First-crop sires: Practical Joke's off to serious start as sire

June 24th, 2021

Freshman Orientation: Practical Joke's off to serious start as sire

Practical Joke became the second Grade 1 winner from fast-rising sire Into Mischief when sweeping the Hopeful S. (G1) and Champagne S. (G1) in 2016. The Ashford Stud stallion is off to a successful start with his first crop, producing three debut winners before the first day of summer, and Practical Joke appears poised to make a major impact in the 2021 freshman sire ranks.

Practical Joke’s profile

A $240,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase, Practical Joke romped by five lengths when making his career debut at Saratoga the following August. The muscular Kentucky-bred colt improved to 3-for-3 with narrow wins in the Hopeful and Champagne, and Practical Joke concluded his two-year-old season with a rallying third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1).

The Juvenile marked his first two-turn attempt, and Practical Joke opened his three-year-old campaign with runner-up finishes in the Fountain of Youth (G2) and Blue Grass (G2). After an even fifth in the Kentucky Derby (G1), he cut back to a one-turn trip with a two-length score in the Dwyer S. (G3).

Practical Joke added the seven-furlong H. Allen Jerkens (G1) to his ledger later that summer, and he concluded his racing career with a third in the Cigar Mile (G1) in early December. Owned by Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence, the Chad Brown-trained bay headed to stud with more than $1.7 million in earnings from a 12-5-2-3 record.

Out of the Distorted Humor mare Halo Humor, Practical Joke stood for $22,500 fee in 2021 at Ashford in Versailles, Kentucky.

He’s checking all the boxes early in his stud career.

His progeny are flashing talent on the racetrack, displaying the precocity coveted by breeders. Practical Joke has a whopping 139 registered foals in his first crop, and his offspring have proved popular in the sales ring, averaging $185,181 from 49 two-year-olds sold at auction.

First winner: Catchusifyoucan

Practical Joke raced from off the pace – he was never better than fourth at the first call in any start – and Catchusifyoucan utilized the same late-running skills to become the first winner from the new sire, rallying boldly up the rail to prevail at Lone Star Park on May 22.

A homebred filly for Tom Durant, the Bret Calhoun-trained filly didn’t break poorly in the 4 1/2-furlong test, but Catchusifyoucan could not keep up during the initial stages, retreating to nearly 10 lengths behind as the field entered the far turn.

The dark bay miss closed with a rush to score by a half-length, and Catchusifyoucan will jump to stakes competition for her second start, Saturday’s $150,000 Debutante S. at Churchill Downs.

Second winner: Wit

Wit may be a serious player in Saratoga two-year-old stakes for Todd Pletcher. Favored at 2-5 in his career debut, a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight on the June 5 Belmont S. (G1) undercard, the dark bay colt was away last of eight after breaking a step slow.

He quickly overcame the tardy beginning, sweeping authoritatively to the lead on the far turn with Jose Ortiz, and entered the stretch with a widening advantage. Wit registered a commendable 87 Brisnet Speed rating for the six-length decision.

Out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Numero d’Oro, Wit sold for $575,000 at the 2020 Keeneland September sales. He’s campaigned by Repole Stable, St. Elias Stable, and Gainesway Farm.

Third winner: Shesawildjoker

Shesawildjoker appeared to be training forwardly in preparation for her first outing, and the David Donk-trained filly did not disappoint as the 2-1 favorite, recording a neck decision over restricted maiden special weight foes at Belmont Park on June 18.

After pressing the pace from her rail post, the New York-bred bay advanced to challenge for the lead and battled gamely through the stretch to narrowly prove best at 5 1/2 furlongs. The $80,000 Keeneland September graduate received an 84 Speed rating. Shesawildjoker is the first runner from the Speightstown mare Tarquinia.

About the series

Freshman Orientation is a series highlighting five different sires with a first crop of 2-year-old Thoroughbreds. Could the juveniles show up at the Breeders' Cup or even the 2022 Kentucky Derby? Follow along and find out!

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