Trainer Ken McPeek had scheduled a final major workout March 21 for Samotowka Stables and partners’ 3-year-old Theregoesjojo for next Saturday’s $750,000 Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park, but postponed it because of sloppy track conditions. Instead, Theregoesjojo worked March 22.
After a day-long rain, the Gulfstream surface remained sloppy, with ‘dogs’ up protecting the inside rail Sunday morning, but McPeek gave the go ahead for Jojo to work at about 7:30 a.m. The son of Brahms was timed six furlongs in 1:15 1/5. Clockers caught him in fractions along the way of :25 2/5, :37 4/5, 1:03 and galloping out seven furlongs in 1:30.
“I don’t normally like to work horses on a muddy track, but this went well,” said McPeek. “He got what he needed and came out of it just fine. He’s all done up and put away.”
In two starts here this meet, Theregoesjojo and Quality Road finished one-two, trading decisions: Jojo took Round One in a seven-furlong allowance Jan. 10 and Quality Road scored by 4 3/4 lengths in the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at a mile Feb. 28.
The rubber match comes Saturday when they face off for a third time in a field also expected to include Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s Dunkirk, John Oxley’s Beethoven, Korina Stable’s Sincero, New Life Stable and Equus Racing’s Stately Character, and one of several nominees trained by Nick Zito.
While Theregoesjojo came through his workout March 22 in good order, Stevestan Stable’s 3-year-old filly Striking Dancer, a stablemate in the McPeek barn, will miss the March 27 Bonnie Miss Stakes (gr. II).
“She came out of her workout last week with a small issue and will have to pass on the Bonnie Miss,” McPeek said. The chestnut daughter of Smart Strike was very impressive winning a turf allowance Feb. 25 in her season debut. She worked five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 at Palm Meadows March 13.