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Becky’s Joker Seeks a Laugher in Spa’s Adirondack

After she enjoyed the proverbial last laugh as an unraced 2-year-old, much more will be discovered about Becky’s Joker  when she returns to the races Aug. 6 in the $200,000 Adirondack Stakes (G3) for juvenile fillies at Saratoga Race Course.

It was on July 13, opening day at the Spa, that the daughter of Practical Joke   started off her career in an auspicious manner, winning the Schuylerville Stakes (G3) in her very first start for trainer Gary Contessa and owner Lee Pokoik at odds of 21-1.

The odds figure to be dramatically lower when the 6 1/2-furlong Adirondack will illustrate when Becky’s Joker’s time in the spotlight will be fleeting or lasting.

“I didn’t think anybody was better than her physically, and I really thought she could win that race,” Contessa said about the daughter of Practical Joke bred by Warran Harang in Kentucky. “I just didn’t know what to expect mentally, because we can’t recreate a field of horses in the morning with her getting dirt in her face or a break in the flow or having to overcome traffic. You just don’t know how a horse is going to handle that, but I had a very strong belief that mentally she was very sound, and physically she was very talented. It was a combination of the two.”

Bought for $130,000 at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale from the Elm Tree Farm consignment, Becky’s Joker was a close fourth early on in the six-furlong Schuylerville and then pulled away in the stretch to win by 3 1/4 lengths under Javier Castellano.

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Among her nine rivals in Sunday’s stakes are the Schuylerville runner-up and a foursome  of promising fillies from Ellis Park.

BC Stables’ Saratoga Secret  was second in the Schuylerville for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas after posting a 3-length victory at Ellis Park in her debut.

“She ran really well,” Lukas said about the Arrogate filly. “I thought she may have needed that race and she’s improved a little bit. But the winner was too much, let’s be honest.”

WSS Racing’s Brightwork  (Outwork  ) enters with a 2-for-2 record after winning the Debutante Stakes at Ellis Park in front-running fashion last time out for trainer John Ortiz.

Clearsky Farms’ Here U Come Again  (Liam’s Map  ) caught the eye of more than Dolly Parton fans with a speedy debut win in a July 7 Ellis Park maiden race. Trained by Brad Cox, her time of :57.27 was less than a second behind the track record of :56.46.

“The first time I saw her, she was one who stamped herself as really good,” Cox said.

Streaming Now  (Into Mischief  ) and Copper Em  (Copper Bullet  ) are also exiting debut victories at Ellis Park that they captured by more than three lengths.

New York debut winners Cara’s Time  (Not This Time  ), Magic Cross  (Good Magic  ), and Princesa Celina  (Quality Road  ) and Princess Indy  (Lord Nelson ), a winner at first asking at Monmouth Park, round out the field of 10.

Entries: Adirondack S. (G3)

Saratoga Race Course, Sunday, August 06, 2023, Race 8

  • Grade III
  • 6 1/2f
  • Dirt
  • $200,000
  • 2 yo Fillies
  • 5:10 PM (local)


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