DEL MAR, CA – Andrew Farm and Mrs. Charlie O’Connor’s Jo Jo Air made an immediate impact in her first west coast race, holding on narrowly to win Friday’s $65,000 Daisycutter Handicap at Del Mar.
Breaking well from post 6 under Flavien Prat as the 7/2 second choice, Jo Jo Air settled in third just behind the 6/5 favorite Stealthediamonds, who narrowly led Surrender Now through an opening 1/4-mile in :22.24.
Jo Jo Air made her move midway through the turn and tipped out to run three-wide at the top of stretch. Taking the lead at the 1/8 pole, Jo Jo Air had a clear advantage as she passed the chute, but Lighthouse was coming with a late rally in the middle of the track.
Jo Jo Air dug in gamely and held on to win by a neck. The Wesley Ward trainee’s final time for the 5-furlong firm turf sprint was :56.29.
“It all fell into place,” said Prat, aboard Jo Jo Air for the first time. “I watched videos of her races. She broke well and relaxed. We were right in behind the favorite and I felt good, then she gave me her big kick. A good race for her.”
Tomlin was 3 1/4 lengths back in third, while behind him came a three-way photo for fourth that ultimately went to Mucho Amor by a nose and a head over Stealthediamonds and Mischiffie, respectively.
Surrender Now, Storming Lady, and Artistic Diva completed the order of finish.
Jo Jo Air’s win was her second at the stakes level, following the 2019 William Walker at Churchill Downs. The 4-year-old Scat Daddy filly improved her record to 11-4-1-0 with $200,474 earned.
“She shipped in from Kentucky before this was scheduled for last week, so when it got cancelled, we’ve had her here for two weeks now,” said assistant trainer Blake Heap. “The extra week gave her time to acclimate and get a work over the (turf) course, so it worked out really well. We knew (Stealthediamonds) was going to go fast early, so I just told (Prat) to see how she breaks and save some running for the last. She’s going back to Kentucky on Monday and Wesley will decide where she goes from there.”
Jo Jo Air returned $9.20 to win, $4.80 to place, and $3.60 to show. Lighthouse brought back $9.60 to place and $5.80 to show, while Tomlin paid $5.20 to show.