Rispoli Secures G1 Double Aboard Johannes in Shoemaker Mile

May 28, 2024

Johannes victorious in the Shoemaker Mile (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Santa Anita Press Box

ARCADIA, Calif.— Jockey Umberto Rispoli won his second Grade I on Memorial Day at Santa Anita when piloting 4-year-old colt Johannes to his first top-level victory in the $300,000 Shoemaker Mile on turf.

Rispoli, who two races earlier won the GI Gamely on Anisette, settled Johannes (2-1) in mid-pack of an 11-horse field. They launched their bid near the quarter pole and reeled in a stubborn Funtastic Again (11-1), ridden by Frankie Dettori, to score by a half-length. Du Jour, who went off a slight favorite over Johannes, rallied under Flavien Prat to finish 1 ¾ lengths behind the winner in third.

“That was fantastic. I beat my idol,” said 35-year-old Rispoli who, like Dettori, hails from Italy. “I have so much respect for Frankie. Having my second Gamely and Shoemaker Mile on the same day is just a dream come true.”

Trained by Tim Yakteen, Johannes won in a sharp final time of 1:33.00. Funtastic Again led through an opening quarter mile in 22.28 seconds before 31-1 longshot Goliad and Kyle Frey took over and proceeded to set fractions of 45.50 and 1:09.20 for six furlongs. Funtastic Again, who was invading from Kentucky for trainer Wesley Ward, seized the lead at the top of the stretch but could not hold off the oncoming Johannes.

Johannes, by Nyquist, is a homebred for Cuyathy LLC. After making his first two starts on dirt as a 2-year-old in 2022, both losses, he was switched to turf and has since lost only once in six starts.

“He showed talent from the start, but to develop into this. I didn’t expect it in the early stages, but I’m very thankful for him and appreciative,” Yakteen said.

Last time out on April 4 at Santa Anita, Johannes returned from an 11-month layoff and won the GIII American Stakes at one mile on turf. Last year, he won the Baffle Stakes sprinting on the hillside turf course and the one-mile Pasadena before suffering his only turf loss at Churchill Downs in the GII American Turf on the Kentucky Derby undercard.

Johannes now has an overall record of 9: 5-0-1 with $423,859 in earnings.

Johannes paid $6.40, $4.00 and $3.00. Funtastic Again returned $10.00 and $6.80. Du Jour, ridden by Flavien Prat for trainer Bob Baffert, returned $3.20.

Live racing resumes Friday at Santa Anita with an eight-race card starting at 1 p.m. PT. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.

GRADE I, $300,000 SHOEMAKER MILE QUOTES

Rispoli gives Johannes some love after a big victory (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

JOCKEY QUOTES

UMBERTO RISPOLI, JOHANNES, WINNER: “I have to give credit to Leo, Erin, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, and to Tim. They do an amazing job and he is a lovely horse to ride. Sometimes a race doesn’t come out in the way you think, but luckily the races came up in the way I was thinking this morning. I’m very glad.

“He is very mature, even though he dropped me behind the gate today. I took out the ear plugs and he bucked me off, but he is very good horse. We always believed in him. Tim and the owners were very patient to give him a long break and the horse came back stronger than ever. He is a fantastic and good horse. That’s the type of horse you want to ride.

“That’s exactly what he did last time he was waiting for horses. Frankie (aboard Funtastic Again) wouldn’t let me go. That was fantastic, I beat my idol, I have so much respect for Frankie. Having my second Gamely and Shoemaker Mile on the same day is just a dream come true.” 

TRAINER QUOTES

TIM YAKTEEN, JOHANNES, WINNER: “I thought we had a beautiful trip. The cards folded very well in our favor, and we got a good trip. He came back excellent.  I want to thank Joe and Debbie they have been very patient giving him some time off after his campaign last year. We have been very fortunate. So far, everything has been falling into place.

“He showed talent from the start, but to develop into this. I didn’t expect it in the early stages, but I’m very thankful for him and appreciative.”

NOTES: The winning owner/breeder is Cuyathy, LLC.

Jonathan Stettin is a New York Legend. He's been a Horseplayer, earning his living at the track, since he was 19 years old. @jonathanstettin

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