|As disappointed as racegoers have been with not being able to fill up the grandstands at their favorite tracks this year, imagine how Margaret’s Joy felt Wednesday as she cruised down the Churchill Downs stretch en route to her first victory.|
As the daughter of English Channel out of Spooky Kitten was running down the leaders in the $85,000 maiden special at one mile on the grass, twice she turned her head to the right as if searching the stands for the friendly faces who wagered on her at odds of 7/2. Jockey Joe Talamo was able to keep her mind on her business, and the 4-year-old filly was up at the wire to win by a neck and collect $49,092 for Tropical Racing and Circle 8 Ranch. After finishing third in her last two races at Kentucky Downs and Ellis Park, the $25,000 Keeneland September yearling bred by Calumet Farm won in her fifth start for trainer Michelle Nihei, boosting her bank account to $64,112. It took a superb ride by Talamo after Margaret’s Joy was trailing about 10 lengths behind the leaders heading down the backstretch. The veteran rider put her in overdrive on the turn and the filly had to muscle her way between horses at the top of the stretch before embarking on her powerful late run (with time out to check the grandstand). The victory continued the hot streak by Tropical Racing and Circle 8 runners in the last 2 1/2 months, in time as the lucrative winter meetings draw closer.