Ultra-consistent Practical Joke added another notch to the win column with a determined score in the H. Allen Jerkens (G1) on Travers (G1) Day at Saratoga.
It was the fifth win, and third Grade 1 victory, from 10 starts for Practical Joke, and boosted his earnings to nearly $1.7 million. All five wins have been around one turn.
The Kentucky-bred son of Into Mischief was consigned by Gainesway, agent, to the 2015 Keeneland September Yearling Sale where he was purchased for $240,000 by Aquinnah Ventures. He also sold for $135,000 as a short yearling at the 2015 January Horses of All Ages Sale to Clear Ridge Stables.
“I first saw Practical Joke at the Keeneland January sale,” said Brian Graves, director of public sales for Gainesway, who purchased the colt at the January Sale as Clear Ridge in partnership with George Bolton and agent John Moynihan.
“He was a standout physically – he would catch the eye immediately,” he continued. “He had a long neck, deep in his girth and a very big hip and hindquarter. He was taller than most, very good size. The best part was his walk, an effortless, unhinged way of moving, and he walked like that the entire time at the sale, and the entire time that we owned him for that matter.
“As he developed, he really just got better. He always had a good mind. He took the sale prep work very easily, and everything we did with him was very easy for him.
“At the (September Sale) he performed very well and was vetted a lot for potential buyers,” Graves added. “His bidding stopped at $240,000, which was a very fair return for all involved at the time, as we had paid $135,000 in January. (One thing) that I have taken away from Practical Joke’s success is that a yearling by an emerging sire doesn’t need to have a huge pedigree. They will make that for themselves. I believe that Tapit, Into Mischief and Uncle Mo, among several others, have proven this many times over.
“Practical Joke’s success is the pinnacle of what I hope for in this business,” he said. “(He’s) a horse that Gainesway can trade successfully and that will win Grade 1 races for his owners. It’s hugely rewarding to see hard work pay off for everyone involved, from his groom to his former owners, to his current owners. He’s made a lot of his connections happy and we are very proud of him to say the least.”
In the H. Allen Jerkens, Practical Joke sat in seventh during the early going. Jockey Joel Rosario saved ground before asking the colt as they turned for home. Practical Joke responded readily, passing the pacesetter to post a 1¼-length win in 1:21.96 for the seven furlongs.
At 2, Practical Joke won back-to-back Grade 1 stakes, taking the Hopeful at Saratoga followed by the Champagne at Belmont. He then ran third in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita.
This year, he kicked off the season with a pair of seconds, the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth (G2) and Toyota Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland. He won the Dwyer (G3) on Belmont (G1) Day and was a good third in the Haskell Invitational (G1) at Monmouth Park in late July.
“To cut back all the way to seven-eighths after a tough race in the Haskell, I’m so proud of this horse,” said Chad Brown, who trains Practical Joke for owners Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence. “He’s so versatile. It was his third race in seven weeks. He’s our iron horse.”