Delaware, OH – Tomorrow’s Little Brown Jug will be a bitter-sweet finale for the three-year-old pacing colt Johny Rock. The son of Rocknroll Hanover is making his last start in North America before being shipped to New Zealand.
According to his trainer, John Butenschoen, Johny Rock is making his last start a memorable one. His new owners are already listed in the race program.
“My colt is going to race his ears off,” Butenschoen said. “There is no reason to hold back in see what happens either in the first or second heat. It’s all out for him.”
Johny Rock starts from post four in the third elimination heat (15th race) on the Jug’s extensive race program. He is listed as the 4-1 third choice in the field having to go against Sunfire Blue Chip and Twilight Bonfire.
“He (Johny Rock) is a good as ever,” Butenschoen said. “That last race of his at Pocono Downs, :25.2 opening quarter and he still came home in :27.2 and took his lifetime mark of 1:48. What better mile could you ask for heading into the Jug.”
Is it a sad time for Butenschoen in losing the best colt in his stable?
“Yes and no,” Butenschoen said. “We have had a great two years with this colt. He has won nine times, made nearly $400,000 but this is the business we are in. My owners, the VIP Stables, are in the business of buying, racing and selling horses. I hate to see him leave the stable but with money he has brought in and what he sold for my owners will reinvest and we will get some great new stock and racing with continue.
“I just want to see him do great tomorrow in the Jug and then later on in New Zealand.” Butenschoen explained. “If he does well and the new owners are happy then maybe we will do more business and have a great relationship.”
With only four of the 19 horses in the Jug having any real half mile experience, is that going to be an issue for Johny Rock?
“I don’t think the four turns will bother him at all,” Butenschoen said. “The Delaware track is very good and he should have no trouble handling the turns. Andy Miller has been driving him all along and says he is peak form and should fly around the track.
“One of the new owners from New Zealand, Paul Court from Christchurch is here, Botenschoen said. “And he is tickled to death with the horse. Very excited and can’t wait to see him race tomorrow.”
By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com