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JOJO WARRIOR ADDS BLINKERS AND GOES GATE TO WIRE IN GRADE II, $200,000 SUMMERTIME OAKS; GARCIA & BAFFERT TEAM FOR 5 ¼ LENGTH WIN
PICK SIX CARRYOVER OF $103,974 INTO SUNDAY, TOTAL POOL EXPECTED TO EXCEED $700,000
ARCADIA, Calif. (June 21, 2014)—Jojo Warrior added blinkers for the first time in her five-race career and responded with a dominating 5 ¼ length win in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Summertime Oaks at Santa Anita. Trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Martin Garcia, the 3-year-old filly by Pioneerof the Nile got 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.09 following fractions of 23.25, 46.61, 1:10.78 and 1:36.38.
A troubled third as the 7-5 favorite in the six furlong Miss Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 16, Jojo Warrior tried two turns for the first time Saturday.
“She’s been running against good horses and she wants to run all day,” said Garcia, who hadn’t ridden her since a first-out maiden score going 5 ½ furlongs at Del Mar on Sept. 2. “I knew that I had the rail but she broke well and I put her on the lead and she was comfortable with that. I took advantage of it. She’s really sharp and when I asked her to go, she responded.”
The second choice in an Oaks field of eight 3-year-old fillies, Jojo Warrior paid $8.40, $4.80 and $3.80. Owned by her breeder, Zayat Stables, LLC, she improved her overall mark to 5-2-1-1 and with the winner’s share of $120,000, hiked her bankroll to $200,781.
“She had blinkers on and drew the rail,” said Baffert assistant Jim Barnes. “What’s your strategy when you draw the inside? You don’t want her to get behind horses. She didn’t like that at Pimlico. She got away a little slow and got behind horses and really didn’t like it too much. Last time with blinkers off, we were just trying something a little different. I think going long was the key.”
Ridden by Tyler Baze, longshot Live for Now saved ground at the rail, had to bide her time around the far turn and ran on to be second, a length in front of Front Range and Joe Talamo. Off at 16-1, Live for Now paid $13.00 and $8.00.
“She was so full of run at the half mile pole and I was just sitting in a box (in third position) there,” said Baze. “If I could have got her out anywhere around the half or the three-eighths, I think she wins. She’s got a long, huge stride.”
The “Other Baffert” in the field, Front Range sat midpack to the top of the lane and out-finished favored Delta Flower and Corey Nakatani by a head for third money. Off at 5-1, she paid $4.20 to show.
Like the winner, Delta Flower was trying two turns for the first time. Dispatched at 2-1, she sat second to deep stretch and tired late to finish fourth, a neck in front of longshot Fleet of Gold.
“I was trying to put her on the lead but the other horse, she had blinkers and she was quick,” said Nakatani. “I tried to hook up with her at the three-and-a-half and Jojo Warrior was goofing around a bit and still was outrunning us. We simply got outrun today.”
There were no winning tickets in Saturday’s Pick Six, resulting in a carryover into Sunday of $103,974. It is projected Sunday’s total Pick Six pool will exceed $700,000. First post time for a nine-race program on Sunday is at 1 p.m. Admission gates will open at 11 a.m.