Joint Effort put in a top effort Saturday, winning the $119,600 La Troienne (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies going away on the Kentucky Derby day undercard at Churchill Downs.
Edgar Prado always had Joint Effort in a good spot in the 7 ½-furlong one-turn race. With Morner and Victor Espinoza making an easy lead from the rail, Prado settled into third along the inside as they went a quarter in :22.59 and a half in :45.68.
Joint Effort moved to the lead as the field battled on the turn, coming through on the rail while under a snug hold. As the field straightened away for home, she opened up under Prado and cruised home. Favored Adieu, making her first start of the year, came on to get second after being forced to check on the turn, 3 1/4 lengths behind the winner .
"She was doing everything so easy, when the horse on the lead (Morner) drifted out, I took the chance and sent her, and she went on," Prado said. "I just encouraged her a little bit, and she took off like a rocket."
After six furlongs in 1:09.94, Joint Effort completed the distance in 1:28.18.
"She broke good, but not as quick as (Morner), who went to the lead really easy," jockey Rafael Bejarano said of the 8-5 choice Adieu. "I tried to pull in right behind because when (Morner) goes to the lead she tries to get out. I was trying to stay inside until it cleared. My horse was trying, but I couldn't catch (Joint Effort). She had a really good trip and she was gone."
Bred in Florida by her owner, Don Dizney, Joint Effort is by Runaway Groom
out of the Conquistador Cielo mare C C Princess. She is trained by Dale Romans.
Most recently, Joint Effort had turned in two poor disappointing performances at seven furlongs, finishing seventh in the Forward Gal (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park March 5 and fifth in the Beaumont (gr. II) at Keeneland five weeks later. Saturday's win, worth $71,186, improved her record to 4-3-1 in 12 starts with earnings of $315,426. She three wins and three seconds in six starts at Churchill Downs.
"I thought she would run big today," Romans said. "The race at Keeneland you can just throw out because she's never run good on that surface. The Gulfstream race wasn't that bad; it was a tough race. And her race before that she won a stake.
"So she got on a track she likes and she put it all together. She's been running in good company. Adieu was coming off a layoff, so it was a good time to take her on."
Joint Effort paid $15.80, $6.60, and $4.20. Adieu, who was seventh in the Alberto VO5 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) in her last start, returned $3.80 and $2.80. Smart N Pretty closed from last for third under Rene Douglas, 2 3/4 lengths behind Adieu, and paid $3.20.
Morner finished fourth, followed by Beholden, Sweet Belle, Classical Ryder, Lake Alice and Tactical Warning.