Main Line Racing Stable's Joint Return was making her stakes bow on Saturday in the $100,000 Busher at Aqueduct and rallied widest of all rounding the turn to post a 4 1/4-length victory with jockey Kendrick Carmouche aboard. The John Servis-trained miss was sent off the 7-1 fifth pick in the seven-filly field and returned $16.80 for the win.
Joint Return broke well from her inside post but settled in the rear of the field as last-out Busanda winner Fierce Boots took command on the backstretch. Carmouche allowed Joint Return to make her own way well off the rail through splits of :24 2/5, :50 1/5 and 1:15 4/5.
Joint Return began picking it up entering the turn, and found herself widest of all as she joined Fierce Boots, Ketel Twist, Vero Amore and Ballylee running in tandem into the lane. A little encouragement from Carmouche was all it took for Joint Return to take over in midstretch and draw away to stop the clock in 1:48 2/5 for 1 1/16 miles on the fast inner dirt.
"Today she was really on the muscle as I warmed her up," Carmouche said. "We left there and she put me in a good position. Being four and a half, five lengths off of it is a good pace for her, and I thought from there they couldn't beat her."
Vero Amore found herself filling the runner-up spot once again after a nose second in the January 12 Ruthless over a muddy Aqueduct track. It was another half-length back to Ketel Twist, with Fierce Boots rounding out the top four.
"Good race, first time around two turns and coming back on short notice like we did," trainer Butch Reid praised his charge, Vero Amore. "She's always game, gives it a try. The jock said she was fine and pulled up fine. We'll give her a month now and look for a better spot."
Ballylee, a nice debut maiden winner on December 22, came next and was followed under the wire by My Jimmy Chew Girl and Fleet of Gold. Fleet Sixteen and Wraith were both withdrawn.
"She was in a tight spot a couple of times throughout the race. She never really got a chance to do a whole lot of running when I did think she needed to get herself going. It didn't work out," noted Tom Albertrani, who conditions beaten 8-5 favorite Ballylee.
Joint Return not only earned the $60,000 winner's share of the Busher, which doubled her bankroll to $119,660 from a 4-3-0-1 career mark, but also garnered 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks. The dark bay daughter of Include ran third in her debut at Parx Racing last October 8 over a muddy, sealed track, but returned November 19 to break her maiden by four lengths at that track over fast going. Joint Return rounded out her time at Parx with a 4 3/4-length allowance victory, going the same one-mile distance as her prior two, on New Year's Day.
Bred in Kentucky by Virginia D. Moore & Include Syndicate, Joint Return was purchased by her current connections for $60,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. She is the first registered stakes winner out of the Brunswick mare Brunswick Star, who is a half-sister to dual Grade 3 scorer American Halo.
Joint Return's black-type rich female family includes English champion *Gloria Nicky and that mare's two-time French champion daughter Never Too Late; 1968 Irish Derby and English St. Leger hero Ribero; and German champion Ghanayim.