Where have you gone, Jersey Joe Bravo? A nation turns it’s lonely eyes to you, woo, woo, woo.
I love those cavalry charge turf races with 40 or more thundering hooves mowing the green lawns of American racetracks. And when those full fields happen to be battling it out for bragging rights in a graded stakes race, it’s that much better. Apparently, I am not the only one. No need to wonder where Joltin’ Joe has gone Mrs. Robinson, he just swept the twin features today at Gulfstream Park.
A dominant rider in New Jersey for the better part of two decades, Joe Bravo had one of the biggest days in his career at his Winter home. The Grade 3 Ft. Lauderdale Stakes started things, and saw Bravo take his mount, Little Mike, right to the lead from his outside post position and lead the field on a merry chase. That is until multiple graded stakes winner Blues Street came charging to him inside the eighth pole. 12-1 shot Little Mike and Bravo had something left though, as together they dug in gamely to hold off their challenger by a determined nose. It was a beautiful ride and a nice win for Bravo, but he was not done.
In the next race, the Grade 3 Marshua’s River Stakes, things unfolded decidedly different for Jersey Joe, but with a similarly happy result. Bravo took his charge, four-year-old filly Justaroundmidnight, far back early before cutting her loose for the stretch run. The 26-1 bomber from the Patrick Biancone barn, circled the field of 13 and rolled down the lane to get up late for a half-length decision over front running longshot Persuading, who led from the start. The rallying win completed a unique and impressive stakes double for the veteran rider.
Not a bad’s day work for Jersey Joe Bravo. Two graded stakes wins, with two longshots, one on the pace, and the other coming from well back. Not surprisingly, Bravo’s fans are showing their appreciation. Congratulatory messages are coming in fast and furious on his Facebook page, and with good reason. A $2 win wager on his two stakes mounts yielded a chubby return of $81.80, or if you were feeling a bit more exotic, the all Joe Bravo daily double returned a whopping $648.60 for a $2 investment. Way to go, Jersey Joe!