Saturday, September 4th, 2021   ( 3 weeks ago )

Joker Boy No Joke Saturday in Winning Del Mar's I'm Smokin'

Joker Boy | Benoit Photo

Joker Boy © Benoit Photo

Brown, Klein and Lebherz’s Joker Boy shook off several challenges and drew away late to tally by three and a half lengths Saturday at Del Mar in the $100,500 I’m Smokin’ Stakes for California-bred 2-year-olds.

The colt by Practical Joke had Edwin Maldonado in the irons for trainer Brian Koriner as he picked up a winner’s check for $57,000 to enhance his bankroll to $99,000 and his record to two-for-two. He ran the six furlongs in 1:10.77.

Finishing second in the stakes was Lovingier, London or Zondlo’s Rock N Rye, the 7/5 race favorite, and running third was Lovingier, Beckerle or Carrillo’s Thirsty Always.

The winner paid $19.80, $6.20 and $3.60 across the board. Rock N Rye returned $3.20 and $2.40, while Thirsty Always paid $2.60.

The race is part of the $4.35 million Golden State Series for California breds that consists of 36 races at five different tracks around the state. Del Mar hosts eight of them.


EDWIN MALDONADO   (Joker Boy, winner) – “I told Brian (trainer Koriner) that we were going to be the real deal today. This horse is special. When I first got on him I didn’t think he was a 2-year-old. He acted like an old horse. I took a hold of him the other day (when he came from far back to win his first start); today I just let him run out of there. He can run on, this horse. I have no doubt about that. He’s the real deal.”

BRIAN KORINER (Joker Boy, winner) “After he won we thought of this race. We thought he might be good enough to go in the Futurity. But then you’ve got Bob Baffert freaks in there so we opted for the easier spot and it worked out. Now on Breeders’ Cup Day they have a Cal-bred race for $150,000 or $200,000 (it is the $175,000 Golden State Juvenile Stakes at seven furlongs) and that will be next. It should be no problem for him.”


FRACTIONS:  :22.03  :45.29  :57.71  1:10.77 

The stakes win was the first of the meeting for rider Maldonado and his first in the I’m Smokin’. He now has nine stakes wins at Del Mar.

The stakes win was the first of the meeting for trainer Koriner and his first in the I’m Smokin’. He now has nine stakes wins at Del Mar.

The owners are Rusty Brown of Irvine, Alan Kline and Phil Lebherz.