Practical Joke wins the July 8 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park

Practical Joke wins the July 8 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park

Coglianese Photos

Practical Joke Cuts Back for H. Allen Jerkens Stakes

Field also features American Anthem and Coal Front.

Perfect in four one-turn races, Practical Joke  will try to extend that streak when he cuts back in distance for the seven-furlong H. Allen Jerkens Stakes (G1) Aug. 26 at Saratoga Race Course.

Formerly the King's Bishop Stakes, this year's H. Allen Jerkens has attracted a field of nine 3-year-olds.

Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence's Practical Joke, a son of Into Mischief , certainly proved competitive in two-turn races as well this year, registering a fifth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) in his lone classic start. That effort followed runner-up finishes in the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth (G2) and Toyota Blue Grass (G2) stakes.

After the Derby, Practical Joke surged past three horses in the stretch to score a two-length victory in the one-mile Dwyer Stakes (G3) July 8 at Belmont Park—his fourth score in as many one-turn starts. He enters the Jerkens off a third-place finish in the Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1) July 30 at Monmouth Park.

Trainer Chad Brown said going from a grade 1 route race to a grade 1 sprint will challenge Practical Joke.

"He's been training very well up here since the Haskell," Brown said. "It's certainly a lot to ask cutting back to seven-eighths from the mile-and-an-eighth distance, but he's had success running here before and he's really been doing well up here so we're up to the challenge."

Practical Joke won the first three starts of his career, which included a pair of wins at Saratoga, a maiden debut victory going six furlongs followed by a score in the Hopeful Stakes (G1) at seven furlongs. He followed that narrow victory with another hard-fought score in the Champagne Stakes (G1) going one mile at Belmont.

Practical Joke, the lone grade 1 winner in the field, will start from the rail Saturday under Joel Rosario.

Like Practical Joke, WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, SF Racing Group, and Head of Plains Partners' American Anthem is undefeated in one-turn races. American Anthem also tried longer races ahead of the Triple Crown races but after off-the-board efforts in the Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park and Santa Anita Derby (G1), trainer Bob Baffert returned him to sprinting.

That move has paid off as American Anthem enters Saturday's race off back-to-back graded stakes victories at the seven-furlong distance in the Lazaro Barrera Stakes (G3) May 13 at Santa Anita Park and the Woody Stephens Stakes (G2) June 10 at Belmont. In the latter, American Anthem rolled to a 3 1/4-length victory under Mike Smith, who will be aboard Saturday.

The field also features a lightly raced 3-year-old in Coal Front, who scored a front-end victory during his stakes debut in the 6 1/2-furlong Amsterdam Stakes (G2) July 29 at Saratoga. That effort gave the son of Stay Thirsty  three wins in as many starts for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Coal Front drew post 7, which Pletcher believes will be a good fit.

"I think with this race, post position is very important," Pletcher said. "There's a lot of speed in the race with him and Takaful and American Anthem, so, at seven-eighths, races with a lot of pace, position is key."

Entries: H. Allen Jerkens S. (G1)

Saratoga Race Course, Saturday, August 26, 2017, Race 8

  • Grade I
  • 7f
  • Dirt
  • $500,000
  • 3 yo
  • 3:35 PM (local)
11Practical Joke (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJoel Rosario121Chad C. Brown5/2
22Takaful (KY)Jose L. Ortiz117Kiaran P. McLaughlin5/1
33Tale of Silence (KY)Manuel Franco117Barclay Tagg10/1
44Wild Shot (KY)Jose Lezcano119George R. Arnold, II30/1
55Ann Arbor Eddie (CA)Mario Gutierrez117Doug F. O'Neill15/1
66Phi Beta Express (KY)Kendrick Carmouche117Danny Gargan30/1
77Coal Front (KY)John R. Velazquez121Todd A. Pletcher4/1
88No Dozing (KY)Javier Castellano117Arnaud Delacour12/1
99American Anthem (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateMike E. Smith121Bob Baffert2/1