Henley’s Joy was purchased for $50,000 from Cary Frommer’s consignment at the 2018 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training
Four weeks after the Nov. 2 Qatar Twilight Derby (G2T) on the Breeders’ Cup undercard at Santa Anita Park, seven of its competitors meet again in the Nov. 30 Hollywood Derby (G1T) at Del Mar, joined by Digital Age and Standard Deviation, eastern invaders trained by Chad Brown.
As the final North American grade 1 turf race of the year for males—and a race restricted to 3-year-olds—the $300,000 Hollywood Derby is a popular destination. Thirteen horses are entered in the 1 1/8-mile race, and though most are California runners, Henley’s Joy, Uncle Bull, and Mr Dumas join the Brown-trained pair as having raced mostly out of state.
Henley’s Joy, the only grade 1 winner, is the most traveled of the group, with 10 starts in 2019 at seven racetracks. Following his victory in the July 6 Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes (G1T) at Belmont Park, he has gone unplaced in four starts, slowed at times by catching paceless races or experiencing troubled trips.
“Winning the race he did, competing against the horses he did, I thought he had a great year,” trainer Mike Maker said. “He got unlucky a few times, but that’s turf racing.”
A son of Kitten’s Joy owned by Bloom Racing Stable, Henley’s Joy ran fourth in the Twilight Derby, rallying belatedly after racing as far back as ninth. Rapidly advancing late, he closed his final eighth of a mile in :11.14, according to Trakus, checking in a half-length behind third-place Neptune’s Storm and three-quarters of a length behind runner-up Succeedandsurpass.
Wet weather forecast this week in Southern California could leave the turf course with more give in the ground than usual. Del Mar canceled racing Nov. 28 because of safety concerns over racing on a wet track.
“I don’t like the weather they’re going to get, but it’s nothing we can control,” said Maker, whose colt has not placed in three starts over wet courses ranging from good to yielding.
Drayden Van Dyke will ride Henley’s Joy, who remained in California following the Twilight Derby rather than shipping back and forth from Kentucky.
Just three entries are winners on damp turf: Standard Deviation, who took the Tale of the Cat Stakes on a good course at Monmouth Park June 1; Neptune’s Storm, an allowance winner at Santa Anita on similar ground Feb. 1; and Mr Dumas, who won the Commonwealth Turf Stakes (G3T) on good turf at Churchill Downs Nov. 9.
Standard Deviation followed his Tale of the Cat victory with a seventh behind Henley’s Joy in the Belmont Derby, a win in the Jersey Derby at Monmouth Park Aug. 18, and a third in the Hill Prince Stakes (G2T) Oct. 5 at Belmont Park—all of them on firm turf.
Eastern shippers have won the Hollywood Derby three consecutive years. Sandwiched between Brown’s two winners was the Tony Dutrow-trained Mo Town in 2017. The race was moved to Del Mar in 2014 after the closure of Hollywood Park in late 2013.
ENTRIES: HOLLYWOOD DERBY (G1T)
Del Mar, Saturday, November 30, 2019, Race 8
- Grade IT
- 1 1/8m
- 3 yo
- 3:33 PM (local)
|1||1Mo Forza (KY)||Paco Lopez||122||Peter Miller||5/1|
|2||2Kingly (KY)||Mario Gutierrez||122||Bob Baffert||20/1|
|3||3Uncle Bull (KY)||Joseph Talamo||122||Mark E. Casse||20/1|
|4||4Digital Age (IRE)||Javier Castellano||122||Chad C. Brown||6/1|
|5||5Neptune’s Storm (KY)||Abel Cedillo||122||Richard Baltas||9/2|
|6||6Nolde (KY)||Victor Espinoza||122||John A. Shirreffs||6/1|
|7||7Proud Pedro (FR)||Tiago Josue Pereira||122||Leonard Powell||30/1|
|8||8Henley’s Joy (KY)||Drayden Van Dyke||122||Michael J. Maker||6/1|
|9||9Standard Deviation (KY)||John R. Velazquez||122||Chad C. Brown||6/1|
|10||10Moody Jim (IRE)||Flavien Prat||122||Jeff Mullins||6/1|
|11||11Mr Dumas (KY)||Joseph Rocco, Jr.||122||John Alexander Ortiz||30/1|
|12||12Originaire (IRE)||Heriberto Figueroa||122||Jeff Mullins||20/1|
|13||13Succeedandsurpass (IRE)||Rafael Bejarano||122||Richard Baltas||12/1|