Joyful Cadence Looks to Give Runhappy First Oaklawn Stakes Win

After becoming Runhappy’s first Oaklawn winner, lightly raced Joyful Cadence will try to become the stallion’s first Oaklawn stakes winner in Saturday’s $200,000 Purple Martin for 3-year-old filly sprinters.

Owned by former Walmart executive William Simon, Joyful Cadence exits a front-running 8 ¾-length maiden special weights victory sprinting March 4 at Oaklawn. After finishing seventh in her Jan. 15 career debut at Turfway Park, Joyful Cadence will now tackle winners for the first time following her blowout victory.

“She came out of that race in fairly great shape,” trainer John Ortiz said Wednesday morning. “We were very pleased with her demeanor after the race as well. She’s just a filly that understands what the game is about now. She’s come back and worked a couple of times and she still has some real good energy. I think it’s a good time to take a shot at black type in a stakes race.”

Joyful Cadence is from the first crop of Runhappy, an Eclipse Award winner (male sprinter) in 2015 for colorful owner James “Mattress Mack” McIngvale who now stands at historic Claiborne Farm in Kentucky. Following a sluggish 2020, Runhappy had 11 winners this year through Tuesday. Nicky the Vest became the stallion’s first stakes winner in the $100,000 Gander Feb. 14 at Aqueduct. Runhappy hasn’t had a female black-type winner.

“Obviously, you get a little stakes win on a filly, any kind, you’re looking at increasing the broodmare value,” Ortiz said. “There’s a lot of interest in doing that with the fillies. Now the Runhappys, it’s something we’re all excited to see, how these horses have been developing. It looks like they’re developing a little bit better as 3-year-olds. Hopefully, we’re part of making history here with this stallion and this filly.”

Simon purchased Joyful Cadence for $235,000 at the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Joyful Cadence is a half-sister to Grade 3 winner Country Grammer, who finished fifth in the $1 million Runhappy Travers Stakes (G1) for 3-year-olds last August at Saratoga.

Joyful Cadence (9-2 on the morning line) is scheduled to break from post 5 in the projected field-horse field. The Purple Martin also attracted Devilish Wit (6-1), Windmill (9-5), Abrogate (2-1) and Southern Grayce (3-1). Windmill and Abrogate finished 1-3, respectively, in the $150,000 Dixie Belle Stakes Feb. 28 at Oaklawn.

“I was very happy with the way this race was drawn up,” Ortiz said. “Obviously, you’re looking at a short field. There are some competitive fillies in this race. I think they’re all pretty evenly matched, if you ask me. I think we belong and the best part about being on the outside is you’re able to dictate the race a little bit better. Obviously, everybody wants to be in the front here. But sitting on the outside, you’re able to sit just off the pace or put a little pressure on everybody and see who lasts the longest when they come down the stretch.”

Probable post time for the Purple Martin, which goes as the sixth of 12 races, is 3:09 p.m. (Central). Racing begins Saturday at 12:30 p.m., with the infield open, weather permitting.

Highlighting Saturday’s card is the $600,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles. Fantasy entrants are West Side Girl (12-1), Ava’s Grace (8-1), Sylvia Q (5-1), Coach (5-1), Take Charge Lorin (6-1), Sun Path (2-1) and Pauline’s Pearl (9-5).

Pauline’s Pearl and Sun Path ran 2-3, respectively, in the $300,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 6. The Honeybee is the final major local prep for the Fantasy, which was won last year by eventual Eclipse Award-winning 3-year-old filly Swiss Skydiver.

Probable post time for the Fantasy, which goes as race 11, is 5:54 p.m.

Finish Lines

A double last Friday at Oaklawn pushed jockey Luis Quinonez’s career total in Hot Springs to 610. Quinonez was Oaklawn’s leading rider in 2007. … Seven-time Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr. entered Wednesday with 588 career victories in Hot Springs and a record $29,396,509 in purse earnings. Santana had a meet-high 42 victories this year. … Bob’s Edge, a sharp March 21 entry-level allowance winner at Oaklawn, will be pointed for the $200,000 Bachelor Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters, trainer Larry Jones said. The 6-furlong Bachelor is April 24 at Oaklawn. … Through Sunday, Day 31 of Oaklawn’s 51-day meeting, 306 claims had totaled $5,470,000.