Daddy Joe, a $900,000 son of owner Paraneck Stable's 1996 Wood Memorial (gr. I) winner Unbridled's Song who is set to run in the $150,000 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) Saturday, worked five furlongs in 1:00 on the Aqueduct inner track Wednesday with jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr. aboard.Daddy Joe broke off at the five-eighths pole going in fractions of :12 2/5, :24 2/5, :36 4/5 and :48 3/5 before finishing in 1:00 and galloping out six furlongs in 1:12 3/5. Arroyo offered just mild hand encouragement through the lane. Given his price tag, expectations from owner Ernie Paragallo and trainer Jennifer Pedersen for Daddy Joe have been high. So far, he's done little more than win an Aqueduct maiden special weight and an entry-level allowance at Laurel. Although Daddy Joe has admittedly frustrated Pedersen, she said she might have finally figured him out. "I think he's a horse who wants to drop his head and be left alone," Pedersen said. "You've got to let him get comfortable. That's something that hasn't been done in his last two races."Daddy Joe finished seventh of 10 in the Whiralway on Feb. 12. Most recently, he finished a well-beaten fourth in Laurel's Horatius at six furlongs. Pedersen said she believes the colt is better going two turns."I think he's a two-turn horse," she said. "To me, a one-turn mile is just a long sprint. You've always got a lot of three-quarter horses in the race and the pace is always fast." A short time later, Paraneck's Pavo, second in the Fred "Cappy" Capossela and John Battaglia Memorial in his last two starts, went through the same routine with jockey Alan Garcia up. Pavo, also meant for the Gotham, was a little rank just before breaking off at the half-mile pole. He went slower than Daddy Joe in the early stages of his work, but finished up well in :49. His early splits were :12 2/5, :25 and :37. Pavo galloped out five furlongs in 1:02. Garcia had a tight hold early and let the colt run through the stretch. While Pedersen doesn't care for the Gotham's one-turn conditions for Daddy Joe, she believes the race is perfect for Pavo. In fact, Pavo broke his maiden going eight furlongs over the main track last fall.
"I love the one-turn mile for him because they'll outrun him early and he'll close," Pedersen said. "I'm really psyched. He's been running well, but I think six furlongs (when 2nd in the February 19th Fred "Cappy" Caposella) is a little too short. I think he'll stretch out better and get the longer distances on turf. I breezed him on the turf a few times and he loves it."Pavo last ran on March 5 at Turfway Park, finishing second in the John Battaglia Memorial. Pedersen said Pavo never got comfortable in that 1 1/16-mile race. "He ran well, but Alan (Garcia) said he never got a firm grip of the track," she said.