Lord Miles breaks his maiden on debut Nov. 19 (Coglianese)
NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. boasts a stellar 7-3-0-2 record in graded stakes at the Big A, including wins by Mischevious Alex in the 2021 Grade 1 Carter Handicap, Drain the Clock in the 2021 Grade 3 Bay Shore and Officiating in last year’s Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap.
He will look to add to his local success when he sends out Vegso Racing Stable’s Kentucky homebred Lord Miles in the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino on April 8. The Barbados native could also send Run Cory Run or Knox for the final local Kentucky Derby prep which offers 100-40-30-20-10 qualifying points to the top-five finishers.
In addition, he will send Grade 1-winner White Abarrio up to New York from his Gulfstream Park base for the Grade 1, $300,000 Carter Handicap presented by NYRA Bets, a seven-furlong sprint for older horses on the same card.
Joseph, Jr. has started three horses in the Wood – all of them longshots – finishing fourth in 2019 with Math Wizard [64-1], while Skippylongstocking [17-1] and A.P.’s Secret [49-1] ran third and fourth, respectively, in last year’s tilt that featured a photo finish between two eventual Classic winners in the victorious Mo Donegal [Belmont Stakes] and Early Voting [Preakness].
Joseph, Jr. said he has no fear of being a longshot in sophomore stakes.
“With 3-year-olds, you never know when they’re going to step up,” Joseph, Jr. said. “The Wood has been a productive race for us. We haven’t won it, but those horses ran well and that gave us confidence to try different races with them off of that.”
Lord Miles, by Curlin and out of the Majestic Warrior mare Lady Esme, made his first three starts at Gulfstream Park. He graduated on debut in a six-furlong sprint in November before a rallying third in the one-mile Mucho Macho Man in which he was defeated just three-quarters of a length.
Watch Lord Miles’ maiden-breaking debut:
“He trained very good for his debut, but he was very green that day. He broke good and then dropped back and that’s been a problem we’ve had with him. But he still won that day going away,” Joseph, Jr. said. “In the Mucho Macho Man, at an extended distance, he should have been able to sit more handy, but it was a similar thing. He broke good and dropped back – at the quarter pole he was last and then he came running and just got beat.”
Joseph, Jr. attempted to address the lack-of-focus issue by adding blinkers to Lord Miles’ repertoire for the 1 1/16-mile Grade 3 Holy Bull in February, but the bay colt broke poorly and never factored. Last out, with blinkers off in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby on March 11, Lord Miles again posted an in-and-out performance, when sitting as close as fourth early on before dropping back to eighth and eventually finishing fifth.
“He put on blinkers in the Holy Bull and I was very disappointed. He didn’t run up to par that day,” Joseph, Jr. said. “He came back in the Tampa Bay Derby and ran sneaky good again, but he’s inconsistent in his races and how he travels. At the quarter-pole last time, it looked like he was completely done and then he came back on and ran fifth.”
Joseph, Jr. said he is hopeful stretching out to nine furlongs will benefit Lord Miles.
“I think the distance will be good for him, but we just need to teach him to be more handy throughout the races,” Joseph, Jr. said. “It just seems like he’s always struggling on-and-off the bridle. We’re hoping he can put it together. In the morning, he’s very handy, it’s just in his races he’s been doing this. If he can run a complete race, he has the ability.”
Gentry Farms’ Run Cory Run, by Accelerate, was purchased for $32,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. He graduated at second asking in January at Tampa Bay Downs traveling one mile and 40 yards to best next-out winner Summer Cause.
The Kentucky-bred Run Cory Run finished fourth last out in a nine-furlong optional-claiming tilt won by likely Wood Memorial rival Classic Catch, who is trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher.
“He broke his maiden well at Tampa and is coming out of a decent allowance race,” Joseph, Jr. said. “He’s a horse that’s progressive and the distance shouldn’t be a problem, so it would be a chance to see where we’re at.”
Run Cory Run is out of the Indian Charlie mare Frere Pilgrim, who is a half-sister to graded-stakes winner Tamarind Hall.
Arindel’s Florida-homebred Knox, by Brethren, boasts a record of 6-1-1-1. He graduated at first asking in June at Gulfstream and most recently closed to finish second in a seven-furlong optional-claimer at the Florida oval.
“He always gives himself a lot to do. We’ve been trying to get him into longer races here and the races just won’t go,” Joseph, Jr. said. “He ran good here the other day and the distance will be no problem with him.”
Out of the stakes-winning Afleet Alex mare Alexandra Rylee, Knox’s full brother, Clapton, captured the one-mile Gil Campbell Memorial Handicap last year at Gulfstream.
C2 Racing Stable and La Milagrosa Stable’s multiple graded-stakes winning millionaire White Abarrio captured the Grade 1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park in April en route to finishing 16th in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby. He completed a productive 7-2-1-1 sophomore campaign in December with a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap presented by NYRA Bets.
The 4-year-old Race Day colt, a five-time winner at Gulfstream, made his seasonal debut with an eighth-place effort in the nine-furlong Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Invitational.
Joseph, Jr. said White Abarrio will now focus on one-turn tests after an impressive optional-claiming win sprinting seven furlongs on March 4 at Gulfstream that garnered a career-best 103 Beyer.
“He ran really well when we got him back to seven-eighths and we’re going to stick to one-turn with him,” Joseph, Jr. said. “We tried the Pegasus because he’s so good on this track here, but at this stage of his career I think that one turn is best for him.”
White Abarrio worked a half-mile in 49.50 Saturday at Gulfstream and Joseph, Jr. said a good effort in the Carter could propel the popular grey colt to a start in the Grade 1, $1 million Hill ‘N’ Dale Metropolitan on June 10 at Belmont Park.
“The Met Mile could come into play, too, but this race [the Carter] is important,” Joseph, Jr. said. “If we can add another Grade 1 to his resume, it’s very important to his career as a stallion going forward.”