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DEL MAR, CA – Brown, Klein, and Lebherz’s Joker Boy shook off several challenges and drew away late to tally by 3 1/2 lengths Saturday at Del Mar in the $100,500 I’m Smokin’ Stakes for California-bred 2-year-olds.
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The colt by Practical Joke had Edwin Maldonado in the irons for trainer Brian Koriner as he picked up a winner’s check for $57,000 to enhance his bankroll to $99,000 and his record to 2 for 2. He ran the 6 furlongs in 1:10.77.
“I told Brian that we were going to be the real deal today,” Maldonado said. “This horse is special. When I first got on him, I didn’t think he was a 2-year-old. He acted like an old horse. I took a hold of him the other day (when he came from far back to win his first start); today, I just let him run out of there. He can run on, this horse. I have no doubt about that. He’s the real deal.”
Finishing second in the stakes was Lovingier, London, or Zondlo’s Rock N Rye, the 7/5 race favorite, and running third was Lovingier, Beckerle, or Carrillo’s Thirsty Always.
The winner paid $19.80, $6.20 and $3.60 across the board. Rock N Rye returned $3.20 and $2.40, while Thirsty Always paid $2.60.
“After he won (on debut), we thought of this race,” Koriner said. “Now on Breeders’ Cup (at Del Mar November 5-6), they have a Cal-bred race (the $175,000 Golden State Juvenile Stakes at 7 furlongs) and that will be next. It should be no problem for him.”
The race is part of the $4.35 million Golden State Series for California breds that consists of 36 races at five different tracks around the state. Del Mar hosts eight of them.
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