Saturday, August 4, 2012

Juvenile Spotlight: Jocosity and Fortify

The Distorted Humor sire line has proven to be a very productive one. Not only has it provided us with numerous grade one victors, but it has given us two of the most impressive maiden winners at the Saratoga meet yet in Jocosity and Fortify. Both two-year-old colts dominated their races, coasting to imposing victories and instilling racing fans with hope that they could be future superstars.


Yet Todd Pletcher juvenile to win in remarkable fashion at Saratoga, Jocosity dominated a two-year-old maiden special weight at the Spa on Friday, August 3. Though his name relates to humor, there was nothing humorous regarding his impressive victory on Friday. With his win, Jocosity displayed that he could very well join the likes of the champions
Big Brown and Uncle Mo – horses that strikingly broke their maidens at Saratoga prior to becoming a champion. Those are large shoes to fill for Jocosity, but he could certainly become a top racehorse.

Jocosity broke extremely sharply, going immediately to the lead beneath John Velazquez. With his outside post, Jocosity was forced to race wider than the others, but stayed near the lead as the juveniles continued down the backstretch. First-time starter Judge Wiley pressured him from the inside, but by the time a quarter of a blistering 21.79 had been set, Jocosity had opened up a one-length advantage that was widening.

As Velazquez remained stationary aboard him, the bay colt approached the homestretch with a blossoming lead on the six others. As Jocosity neared the conclusion of the far turn, Solis glanced behind him to evaluate the advancement of their rivals. But there were no real threats.

Velazquez set down on him as they reached the stretch, but it was only a learning experience for Jocosity. The others had no chance. Despite running a tad greenly, Jocosity continued to open up on the field, sailing to the wire with ease. Crossing the wire 7 ½ lengths in front, Jocosity posted an impressive final time of 1:02.85 – just 0.34 seconds off the track record.

Prior to breaking his maiden, Jocosity had contested twice – both starts coming twice over Woodbine’s all-weather track. In his first start, which came this June in a four and one-half-furlong maiden special weight, Jocosity did not come away from the gate well, breaking inward abruptly. He sat off of the pace set by Bear’s Fur while racing wide and was unable to catch that horse in the stretch, finishing second by 1 ½ lengths.

Interestingly, Jocosity already has stakes experience. In his second start, the colt finished second in the Clarendon Stakes at Woodbine in a trip that saw him stumble and come in contact with another horse at the start. Despite the troubled he endured, Jocosity crossed the wire in second. The fact that Jocosity’ s connections had enough confidence in her ability to send him into a stakes race in just his second start and before he had even won is very encouraging.

Not only has Jocosity been impressive on the track, but he is remarkably bred as well. Bred on a cross similar to that on which the graded stakes winners Cowtown Cat and Shumoos were bred, Jocosity has a pedigree fit for a gifted Thoroughbred.

Jocosity’s sire is Sharp Humor, a graded stakes-winning son of Distorted Humor who came within a half-length of defeating the late, great Barbaro in the Florida Derby (GI). In his rather young career, Sharp Humor has sired the graded stakes-winning Hero of Order, as well as such black-type winners as Angelica Zapata, Glint, Mildly Offensive, and Princess Cecilia. Sharp Humor’s sire, Distorted Humor, is one of the best sires in the nation, being last year’s leading sire in North America and the sire of such grade one winners as Commentator, Don Dandy,
Drosselmeyer, Flower Alley, Funny Cide, Hystericalady, and Pathfork.

Sobhy’s Gal, Jocosity’s young unraced dam, has also produced the winning filly Tell Her. Her own dam produced Miss Lola, an earner of over $175,000 who contested in three stakes races. The sire of Sobhy’s Gal is Stormy Atlantic, a son of the great Storm Cat. Though relatively new as a damsire, Stormy Atlantic’s future in that department looks bright, as Storm Cat is the broodmare sire of the champions Folklore and Speightstown.

The sire of Jocosity’s second dam is Carson City, the broodmare sire of Barbaro and Havre de Grace. Jocosity is a descendant of the prolific female family four, which has produced the Triple Crown winners Assault and Gallant Fox, as well as the champions Proud Spell, Real Quiet, and

Perhaps Jocosity’s jaw-dropping maiden victory on Friday was an indication of what the future holds, or maybe we will never see the same brilliance from him again. But with what he has shown on the track thus far, combined with his excellent pedigree, Jocosity could become an intimidating top racehorse that thrills and delights racing fans with his performances. Only time will tell.


A regally bred colt, this Darley homebred is a son of Distorted Humor, who, as aforementioned, is the sire of such grade one winners as Commentator, Don Dandy, Drosselmeyer, Flower Alley, Funny Cide, Hystericalady, and Pathfork. Distorted Humor has been ranked as one of the top five leading sires on the continent six of the past seven years, peaking at number one last year.

Fortify’s dam is the English mare Kotuku, who is a result of the mating between the great A.P. Indy and the group one-winning highweight mare Flagbird. This makes Kotuku a full sister to the graded stakes-winning Anasheed, as well as a half-sister to the listed-placed horses Dubai Belle and Marhoob. Flagbird is a daughter of the Reine De Course mare Up the Flagpole, the graded stakes-winning dam of three grade/group one winners, one grade two winner, and four stakes winners. Interestingly, one of those grade one winners is Prospectors Delite, the dam of the champion Mineshaft and the grade one winner Tomisue’s Delight.

Up the Flagpole herself is a daughter of a Reine De Course mare in The Garden Club, who also produced the multiple graded stakes-winning Nostalgia, the stakes-winning Blushing Cathy. This dam line is full of Reine De Course mares, as it is the Baby League branch of the La Troienne dam line. La Troienne, one of the greatest broodmares of all-time, can be found in the dam lines of such horses as the Kentucky Derby winners Go for Gin, Sea Hero, Smarty Jones, and Super Saver, as well as the champions Busher, Caerleon, Easy Goer, Folklore, Mineshaft, Pleasant Tap, Prairie Bayou, Princess Rooney, Rhythm, and Woodman.

Fortify’s broodmare sire, A.P. Indy, only adds to the excellence of this colt’s pedigree. The son of the great Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew has yielded the dams of many top racehorses, including such grade one winners as Bluegrass Cat, Mr. Sidney, Plum Pretty, Royal Delta, Super Saver, and Wait a While. A.P. Indy has been among the top twenty-five damsires on the continent for the past six years, peaking at number four last year.

Fortify’s spectacular pedigree shone through on Saturday, August 4 when he made his debut at Saratoga. Going six and one-half furlongs over the dirt, Fortify was restless in the gate, but broke well, joining a contingent that went to the lead. He took the lead for a short moment, but Boss Man Rocket – the only horse with experience in the eight-horse field – shot up his inside, leading the way as the two-year-olds raced down the backstretch.

Fortify settled beneath Joe Bravo, allowing Boss Man Rocket to lengthen his advantage to a length and one-half as an initial quarter of 21.73 was recorded. The Darley homebred loomed on Boss Man Rocket’s outside, overtaking him as the far turn began. As Bravo sat still aboard him, Fortify commanded the field as the track began to curve. Nearing the conclusion of the turn, Bravo began to urge the bay colt he was aboard, keeping several lengths between his colt and the others as they swept into the homestretch.

With a half-mile time of 44.93 appearing on the toteboard, Fortify galloped into the homestretch with overwhelming ease and dominance, frolicking down the straightaway while the others failed to keep up with him. Bravo kept to work aboard him, but Fortify had the race in hand, galloping to a 5 ½-length victory, leaving racing fans commending his debut as excitement grew within them regarding this colt’s future.

Fortify certainly has future superstar stamped next him in my books. With one of the most impressive, regal pedigrees you could come across and a debut that could not have been much more remarkable, Fortify is a name racing fans should get used to saying, hearing, and reading about. I could rave not only about his bloodlines all day long, but also his racing talent. Though just a two-year-old with only one race under his belt, this Kiaran McLaughlin trainee is a special Thoroughbred.

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