth when Bejarano put him up close early. He finally broke his maiden in his next out while going wire-to-wire.
“I’m still trying to figure out exactly how it happened,” said trainer Peter Eurton when asked about the change in style. “I think it might have been Bejarano just letting him know from getting out of the gate.”
Following his second win in six starts to accompany three runner-up finishes, Joker Face paid $3.40, $2.80 and $2.20. Myhorseofcourse, ridden by Mike Smith, paid $9 and $5.40. Blue Grass Music, a filly with Joel Rosario aboard, returned $5 to show.
Joker Face’s owners, Mr. and Mrs. Marc C. Ferrell, were rewarded with a winning purse of $16,200, which elevated the career earnings of their $50,000 sales purchase to $58,860.
Fourteen 3-year-olds are set to go postward in Saturday’s Grade II, $150,000 Oak Tree Derby, featured event on a program of 10 races that get underway at 1 p.m.