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Contessa Still Basking in Becky’s Joker’s Glow

A week later and the Schuylerville glow is still bright at Barn 49 on the Oklahoma Training Track.

That is the summer home of Becky’s Joker  and she stood tall—she is 16.3 hands—in her stall July 20 on a sun-splashed morning.

A week ago, she came out running in her first career start and won the opening-day Schuylerville Stakes (G3) at Saratoga Race Course by 3 1/4 lengths. At odds of 21-1.

Trainer Gary Contessa sat in a golf cart off his shed row and, yes, he’s still grinning about the performance turned in by the daughter of Practical Joke  .

“She came back like she never ran,” Contessa said. “She is as sound as a bell of brass. She is happy. I took her back to the track and she jogged a few days and has been galloping ever since. Happy as a lark.”

The filly is owned by Contessa’s longtime client Lee Pokoik and was ridden by Javier Castellano.

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Contessa still marvels at how professional Becky’s Joker performed in the Schuylerville. Winning first out is tough enough at Saratoga; to do it in a stakes is an enormous task.

“This filly, from the very beginning, was not only physically dominating, but mentally … she has the mind of a 4-year-old,” Contessa said. “She doesn’t care about anything. There are no distractions. She is all about being a racehorse. That is what made me so confident.”

Contessa said the plan remains for Becky’s Joker to wait until the 7-furlong, $300,000 Spinaway Stakes (G1) on Sept. 3. There has never been any talk of running the filly in the second Spa graded stakes for 2-year-old fillies, the 61/2-furlong, $200,000 Adirondack (G3) on Aug. 6.

“That just becomes too much,” he said. “I have seen horses run in all three and they disappear.”

The schedule Contessa hopes to keep with Becky’s Joker is the Frizette Stakes (G1), which will be run at Aqueduct Race Track this fall, and then the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).

“I think she will love a mile and a sixteenth at the Breeders’ Cup,” Contessa said. “We would love to wind up there.”


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