The connections of Joha are comfortable switching to Plan B with their grade I winner, who was withdrawn from the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale and will be pointed to a summer-fall racing campaign.
A homebred for Wade Wacker's and Derk Ball's Bluegrass Equine Bloodstock, Joha was entered in the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale but the 3-year-old Johar colt developed a minor injury, according to Allen Kershaw, general manager for Bluegrass Equine Center. Because part of the attraction for potential buyers would have been picking up a 3-year-old for the Triple Crown trail, Kershaw said the owners decided to pull Joha from the sale. He would have been offered Jan. 7.
"It only seemed fair to make that decision," Kershaw said.
Wacker and Ball race Joha in the name of Bluegrass Equine Bloodstock, an operation that features the Bluegrass Equine Center in Salvisa, Ky., and a farm near the Kentucky Horse Park. To prepare, Joha will return to where he received early training, Bluegrass Equine Center, which specializes in rehabilitation work.
"We're going to let him grow up a little bit," Kershaw said. "He'll have access to the training facilities here, including the hyperbaric oxygen chamber. We're hoping for a June return."
Last year Joha scored a front-running victory in the Dixiana Breeders' Futurity (gr. I) on the Polytrack at Keeneland. He also won the Colin Stakes on the Polytrack at Woodbine.
Racing on turf, he finished a close second to Balance the Books in the With Anticipation Stakes (gr. IIT) at Saratoga. Joha closed out his juvenile season with off-the-board finishes in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park and the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II)--his first career dirt start--at Churchill Downs.
Trained by Mike Maker, Joha has earned $427,538 from eight career starts.