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Joyful Victory runs away with Fantasy
Fox Hill Farm's JOYFUL VICTORY (Tapit) patiently bided her time in third on the backstretch of Sunday's $285,000 Fantasy S. (G2) at Oaklawn Park, put in a three-wide rally rounding the turn and easily drew off from the highly regarded Arienza (Giant's Causeway) to take her second straight graded contest for trainer Larry Jones. With Mike Smith aboard, the gray dynamo cruised under the wire seven lengths the best while finishing 1 1/16 miles in 1:44 3/5 over the fast dirt.
Explosive Disco (Explosive Truth) set the pace on the inside, with Arienza, Joyful Victory and stablemate Holy Heavens (Holy Bull) strung out behind her through splits of :22 4/5 and :46 3/5. Arienza began drawing closer as the turn approached, and Joyful Victory was tugging her way into contention as well. Explosive Disco couldn't hold that pair after her earlier swift fractions and faded as Arienza grabbed command exiting the backstretch.
The daughter of Horse of the Year Azeri (Jade Hunter) held the lead long enough to pass three-quarters in 1:11 2/5, but then Smith moved his hands on Joyful Victory. That sophomore lass flew past her less-experienced rival and pulled off in the stretch to return $3.20 as the 3-5 after place and show wagering was canceled.
Arienza was 1 1/4 lengths clear in second, while Holy Heavens passed Explosive Disco to take third. Jelly Cable (Sky Mesa) was withdrawn from the race, leaving only four runners in the event.
Joyful Victory earned only her second career win when taking the Honeybee S. (G3) on March 12, with that 8 3/4-length triumph serving as her debut for Jones. While under the tutelage of trainer Tony Dutrow she broke her maiden at first asking in September, then posted a third-place run in the Frizette S. (G1) one month later. The filly took on the Breeders' Cup in only her third lifetime start and finished a decent fifth in the Juvenile Fillies (G1) to close out her two-year-old campaign.
Since that race, Joyful Victory has taken up residence in Jones' shedrow. Her victory in the Honeybee gave her new barn a fourth consecutive win in that race following the exploits of Eight Belles (2008), Just Jenda (2009) and No Such Word (Canadian Frontier) (2010). She also handed Jones a third score in the Fantasy following Eight Belles (2008) and Ruby's Reception (2003).
Joyful Victory now boasts lifetime earnings of $380,100 to go along with a 5-3-0-1 career mark. She's passed through the sales ring twice, bringing $60,000 as a Keeneland January yearling and $400,000 as a Fasig-Tipton February two-year-old.
The gray sophomore is the first stakes scorer out of the winning Wild Again mare Wild Lucy Black, who has since produced a juvenile filly named Why Lucy Why (Whywhywhy). Joyful Victory's third dam is Black Eyed Lucy (*Prince Royal II), who is best known for foaling 1982 champion two-year-old colt Roving Boy (Olden Times) as well as the unraced Sally's Ride (Inverness Drive), herself the dam of dual Grade 1 heroine A Wild Ride (Wild Again).
This is the same family as Grade 2 victress Irguns Angel (Irgun) and Canadian Grade 3 winner Artie Hot (Black Minnaloushe).