Debonair Joe, who in only 3 1/2 months went from being a $12,500 claimer to a grade I stakes winner, will run in the $100,000 Ken Maddy Sprint at Golden Gate Fields Saturday.
The Ken Maddy Sprint is a six-furlong dash for California-breds. The race features an interesting but small five-horse lineup, headed by the rags-to-riches gelding Debonair Joe.
Debonair Joe was claimed for $12,500 last Sept. 20 at Fairplex Park by trainer Juan Pablo Silva on behalf of owner Lynne Ristad of Pismo Beach. He finished fifth that day.
Debonair Joe was entered for a claiming tag of $28,000 when he made his debut for Silva and Ristad at Santa Anita on Oct. 10. He won the 6 1/2-furlong race by a neck at odds of 27-1 and paid $56.00.
In his next race on Oct. 26 at Santa Anita, Debonair Joe ran third in a $40,000 claiming race. He then was sent to Golden Gate Fields, where he won an allowance race on Nov. 8.
Handicappers thought Silva was shooting for the moon when he chose Debonair Joe's next race – the $100,000 Vernon O. Underwood Handicap (gr. III) at Hollywood Park on Dec. 7. Dismissed at 52-1 in the wagering, Debonair Joe closed with a rush to win the six-furlong stakes by a half-length over F J's Pace and return $107.60.
Debonair Joe topped his Underwood shocker in his very next race when he captured the $200,000 Malibu Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita on Dec. 26. Debonair Joe paid $55.60 to win that time.
Debonair Joe comes to Golden Gate Field looking to bounce back from his most recent performance, a disappointing sixth-place finish in the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint at Santa Anita on Jan. 25.
Debonair Joe has earned $225,795 and won four of six starts since joining the Silva barn. "I've been very lucky with this horse," said a humble Silva when asked about his remarkable success with Debonair Joe.
Debonair Joe was assigned 120 pounds for the Ken Maddy Sprint and will share high weight honors with Echo Eddie, a 6-year-old gelding who has won nine of his 21 career starts and $981,854. Local rider David Lopez was named on Debonair Joe.
A contentious field also includes El Dorado Shooter, Giovannetti and Radar Contact.$100,000 Ken Maddy Sprint Handicap, 3 & up, California breds, 6 furlongs
PP Horse, Weight, Jockey
1 Debonair Joe, 120, David G. Lopez
2 El Dorado Shooter, 118, Russell A. Baze
3 Giovannetti, 116, Danny Sorenson
4 Radar Contact, 114, Adalberto Lopez
5 Echo Eddie, 120, Chad Schvaneveldt