Journey Home looks to validate after bizarre Jimmy Durante victory

December 30, 2016 06:08am
Journey Home wins at DMR (11-26-16)
Photo: Benoit Photo/Del Mar

The racing career of Journey Home began in a normal enough way. She made her career debut for trainer Graham Motion at Laurel Park in early November. The daughter of War Front got up to win by a neck in the 1 1/16-mile turf test, closing with a strong rush after getting off the rail. A solid debut, but it was in her second start, however, in which things got a little more interesting.


Shipped west for the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante Stakes at Del Mar, the Sam-Som Farm owned juvenile filly was sent off at odds of nearly 8-1 in the large field of 13 young fillies. Run during unusually wet and windy conditions at the seaside oval, the race turned out to be one of the strangest of the season. As the baker’s dozen entered the clubhouse turn, foam drain covers that had blown on the turf course caused several of the horses to run anything but straight paths to avoid the debris. It was quite a scene.


Well back in the field from the beginning, Journey Home looked to be one of the few fillies that was not affected by the obstacles. Having said that, little should be taken away from the victory.


Launching a sustained four-furlong rally on the backstretch under Drayden Van Dyke, Journey Home powered home on the outside to win her stakes debut going away by a length-and-a-quarter. It was an impressive looking stretch run for a filly making only her second career start, but given the bizarre circumstances of the race, some doubts remain about the validity of the result.


Much like when she traveled west with only a narrow victory in Maryland under her belt, Journey Home will need to validate her graded stakes win in her next start. That chance will come tomorrow in the featured Blue Norther Stakes at Santa Anita.


This time, the $200,000 yearling purchase, could go favored. Then again, considering what happened at Del Mar, she may be disrespected again. She’s listed as the 7-2 morning line favorite in the field of 11, also to be run at one-mile on the grass. In the field, will be several fillies who were in the Jimmy Durante, including the English-bred Miss Sugars, who ran a very good fourth after being one of several to be forced out on the first turn.


Can Journey Home win her third straight without a loss in the Blue Norther, or will the Jimmy Durante victory prove to be a strangely run fluke? It’s hard to say, as we’ve never seen anything quite like the last one, but there can be no denying that the eventual winner of the eventful race looked pretty good.



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Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, American Pharoah and Justify. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. His new racing partnership venture, Derby Day Racing, invites more fans to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership.

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, created the popular racing show, HorseCenter and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as hosting HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

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A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.

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