(Photo: Tyler Gaffalione guides Henley's Joy to victory in Gulfstream Park's Pulpit Stakes. Coglianese Photography)
From a Gulfstream Park press release:
HALLANDALE, BEACH – Bloom Racing Stable’s Henley’s Joy, winner of the $400,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile in September, rebounded from an off-the-board finish in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) Saturday, scoring a dominating 4 ½-length victory in the $75,000 Pulpit Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
The Pulpit, a mile turf event for 2-year-olds, was one of six stakes for juveniles that preceded the $600,000 Clasico Internacional del Caribe on an all-stakes 11-race program.
Sent to post as the 6-5 favorite in a field of nine, Henley’s Joy scored his second stakes victory in four career starts for Michael Maker, Kentucky Downs' all-time leading trainer. The son of Kitten’s Joy saved ground under Tyler Gaffalione as Life Mission showed the way around the first turn and along the backstretch, setting fractions of 23.69 and 46.63 seconds for the first half-mile. The Ben Colebrook-trained Life Mission, a maiden who finished second behind Henley’s Joy in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile, continued to show the way into the stretch before Henley’s Joy shot past him at the top of the stretch and drew off to score an easy victory.
Henley’s Joy, who finished 13th over a yielding turf course at Churchill Downs in the Breeders’ Cup, ran a mile over firm turf in 1:34.34 seconds. In his next start after Kentucky Downs, he finished second by a short head in Keeneland's Bourbon Stakes.
“His last race in the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Turf, he didn’t care for the soft going at all at Churchill Downs, so we figured we’d give him a confidence builder here,” Maker said. “The day after that race, he acted as if he hadn’t run at all, so instead of giving him rest, we decided to give him some confidence and run him here.”
Noble Mission finished second to collect his third stakes placing, a neck ahead of a late-running Louder Than Bombs.