Joha, trained by Mike Maker, won Saturday’s Grade 1 Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington. The win earns the son of Johar a berth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile which will be held November 3 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Cal. Also, as one of the Road to the Kentucky Derby races, the win earns Joha 10 points toward a slot in Kentucky Derby 139 which will run at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 4, 2013.
A crowd of 22,292 were on hand to witness the wire-to-wire win by Joha in the 1 1/16 mile race. Joha held off a late charge by a trio of runners--Dynamic Sky, Java’s War and Pataky Kid. As the trio showed their greenness, Joha kicked on to finish a length in front of Dynamic Sky. Java’s War was ¾ of a length back in third, with Pataky Kid another ¾ of a length in fourth.
“It was a tough beat last time (finishing second by a head to Balance the Books in the With Anticipation (G2) on turf at Saratoga Aug. 30), but I’m grateful for today,” said Maker.
The victory marks Joha’s third win in six lifetime starts, all of which he has finished in the money. He’s shown a versatility being able to win on or off the lead and on turf or synthetic. This was the first race in which jockey Rajiv Maragh was aboard.
“This horse broke well from the gate,” said Maragh. “I got the lead and I got to slow it down going down the backstretch. He had a lot in the tank. He just kept on fighting when they came to him. He had a lot of power today.”
The post-time favorite, Tizracer, sat just behind the winner until they reached the stretch and faded to finish well back in twelfth.
“My horse did break very good and I got in position,” said jockey Jose Lezcano. “When I asked him (to run), I don’t think he handled the ground very good.”
Possibly the most intriguing horse to come out of this race may be the Mark Casse-trained runner, Dynamic Sky. He closed strongly from seventh to finish second, but showed his immaturity down the stretch when he fought his jockey trying to keep straight down the lane.
“He was the best horse in the race, but he runs very green,” said Casse. “He showed he could step up in class. I’m very pleased with him. If we ever get him to run straight, he’s going to be really, really tough. We’ll give the Breeders’ Cup (Juvenile G1) serious consideration.”
Joha returned $19.40, $10.80, and $7.00. Dynamic Sky paid $8.40 and $5.80 and completed the $2 exacta for $183.00. Java’s War paid $7.80 and completed the $2 trifecta for $1,782. Pataky Kid completed the $2 superfecta for $10,988.60. The final time for the 1 1/16 mile race over the fast polytrack was 1:44.52.