Delightful Joy brought smiles to the faces of her connections in her stakes debut on Saturday, Aug. 22, using a powerful stretch run to score a 1 3/4-length victory in the $100,000 Monmouth Oaks (gr. III) at Monmouth Park.
Video: Monmouth Oaks (G3)
After winning two of her first four starts, including a one-mile allowance race in her most recent start July 16 at Belmont Park, trainer Chad Brown shipped her to Monmouth for her stakes debut. Running for Sheep Pond Partners, Robert LaPenta, and Bradley Thoroughbreds, the 3-year-old filly proved up to the challenge, surging past three others just past the eighth pole to complete a rally from ninth to win the 1 1/16-mile race.
Delightful Joy is the latest graded stakes winner for leading sire Tapit , who began the day with 42 group/graded stakes winners.
In Saturday's race, White Clover moved up between horses in the backstretch to take the lead from High Dollar Woman, who completed a half-mile in :46.91. In the turn White Cover held off the still-energized High Dollar Woman, but the winner and several other fillies were starting their rallies.
At the eighth pole, Delightful Joy rallied four wide under Paco Lopez, with four horses across the track—including grade II-placed Eskenformoney, White Clover, and Tiger Ride—shortly after the eighth pole. Delightful Joy was moving best of all and drew clear late, completing 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.74 on a fast track.
"I was told to get a good start and see where I was after the break. I wanted to be comfortable and I tucked in a little behind," Lopez said. "I knew that feeling with her from the first time I rode her. I just started to get her going and was looking for a hole. When I asked her, she gave me everything she had. She is a really nice filly."
Delightful Joy, the second betting choice at 3-1, returned $8.20 to win, $4.20 to place, and $3.20 to show. Eskenformoney, favored at 5-2, returned $4 and $3 while White Clover returned $5.20 to show.