ANDERSON, Ind.-July 23, 2014-Special JJ kept her flawless freshman record intact using a perfectly timed rally late in the stretch to score in the featured attraction, the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Final for two-year-old trotting fillies, at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Wednesday, July 23. With a final time of 1:57, it was a lifetime best performance and third victory of the season for Special JJ. Leaving from post two in the field of ten, Special JJ and driver Trent Stohler were away a worrisome seventh while the heavily favored Crunchess Finale and Darrell Wright made their customary move to the front. Crunchess Finale made an uncharacteristic break through the opening panel in :27.2 leaving Diamond Dagger and Thomas Russell to inherit the lead. Peter Wrenn sent Sloane Elise to the front through the half-mile time in :58.2 but would quickly yield the top spot to Churita and Trace Tetrick. Churita continued to call the shots as the field approached the final turn but was feeling pressure from Golden Big Stick and Brad Hanners on the outside. As the field hit the third station in 1:28.1, the top pair was stride for stride turning for home. Churita was able to put away Golden Big Stick halfway down the stretch but her biggest threat was still behind her. Just as Stohler found late racing room, Special JJ found another gear. Using a :28 final panel, Special JJ powered home to get the win by a head. Churita made a costly break just before the wire and was placed third leaving Golden Big Stick to inherit the second place honors. Slightly dismissed by the betting public at 5-1, Special JJ returned $13.60 at the betting window. "She's done everything we've asked of her so far," Stohler noted after the victory. "We've taken our time getting her ready. She's still learning and figuring things out but does know how to win." Trained by Trent Stohler, who also co-owns the filly with The Kales Company, Special JJ now sports a lifetime bankroll of $52,100 for her connections. The daughter of Jailhouse Jesse-Rhonda T was also victorious in the $20,000 Indiana Sires Stakes elimination just last week at Hoosier Park. With the win, Special JJ also earned points for the $200,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Super Finals slated for October 18 at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. The Indiana Sires Stakes program will culminate with the top ten point earners from the previous $75,000 finals in each division returning to compete in the super finals. Indiana Sires Stakes action returns to Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Thursday, July 24 with the second of five $75,000 finals for the two-year-old pacing colt division. With a daily post time of 5:15 p.m., live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule. by Emily Gaskin,for Hoosier Park
Eight Michigan Sires Stakes (MISS) finals were held on the Monday, Sept. 2, Labor Day afternoon card at Hazel Park, with four going being the gate as non-wagering affairs prior to the regular program. Although for the most part the races consisted of short fields, eight different stallions were represented in the winner's circle. The quartet of races on the betting card got underway with the $35,172 MISS final for 2-year-old male pacers. The Brad Kramer-driven Beastly was fourth at the three-quarters but the gelded son of Stampede Hanover-Todd's Affair rushed past the competition in the final turn to draw clear by 10 1/2 lengths as the 1- 9 favorite in 2:02.2. Man The Torpedo (Skip DeMull) was a distant second, with Chasing Jake (Jason Merriman) third. Kelly Goodwin owns and trains Beastly, who won for the third time in six starts. Kramer sent Lady Laker to the lead from post 7 in the $39,377 MISS final for 3-year-old filly trotters, and by the :58.1 half she had a three-length lead, expanding the margin to seven lengths at the 1:27 three-quarters. The 1-9 favorite then cruised to the wire 15 lengths in front in 1:58. Defending MISS champion Kendall Marie (Peter Otten) finished second, with Crazy Sherry (Carl Putnam Jr.) third. A daughter of Lockkeeper-Hyercass, Lady Laker is trained by Al Tomlinson for owner David Vanderhyde. She was undefeated in four starts in 2012, and in 2013 her four wins also include the Hanover in mid-July at Balmoral Park. Her earnings went past the $100,000 mark with her MISS win on Monday. Ovewhelming favorite That'll Be The Rei successfully defended his MISS title as Mike Micallef directed the son of Cheyenne Rei-Unspeakable Joy gelding to a wire-to-wire, 1:55.1 victory in the $37,827 MISS final for sophomore male pacers. That'll Be The Rei defeated runner-up Lexington Avenue (Kody Massey) by five lengths, with Sharp Cheeser (Darrell Wright) third. Micallef also trains That'll Be The Rei for owner Dan Courtemanche. The win was his ninth in 14 starts this year and 18th overall in 24 career starts. That'll Be The Rei increased his earnings to more than $120,000 with the victory. Haberdashery busted the favorite brigade wide open in the last of the four betting races with a 50-1 upset in the $40,077 MISS final for 3-year-old male trotters. The 1-2 favorite Zeplin, driven by Goodwin, appeared on his way to victory but when he broke stride in the stretch, it paved the way for Haberdashery and driver Jeff Sweeney to go on to the 2:02.4 victory. Zeplin recovered to finish second, with Winwood Scout and driver DeMull third. A gelded son of Keystone Nordic-Ready Elegance, Haberdashery won for the first time in six career starts. The winner is trained and owned by Chris Allen. All four early races were won in relatively easy fashion. Lady Windsor started things off with a 2:00.1 victory for trainer-driver Wright in the five-horse, $35,272 MISS final for 2-year-old filly trotters. Keep It Sweet (Larry Lee Smith) was 13 lengths back in second, with Best Friend Always (Todd Buter) another 18 lengths behind in third. E.J. Underwood III owns Lady Windsor, a daughter of Coventry-Rhonda T. The career-best win was her sixth straight in seven career starts. Scrappy Alex and trainer-driver Putnam led wire to wire in the $35,222 MISS final for 2-year-old male trotters to score in 2:09.3. SS RC CR (Rex Putnam) finished 2 3/4 lengths behind in second, with Just A Kid (Tim Roach) third. A gelded son of Scrappy Robert-Classic Enterprise, Scrappy Alex is owned by Sam Heron. The win was his fourth in nine starts. Kramer and Kayla Grace romped to a 15 1/4-length win in 1:58 in the $34,372 MISS final for 2-year-old filly pacers. Sue's Your Daddy (Jeff Sweeney), TC Country (Otten) and Winwood Elle (DeMull) finished second, third and fourth, respectively, as the short field crossed the wire in post-position order. A daughter of He's All That-A Maze Of Grace, Kayla Grace remained undefeated in nine starts. She is trained by Marie "Ginny" St. Charles, who shares ownership withEd and Cheryl Sayfie's ECS Racing. Super Soph, whose nine-for-nine freshman season in 2012 included the MISS final, successfully defended that title with a career-best 1:53.2 score in the $34,627 contest for 3-year-old filly pacers. Jason Merriman was in the sulky as Super Soph led gate to wire to defeat Don't Stare (Keith Crawford) by 2 1/2 lengths, with Reiwatch (Kramer) third. A full sister to Canadian Hall of Fame inductee Admirals Express, Super Soph is a daughter of Admirals Galley-Platinum Card. Greg West trains Super Soph for owners Ryan Morefield, Brian Campbell and Mark Wamp. Her earnings now stand at more than $128,000. Submitted by Hazel Park Publicity Department
The $100,000 William C. Connors Memorial Trot for 3-year-olds was raced on a steamy night at Hazel Park Raceway in suburban Detroit. A field of six faced starter Adam Brownlee, including the new harness racing track record holder and favorite, Turtle Express.