YESTERDAY’S NEWS: ROCKIN JOJO RETURNS WITH A WIN
Rockin Jojo made her return from the sidelines a triumphant one yesterday evening at Penn National.
The Bernie Houghton trainee, the 6-5 favorite in the first level allowance going six furlongs, stalked the pace of C R S Angels while between horses, wandered a little bit in the lane, and then rallied in the final furlong to win by a length in a modest time of 1:12.38 for six furlongs. C R S Angels held second, and Without Thought was third.
The win, under jockey Julio Hernandez, pushed Rockin Jojo’s career record to 11-3-2-4 and upped her earnings to $159,692.
It was the Bernie Houghton trainee’s first start since July 2015, when she finished third in allowance company at Parx Racing, which turned out to be the finale of a disappointing, winless season for the daughter of Street Magician.
She’d shown substantial promise as a juvenile, in 2014, winning twice in five starts and finishing in the money two other times while earning over $100,000.
Her furious rally in that year’s Maryland Million Lassie fell just a half-length short, when she finished third behind My Magician. That was her first black type, and in her next race, she earned her first stakes win, winning the Blue Mountain Juvenile Fillies by 1 1/2 lengths as the 7-5 favorite.
Rockin Jojo is owned by Michael Cox and was bred in Pennsylvania by David Miller and Skymarc Farm.
- Jeff Runco runners went one-two in a maiden special weight event at Charles Town last night, the second times that’s happened in recent weeks. True Concern, with Arnaldo Bocachica up, rallied from almost five lengths back to take charge and hold off stablemate Ready to Serve by three parts of a length in 1:20.86 for 6 1/2 furlongs. True Concern, a three-year-old Great Notion colt, was making his career debut, while Ready to Serve finished second for the second consecutive start. True Concern paid $4.40 as the 6-5 second choice; Ready to Serve was favored.
- True Concern’s win was one of three on the day for jockey Arnaldo Bocachica. He also won claiming races with Passion for Money and Footinmouthaffair and now has 47 wins on the season. His three wins last night came for three different trainers.
- David Cora rode three winners at Penn National. He guided Salvation to an easy score in maiden claiming company and took claimers with Woodland Babe and Key to a Cure. He has 19 wins so far this year.
- Trainer Tim Kreiser took a pair at Penn National yesterday, winning claiming races with Sweet Liam and Key to a Cure. He has 37 wins at Penn National so far this year — 16 more than Paulina Sinnefia in second.
LOOKING AHEAD: TODAY’S RACING
- An interesting first-level allowance for three-year-old fillies sprinting six furlongs on the main track tops the Laurel Park card today; it’s race eight. The race features the return of Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship winner Look Who’s Talking (7-2); the Maryland-bred daughter of Cape Blanco, trained by Hamilton Smith, has been away since logging that score the day after Christmas. Onetime Big Move of the Week horse Girls Got Rhythum (6-1) also is here, off a disappointing fifth, as the favorite, against similar, as is Linda Rice trainee Big Thrill (9-2), who won by four at first asking at Saratoga but has lost her last two. But favoritism falls to Christophe Clement-trained Width (2-1), making her first start since October; after winning at first asking, she ran fourth, as the favorite, in the Grade 1 Frizette in the Belmont slop.
- A split maiden special weight test going 1 1/16 miles on the turf will be races five and seven at Laurel Park. In the first, Kelly Rubley trainee Eleven Cent Fainor (5-2) gets the nods as favorite off a fifth place finish against Gulfstream maidens; one of two to run back has won. In the second, Hoppala (3-1) is favored with an intriguing past performance log; the Irish-bred Acclamation gelding failed to break his maiden in five tries in Ireland but was second or third in four of them. He’ll be making his first start for new trainer Eddie Graham, losing the blinkers he’d worn in his last two, and receiving Lasix for the first time.
- In Charles Town’s third race, a 4 1/2 furlong allowance sprint, last year’s Coin Collector winner, Hear the Chatter (5-2), makes his season debut for trainer John Casey. The Mass Media gelding ran second as the favorite in the seven furlong West Virginia Lottery Breeders Classic last October and hasn’t run since October 24. He’ll have regular rider Gerald Almodovar in the irons. But favoritism falls to Kevin Patterson trainee Karfagen (8-5), first or second four straight times.
- A.P. Cino (7-2) returns to the the track — and level — where he won twice in February in an allowance-optional claimer that’s race five at Penn National this evening. The Mike Trombetta-trained closer found the going a little deep at Laurel last out but may find this a congenial spot, particularly since there appears to be plenty of early speed in the 1 mile 70 yard affair to give closers like him a legit shot to run on late. Dana Whitney will ride. Favored for the win spot, however, is Chuck Lawrence trainee Old Upstart (5-2), who finished second against similar last out in his first start in 10 months; he’ll have David Cora in the irons.