HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Bridlewood Farm homebred Palace Zip, a first-time starting Florida-bred by Palace Malice, came with a steady run down the center of the track to surge past Florida-bred Reina Mar and Mi Amore and give trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. 1,000 career wins in Sunday’s tenth race finale at Gulfstream Park.

Ridden by Edgard Zayas and sent off the 5-2 favorite in a field of eight, Palace Zip a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the all-weather course in 1:43.58 to capture the maiden claimer for 3-year-old fillies. It was Joseph’s lone starter on Sunday’s program and paid $7 to win.

“It’s amazing,” Joseph said after being recognized and posing for photos in a winner’s circle ceremony. “I remember the first one and here we are at 1,000. The first probably 200 took five or six years and it was a struggle, and the last 800 have come pretty quickly. We’ve gotten the opportunities from the owners and that’s what you need. Without the owners, you can’t do it. There’s no trainer without horses, and the owners produce the horses.”

A native of Barbados, the 37-year-old Joseph has won eight consecutive titles at Gulfstream Park since finishing second during the 2020-2021 Championship Meet. He has led the nation’s premiere winter gathering each of the past two years, dethroning 18-time winner and Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher.

Joseph is on track for a third straight Championship Meet title, leading the 2023-2024 stand in wins (47), starters (223) and purses earned ($2.37 million). Among his victories are six stakes winners including O’Connor (Chi) in the Grade 3 Harlan’s Holiday, Florida-bred R Harper Rose in the Forward Gal (G3) and Honor D Lady in the Royal Delta (G3).

Married with two children, Joseph is a third-generation horseman following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. At the age of 22, he became the youngest trainer to win the Barbados Triple Crown with Areutalkintome in 2009.

Joseph came to the U.S. two years later and finished seventh with his first starter, Go Zapper, April 10, 2011 at Tampa Bay Downs. His first win came June 19, 2011 at Calder Race Course with Artefacto, and he saddled his first stakes winner, Saraguaro, in the 2015 Foolish Pleasure at Gulfstream Park.

Math Wizard, a horse he claimed for $25,000, put Joseph on the national stage by winning the 2019 Pennsylvania Derby (G1), the trainer’s first graded-stakes victory. Joseph owns 33 career graded triumphs including Grade 1 success with White Abarrio in the 2022 Curling Florida Derby presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm at Xalapa, Mischevious Alex in the Carter Handicap and Drain the Clock in the Woody Stephens, both in 2021.

Joseph set career highs with 201 wins in 2021 and $10.66 million in purse earnings last year. He has trained three millionaires—Skippylongstocking, Math Wizard and White Abarrio—and ranked in the top 12 nationally in wins and/or purse earnings since 2020.

Other top horses trained by Joseph include multiple graded stakes-winning Florida-bred Officiating and multiple graded stakes-winners Tonalist’s Shape and Three Witches, last year’s winner of Gulfstream’s Princess Rooney (G3) that went on to be third in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1).

“We’re only as good as what the owners give us. That’s what makes trainers,” Joseph said. “We have to take care of them with the staff and that’s what makes me. I’m one person that is head of 80 people that make me and make us as a unit. It’s not just me, it’s a credit to the whole staff. It’s a whole crew that makes this success possible and I’m very thankful to be in this position.”

Return to the Feb. 25 issue of Wire to Wire