Trainer Saffie Joseph Planning Make It Big’s Next Start

Red Oak Stable’s Make It Big gave trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. good reason to start making plans along the Road to the Kentucky Derby when he captured the $400,000 Springboard Mile at Remington Park in Oklahoma City, Okla., Friday night.

The Gulfstream Park-based 2-year-old son of Neolithic earned 10 qualifying points for this year’s first leg of the Triple Crown with a thoroughly professional half-length victory over Osbourne as the 6-5 favorite.

“We are, obviously, very excited. He was stepping up in class, shipping for the first time and going two turns [for the first time]. He handled it all as good as you could ask for,” said Joseph, who didn’t venture to Oklahoma for the Springboard Mile. “He sat in the pocket, made a move down the backside, and was gutsy enough to hold off Osbourne.”

The Florida-bred colt, who was purchased at the OBS April sale for $120,000, sat off a contested pace, made a three-wide sweep on the far turn, and prevailed over Osbourne following a stretch-long battle to remain undefeated in three starts.

“The [Feb 5] Holy Bull might come a little quick, but everything is still in play. Maybe the Fountain of Youth,” Joseph said. “We’ll talk it over with the ownership group and Rick Sacco, the stable manager. He was the one that recommended after he won last time that we should try this race [Springboard Mile]. It turned out a perfect choice of race.”

Distance wouldn’t seem to be a concern for the long-striding colt.

“You would think the more distance the better. That’s how he trained. Up until six weeks before he made his debut, he kind of seemed he’d go long, long, long,” Joseph said. “He was lacking that early speed. When we put blinkers on him, they gave him that dynamic, showing some speed. We already knew he had the stamina. He’s really turned around.”

Make It Big debuted with a front-running 8 ½-length victory at seven furlongs Oct. 8 before winning the seven-furlong Juvenile for Florida-breds by 2 ¼ lengths following an awkward break Oct. 30.

“He led the first time. The second time, he sat off [the pace]. This time, he sat between horses. He keeps getting better and better, slowly but surely. He’s going in the right direction, that’s what you want,” Joseph said.

Jose Ortiz rode Make It Big Friday night, filling in for Edgard Zayas, who recently underwent shoulder surgery.

“I want to give credit to Edgard. He was going there to ride him, but then the shoulder surgery came up. Edgard was going to have surgery on a Monday, and he came out to work him on Sunday,” Joseph said. “Edgard showed the class and work ethic that he has. Full credit to him. He’s a big part of the team and he’s a big part of this horse’s success.”

Joseph also trains Triple Crown prospect White Abarrio, who captured his first two races impressively before finishing third in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Nov. 27.

“He’s doing well. We gave him a little freshening. He’s galloping, and he’s going to have his first breeze back [Sunday],” Joseph said. “He’s most likely going in the Holy Bull.”

The post Trainer Saffie Joseph Planning Make It Big’s Next Start appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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