'Slightly off,' scratched Haskell horse Joevia could target Travers

Monmouth Park Communications
July 22, 2019 10:02am
'Slightly off,' scratched Haskell horse Joevia could target Travers
Photo: Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO
Michael and Jeff Fazio’s Joevia, who was scratched out of the Haskell Invitational (G1) field by trainer Gregg Sacco on race day, was treated for an injured right front foot Sunday morning.

“He has a little pulse in the foot," Sacco said. "It may be an abscess that’s ready to pop. That foot was a little warm and we just couldn’t take any chances.

"We’ll fight another day. It was heartbreaking and bad timing for the Fazio brothers, but the horse comes first, the horse always comes first with us, and we’ll fight another day."

Joevia was to be the first Haskell starter for the Fazio brothers and for Sacco, who grew up in his father’s barn on Monmouth’s backside and took over the stable in 1988. He is another trainer who got a ride on the emotional roller coaster.

“We were on the cusp of it. I was very excited," Sacco said. "I couldn’t believe it when this happened. But I’ve been doing this a long time, and I’ve certainly had a horse with a pulse in the foot before.

"Whether it’s a five (thousand-dollar) claimer or the Haskell, you have to scratch."

Joevia entered Haskell weekend off a local score in Monmouth Park's Long Branch Stakes, then proved himself to stay on for third after setting the pace in the Belmont Stakes.

"Distance isn’t going to be an issue for him moving forward," Sacco said. "I think he’s going to be an even better 4-year-old than he is as a 3-year-old. He’s a late-developing colt and he’s got everything ahead of him, and I’m happy to have him in the shedrow. He’s just a really cool horse."

Meanwhile, Sacco was working on that troublesome foot.

“We’ll get to bottom of it, and hopefully it’s something minor," the trainer added. "As soon as ‘Joe’ is back to 100 percent we’ll put him back in training and pick out the next spot for him. That’s yet to be determined until we know definitively what’s wrong with his foot. He’s slightly off and he’s not himself."

Sacco plans to be represented in at least one major race for 3-year-olds moving forward with Grade 1 winner Mind Control penciled in for the Allen Jerkens Memorial (G1) going seven furlongs on Aug. 24 at Saratoga. That same day, the Travers Stakes (G1) is featured, meaning Sacco may saddle more than one colt.

“You never know about Joe in the Travers,” he said.

2019 Travers Stakes (G1)


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