Joy's Rocket wins the Letellier Memorial Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course

Joy's Rocket wins the Letellier Memorial Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course

Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges Jr.

Joy's Rocket Stretches Back Out for Martha Washington

Frank's Rockette returns in American Beauty Stakes.

Team Hanley and Parkland Thoroughbreds' Joy's Rocket, already a three-time stakes winner sprinting, will stretch back out to a mile for the second time in her career in the $200,000 Martha Washington Stakes Jan. 30 at Oaklawn Park. The feature, which attracted six 3-year-old fillies, offers points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks on a 10-4-2-1 scale to the top four finishers. 

Steve Asmussen trains Joy's Rocket, who has won four of six starts, including her last two under Ricardo Santana Jr. The Florida-bred 3-year-old daughter of Anthony's Cross wrapped up her juvenile seasons with victories in the Nov. 6 Songbird Stakes at Keeneland and the Dec. 19 Letellier Memorial Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. She led wire to wire in the former and chased Double Whopper in second through the first quarter-mile in the latter.

"To let that filly (Double Whopper) go about her business, I think it speaks well for Joy's Rocket going further," Asmussen said after the Letellier. "She's a very professional filly, and Ricardo knows her and has a lot of confidence in her."

Joy's Rocket was fourth in her only mile race, the Oct. 10 Frizette Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park. She also has a stakes victory on Woodbine's synthetic surface and finished second in a stakes on turf at Saratoga Race Course. Santana retains the mount from the rail.

Asmussen will also send out Phoenix Thoroughbred III's Lady Lilly, a daughter of 2020's leading freshman sire Nyquist . Lady Lilly was seventh in the Nov. 28 Golden Rod Stakes (G2) last out, and before that held off a rival to win an Oct. 2 allowance optional claiming race by a nose when racing a mile at Keeneland. She was a debut winner at Saratoga, where she also finished third in the Sept. 6 Spinaway Stakes (G1). David Cabrera will ride from post 5.

Kueber Racing's Coach, a winner of her first three starts, makes her sophomore debut off a third-place finish in the Golden Rod run at 1 1/16 miles at Churchill Downs. She won at that same distance and track by 2 1/2 lengths after stalking the pace in the Oct. 25 Rags to Riches Stakes, with maiden and allowance sprint victories preceding that effort. Brad Cox trains the Commissioner filly, who will break from post 3 under Florent Geroux.

Completing the field are Novel Squall, 11th in the Songbird last out; Will's Secret, who broke her maiden fourth time out Dec. 20 at Fair Grounds; and Sylvia Q, another front-running filly who won second time out at Churchill Downs and was caught by a nose in a Dec. 31 allowance optional claiming race at Fair Grounds. 

Frank's Rockette Heads American Beauty

Frank's Rockette - Oaklawn Park, January 27, 2021
Photo: Adam Hatmaker/Oaklawn Park
Frank's Rockette trains Jan. 27 at Oaklawn Park

Frank Fletcher Racing Operations' Frank's Rockette leads a field of nine older fillies and mares entered to race six furlongs in the $150,000 American Beauty Stakes at Oaklawn. The 4-year-old Into Mischief  filly won five of seven races in 2020 for trainer Bill Mott, including the Victory Ride Stakes (G3), Prioress Stakes (G2), and Gallant Bloom Handicap (G2) in New York, all racing on the front end. In the Nov. 7 Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1), she was mid-pack early and finished 11th against males. Geroux will have the mount from post 7. 

Last out stakes winners in the field who have also done their best running on the front end are Novogratz Racing Stables' Amy's Challenge, who took the McConnell Springs Stakes Nov. 6 at Keeneland, and Matties Racing Stable and Averill Racing's Lady's Island, who won the Dec. 12 Sugar Swirl Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park by a head.

Entries: Martha Washington S.

Oaklawn Park, Saturday, January 30, 2021, Race 5

  • STK
  • 1m
  • Dirt
  • $200,000
  • 3 yo Fillies
  • 3:06 PM (local)
11Joy's Rocket (FL)Ricardo Santana, Jr.122Steven M. Asmussen5/2
22Novel Squall (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRamon A. Vazquez115John Alexander Ortiz15/1
33Coach (KY)Florent Geroux122Brad H. Cox7/5
44Will's Secret (KY)Jon Kenton Court115Dallas Stewart6/1
55Lady Lilly (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateDavid Cabrera119Steven M. Asmussen9/2
66Sylvia Q (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateMartin Garcia115Philip A. Bauer5/1

Entries: American Beauty S.

Oaklawn Park, Saturday, January 30, 2021, Race 8

  • STK
  • 6f
  • Dirt
  • $150,000
  • 4 yo's & up Fillies and Mares
  • 4:40 PM (local)
11French Empire (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateElvin Gonzalez115Cipriano Contreras10/1
22Shesomajestic (KY)Ramon A. Vazquez115John Alexander Ortiz12/1
33Magic Dance (KY)Ricardo Santana, Jr.117Steven M. Asmussen8/1
44Sunny Dale (PA)Keeneland Sales GraduateMartin Garcia115Jerry Hollendorfer10/1
55Wildwood's Beauty (FL)Joseph Rocco, Jr.115Scott Becker6/1
66Amy's Challenge (KY)Francisco Arrieta122McLean Robertson3/1
77Frank's Rockette (KY)Florent Geroux122William I. Mott2/1
88Best Kept Secret (KY)Kelsi Harr115Robert N. Cline20/1
99Lady's Island (FL)David Cabrera122Georgina Baxter9/2