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TORONTO, ON – Team Hanley’s Joy’s Rocket rounded the far turn under a full head of steam and blasted off in the stretch to win Saturday’s $100,000 My Dear Stakes at Woodbine.
Breaking from the rail under Luis Contreras as the 8/5 favorite, Joy’s Rocket immediately shot to the lead and dueled down the backstretch inside of Rocket Reload and the 7/5 favorite Road to Romance.
The bettors’ choice backed off heading into the far turn, allowing Joy’s Rocket and Rocket Reload to run heads apart through opening fractions of :21.94 and :45.44.
Straightening for home with a mild advantage over her rival, Joy’s Rocket ignited the boosters and drew off impressively under only mild urging.
The Steve Asmussen trainee crossed 2 3/4 lengths the best in a final time of 1:05.10 for the 5 1/2-furlong fast synthetic sprint restricted to 2-year-old fillies.
While no match for the winner, Road to Romance secured second by 3/4 of a length over Rotary. Completing the order of finish came Emmeline, Rocket Reload, Queen Rhonda and Silent Mamba.
Joy’s Rocket’s victory came much easier than her debut effort, where she just outlasted her foes by a nose in a 5-furlong dirt dash at Churchill Downs on June 28. The Florida-bred Anthony’s Cross filly, purchased for $47,000 this past March, has now earned $77,444.
“She was very professional pretty much the whole way,” Contreras said. “From the beginning of the race to the end, she was so professional and I was very confident with her. I saw the race at Churchill when she won. It was a muddy track and she just went to the lead. I wasn’t too worried because horses with this kind of talent, I think it’s easy to adjust to whichever track they go.”
Joy’s Rocket returned $5.50 to win, $3.20 to place, and $2.30 to show. Road to Romance brought back $2.90 to place and $2.30 to show, while Rotary paid $3.10 to show.
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