Donald Dizney's homebred Joint Effort found clear running in the stretch and swept past her rivals to win the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Ocala Stud Oaks for 3-year-old California and Florida-bred fillies at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
Outrun to the turn behind a fast pace, the Florida-bred Joint Effort and jockey Mark Guidry rallied four wide and turned it on between horses in the final furlong while under pressure to defeat the 62-1 outsider A Sea Trippi and Mike Smith by 2 1/2 lengths. Lake Alice, an even longer shot at 91-1 with Kristi Chapman aboard, was a length farther back in third. The final time for the six-furlong event was 1:09 2/5.
"She broke great and that got her in good position early," Guidry said. "Basically, she just turned it up a little when I got her in the clear, and that was all she needed."
Devons Smokin, the only California-bred filly in the 12-horse field, set a solid pace – :21 3/5 and :44 2/5 – while under pressure from Peach Flambe and mild 5-2 favorite Bully Bones before backing up in the stretch. Bully Bones assumed the lead briefly in mid-stretch but was unable to hold off the closers.
Joint Effort, making her 3-year-old debut for trainer Dale Romans, tipped her ability in the final start of her juvenile season when she defeated an allowance field at seven furlongs at Churchill Downs by 2 1/4 lengths in a time of 1:24 1/5. Saturday's victory, worth $137,500, was the third for the daughter of Runaway Groom
-C.C. Princess (Conquistador Cielo) in nine starts and zoomed her bankroll to $236,740.
"She had been training great and started to peak last fall," Romans said. "We've always thought long distances with her, but we shortened her up at Churchill with this race in mind. We'll start thinking long distances again, but for now, we're just going to regroup before we get back to Kentucky."
Joint Effort paid $10.60, $6.40, and $4 for her first stakes win. A Sea Trippi returned $50.60 and $19.40. Lake Alice was $16.60 to show. The $2 exacta returned a whopping $553.20 and the $1 trifecta was $6,376.80.
Peach Flambe finished fourth as the superfecta paid $10,363.60. She was followed by Bully Bones, Knights Templar, Swap Fliparoo, Running Lass, Devons Smoking, Bettarun Fast, Fifth Avenue and Lizzy's Township. Home Alona and Windy scratched.