Justenuffhumor does family proud in Fourstardave
Darley Stable's JUSTENUFFHUMOR (Distorted Humor) lived up to his illustrious pedigree with an authoritative 2 1/2-length victory in his stakes debut in Sunday's $158,750 Fourstardave H. (G2) at Saratoga. A half-brother to 2006 champion juvenile filly Dreaming of Anna and multiple Grade 2 winner Lewis Michael, full siblings by Rahy, Justenuffhumor became the latest graded stakes winner produced from the multiple stakes winner Justenuffheart (Broad Brush), herself a half-sister to 2004 turf champion male Kitten's Joy (El Prado [Ire]) and multiple Grade 1 winner Precious Kitten (Catienus). Justenuffhumor returned $9.50, $6.30 and $3.50 as the 7-2 third choice in a field of nine.
Traveling along the inside in the second tier, Justenuffhumor bided his time under Alan Garcia as 2-1 favorite Cowboy Cal (Giant's Causeway) led through the opening mile while setting fractions of :23 4/5, :47 3/5, 1:12 2/5 and 1:36 4/5. Advancing rounding the far turn while still hugging the hedge, Justenuffhumor moved out slightly in the stretch and split horses to win going away, finishing up 1 1/16 miles on the good turf in 1:42 4/5. Mambo Meister (King Cugat), the 15-1 invader from Calder, rallied up the inside late to edge Cowboy Cal for the place by a half-length, giving back $14 and $4.80. Cowboy Cal held off Cosmonaut (Lemon Drop Kid) by three parts of a length for the show and gave back $2.80. The exacta was worth $91, the trifecta $345.50, and the 2-7-1-4 superfecta $1,639.
Veiled Prophet (Kingmambo), Wesley (El Prado [Ire]), Interpatation (Langfuhr), Kip Deville (Kipling) and Papa Bear (Distorted Humor) rounded out the order of the finish. For Kip Deville, the 2007 Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) winner who was the 5-2 second choice, it was his fourth unplaced finish from his last five starts.
The Fourstardave was Justenuffhumor's fifth win in as many attempts on the turf. After finishing ninth of 11 in his Polytrack debut at Keeneland last October, the four-year-old has reeled off five straight beginning with a maiden score at Gulfstream on January 14. He later knocked out his first three allowance conditions at Gulfstream, Aqueduct and Belmont. With this victory he pushed his career earnings to $197,400.
"We have to keep stepping up," trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. "We'll obviously look at the Bernard Baruch (H. [G2] at Saratoga on August 28). I'm just thankful we're training at Greentree (Training Center over the synthetic surface), not to miss any works with this horse during the rainy weather -- it helps."
Bred by Mt. Brilliant Farm in Kentucky, Justenuffhumor was a $550,000 Keeneland September yearling and also counts as half-siblings the unnraced juvenile filly Justenufftime (Giant's Causeway) and an unnamed yearling colt by Storm Cat. In addition to the luminaries in Justenuffhumor's immediate family, this female line is also responsible for Hall of Famer Spectacular Bid (Bold Bidder) and the Grade 1 winners Down the Aisle (Runaway Groom) and Road Princess (*Gallant Man).
Jim Dandy runners look ahead
KENSEI (Mr. Greeley), who powered home to a 2 1/4-length victory over WARRIOR'S REWARD (Medaglia d'Oro) in Saturday's Jim Dandy (G2), came out of the race in good shape, according to trainer Steven Asmussen's assistant Larry Ulrich.
In his first start around two turns, Kensei stalked Warrior's Reward through six furlongs in 1:11.55 and then surged away from the field in the stretch.
"He'll have a couple of walk days, and Steve will come back here and figure out where to go with him," Ulrich said.
Among the options is the 140th running of the $1 million Travers (G1) on August 29.
Trainer Ian Wilkes is looking toward the Travers for Warrior's Reward after the colt exited the Jim Dandy in good shape with his determined second-place finish to Kensei.
"He ran hard and fast -- 1:47 4/5," Wilkes said, referring to the winner's final time. "That's a tough run. Kensei was just too tough yesterday. I'm looking forward to the challenge when we meet him. One thing that can be said about this game -- there's always another race. Hopefully, we can do better the next time against him."
The plans for third-place finisher CHARITABLE MAN (Lemon Drop Kid) are up in the air, said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. The Peter Pan S. (G2) hero raced wide for most of the race and was beaten by a neck for second.
"He ran well and came of the race in good shape," McLaughlin said. "I thought Kensei was the logical favorite to me. We were hung wide and there was a little bit of bumping going down the backstretch. We'll have to wait and see what happens. We'll see how things are going and who's going into the race. We have to look at our options."
SARATOGA SINNER (Harlan's Holiday), who stalked the early pace along the rail and faded badly to last, came out of the race fine, according to trainer Eddie Kenneally, but will no longer point toward the Travers.
The Jim Dandy was his first start since winning the Holy Bull S. (G3) in January at Gulfstream Park. In the interim, he had a chip removed from his left front knee.
"We'll probably regroup and find a little easier spot than that," Kenneally said of the Travers.
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