Saffie Joseph, Jr, last year at Kentucky Downs (Coady Photography)
DRF en Espanol Returns
By Tim Wilkin for Kentucky Downs
FRANKLIN, Ky.— As he stood outside his barn on the backstretch at Saratoga Race Course last week, trainer Saffie Joseph was counting down the days to Kentucky Downs.
A year ago, Joseph finished third in the training standings with five wins – behind Mike Maker (12 wins) and Wesley Ward (six). He was 11th in earnings with $438,632.
“I love going there,” Joseph said.
Twenty-one horses from his barn started at the Kentucky Downs meet last year. He could not say how many would enter the starting gate during this seven-day meet, but he vows there will be plenty.
Saffie Joseph, Jr., scored five wins at Kentucky Downs’ 2022 meet:
Sept 1 $150K MSW
Max K. O.
Sept 1 $180K AOC
Sept 5 $70K Claiming
Sept 13 $170K AOC
Sept 14 $170K AOC
“We are running everything,” said Joseph, who first came to Kentucky Downs three years ago. “Every turf horse we have. I would like to run at least 30 at this meet. We’ll see.”
Over the first three days of the meet, which started Thursday, Joseph has nine horses entered and two others on the also eligible list. On Sunday, he plans on running, among others, 5-year-old gelding Saratoga Flash in a $500,000 handicap race. Saratoga Flash is owned by Daily Double Racing, LLC. The son of Laoban has won four of 15 career starts on the grass.
He said he plans on running Transient, a 5-year-old mare owned by Bob Edwards’ e Five Racing Thoroughbreds, in the $1 million, Grade 3 Aristocrat Ladies Marathon at 1 5/16 miles on Saturday, Sept. 9.
Bred in Great Britain, Transient is coming off a two-length win in the Powder Break Stakes at Gulfstream on July 15. That was the first win in four starts this year for the son of Sea The Stars.
“This is a unique meet, really is,” Joseph said. “I hope to be there the whole meet. This is the format tracks have to go now, the little boutique meets. When you go longer, it can get mundane.”
Joseph’s horses have begun to trickle into the barn area on the Kentucky Downs site. He said he has shipped some from Saratoga and others will be coming from his home base at Gulfstream Park in Florida.
“Some horses will handle the course, some won’t,” he said. “It is so unique. You go down the backside and the course goes down and then it comes up. We did good last year; if we can do as good this year, it would be nice.”
DRF en Espanol returns
Daily Racing Form’s DRF en Español returns on site with complete meet coverage in Spanish. Director Roberto Rodriguez, race announcer David Merida and the rest of the DRF en Español team. The coverage had more than 250,000 unique views last year, Rodriguez said.
The races will be streamed live on DRFenEspanol.com and Youtube.com/DRFenEspanol. Coverage will include daily handicapping, news, stakes analysis, track reports and more. Follow DRF en Español on
Rodriguez believes his coverage was perhaps they’ve done for DRF en Español “but it was a challenge,” he said. “It was especially a challenge for Dave. It’s really hard to call races here. But at the same time, it’s the complexion of the track, the purses, all the jockeys and trainers make it unique. It’s an honor to be here for the second year and ready to go. DRF is the place to be to watch all the races.”
Said Merida: “Not at many tracks do we get the chance to handicap races together with the jockeys. Last year we had the Ortiz brothers sitting at our table and we were really studying different angles. It’s so really accessible to work with the professionals.”
His biggest challenge calling the races? “The sun, after a certain time like maybe around 4 in the afternoon, all the silks look silver at the top of the stretch,” Merida said. “So, you have to work more with the numbers, take more care looking at the markings of the horse. The nose. The white markings on the legs. You can look at the monitor. That helps a lot. By the way, announcer Larry Collmus gave us pointers, and that helped a lot.”