With two major wins under his belt– the Hopeful Stakes (2016) and Champagne Stakes (2016)– Practical Joke has a confident attitude that his breeder, Allen Crupper, thinks will serve him well on Saturday. Crupper, the co-owner of Whispering Oaks along with his brother Keith, recently told Blood Horse, “It is a race that is hard to predict… I feel safe saying he is in the top five. I feel almost as safe saying he gets on the board. After the Mine That Bird experience, though, anybody can win it. It just has to be your day.”
Riding Practical Joke will be jockey Joel Rosario, who is known for his impressive wins at the Dubai World Cup and Kentucky Derby in 2013.
Read on for Practical Jokes’ history, stats, wins, and more information about Joel Rosario.
1. Practical Joke Is Owned by William H. Lawrence at Klaravich Stables, Inc.Practical Joke was born to Whispering Oaks owners and brothers Keith and Allen Crupper, who were forced to sell him shortly after he made his way into the world. Crupper tells Blood Horse:
“We kept thinking we would get a horse like Practical Joke and actually own him, but it didn’t work out for us… By the time we got Practical Joke, we were ready to sell. We’re a small farm and he was very pretty, so he had to find a new home. At that point, Into Mischief was going up the charts and (Practical Joke) was going to be more horse than we could afford to keep.”
The colt was purchased at the 2014 Keeneland January winter mixed sale to Brian Graves, the director of public sales at Gainesway, for $135,000. He was then resold for $240,000 to Aquinnah Ventures, before landing in the hands of Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence.
2. The Thoroughbred Was Born April 15, 2014
Practical Joke is a Grade 1-winning Thoroughbred racehorse bred in Kentucky whose career started at Saratoga on August 6, 2016. Though he bumped into another horse leaving the gate, Practical Joke won the race by 5 lengths.
2017 marks Practical Joke’s three-year-old season, and he’s heading into the Kentucky Derby with 16/1 odds, according to Forbes (in a post updated May 2).
3. His Trainer Recently Decided He Will Not Wear BlindersOn Wednesday, Paulick Report revealed that Practical Joke’s trainer, Chad Brown, has decided that he will not wear blinkers during the race on Saturday.
Practical Joke only recently started training with a small-cup set, but Brown has said, “My main concern is that he is settled for the entire race and obeying the rider’s commands at all times, and I think the safest thing to do is leave him the way he is — and I think he’ll be that way for Joel (Rosario).”
He did not wear blinkers while training at Churchill Downs on Tuesday morning, as seen in the photo above.
4. He Has Earned Upwards of $1 Million Over the Course of His Career
Practical Joke has earned approximately $1,015,800 over the course of his career, according to Equibase. So far, his 2017 earnings are $276,000.
Joel Rosario, the jockey riding Practical Joke on Saturday, is a 32-year-old Dominican jockey who won the world’s richest race horse, the Dubai World Cup, in 2013. Rosario learned his jockey license at age 14, and has won over 2,500 races over the course of his career.
5. He Is Trained by Chad C. Brown
Practical Joke is trained by Chad Brown, who’s known for training a number of Eclipse Award winners, like Stacelita, Big Blue Kitten and Flintshire. In 2016, Brown received the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer.
In September 2016, Practical Joke earned a victory in the Hopeful Stakes in Saratoga Springs, where Brown frequented as a child. After the win, Brown told the Times Union, “It’s been a pleasure to train him… That first race I thought he ran well and his second time here he also came back to run a huge race.”
The horse trainer was born in Mechanicville in upstate New York, and his passion for horses developed as a result of frequent trips he would take with his family to Saratoga race track. Brown first began working with Standardbreds at Saratoga Raceway, and subsequently studied animal science at Cornell University.