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.