Jujubee giant on mainstage in Futurity victory

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Lexington, KY — Conditioner Greg Wright Jr. gave the public a taste of his trotting star Jujubee on Hambletonian Day following a strong campaign in the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes. A 1:49.4 winner on the sport’s biggest stage, Jujubee took a $75,000 shot at the $561,000 Kentucky Futurity and fired a 1:49.3 victory on Sunday (Oct. 10) at The Red Mile.

Jujubee took a $75,000 shot at the $561,000 Kentucky Futurity and fired a 1:49.3 victory on Sunday (Oct. 10) at The Red Mile. USTA/Mark Hall photo.

Leaving from post five, Jujubee jetted off the car to lead the field heading to a :27.1 first quarter before yielding control to Cuatro De Julio moving for the backside. However, driver Andrew McCarthy spent little time in the pocket and circled Jujubee back to the point through a :54.2 half as Really Fast crept forward uncovered into the final turn.

Jujubee continued to roll as Really Fast broke stride midway around the final turn, leaving Ahundreddollarbill — the other supplement into the race — first over to three-quarters in 1:22.4. He gained little ground coming into the stretch, where Jujubee blew away from the field. By the eighth pole, he accelerated to an open-length advantage over Cuatro De Julio giving pursuit from second and flew by the beam 5-1/4 lengths in front. Fly Light closed for third and Johan Palema finished fourth.

“It’s kind of been a long weekend — unfortunately a few of them didn’t perform as well as they can, but that’s harness racing. There’s good days and bad days and it ended great today,” Andrew McCarthy said after the race. “It gives me goosebumps — this horse, himself, and then it’s just so special to have the family out here this weekend. It’s just terrific.”

McCarthy made the call to drive Jujubee over Ahundreddollarbill, who he steered to victory in the $479,135 Canadian Trotting Classic on Sept. 18. Having picked up the drive on Jujubee for the $253,000 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes final, McCarthy said that was when he had somewhat made his decision.

“It kind of started after I won the (Pennsylvania) Sires Stakes with this horse,” McCarthy said. “Neither of them were eligible, but Greg and Jon (Erdner) asked if I had a drive in the Futurity and I said no. They asked me if I wanted to drive him, I said ‘Yes.’ By supplements, I wasn’t a hundred-percent sure at that stage if Ahundreddollarbill was going to supplement, so I kind of committed to this horse. It was a tough call, but this horse just feels like an absolute next-level great horse to me. That’s what I said to Greg when I came back after the (Pennsylvania) Sires Stakes final. I showed him my arm — I had goosebumps all down it — and I said, ‘There’s only one other horse that’s done that to me.’”

Through 21 starts, Jujubee has amassed $630,607 for owner-breeder Jon Erdner, who last visited the winner’s circle at The Red Mile in 2008 when One Tough Lass won the Kentucky Filly Futurity. Along with wins in the Muscle Hill and Pennsylvania Sires Stakes championship, Jujubee also won the $100,000 Phil Langley Memorial at Harrah’s Hoosier Park before shipping to Lexington.

Jujubee’s connections celebrated in the floral chair after his victory. USTA/Mark Hall photo.

“He’s just a good, simple horse,” trainer Greg Wright Jr. said after the race. “He takes care of himself, and we came right from Hoosier so it’s been wonderful jogging him on this track and training him. I mean, I don’t know how much better he can get. He’s done everything pretty simply.”

Wright Jr. said the choice to supplement Jujubee into the Futurity was simple for Erdner, and Erdner relayed that along with his plans to pay his Creatine colt into the Breeders Crown.

“The horse deserves a chance,” Erdner said. “He’s a great horse and I’d like to see him go as far as he can go.”

The 129th Kentucky Futurity was sponsored by Hunterton Farms, Stoner Manor Inc. and Menhammar Stuteri AB.

Following the trophy presentation for the Kentucky Futurity, The Red Mile honored the Grand Circuit meet’s leading driver and trainer. Yannick Gingras clinched the driving title with 13 wins over Dexter Dunn, who scored eight victories through the fortnight. A driving hat trick by Ake Svanstedt propelled him into a five-way tie for third with Brian Sears, Tim Tetrick, Andrew McCarthy and David Miller — the latter two scoring a double on the closing card.

Svanstedt nonetheless took the training title from his hat trick with eight victories through the meet. Tony Alagna took second with his training double on Sunday to total seven wins for the meet and Domenico Cecere finished third with six.

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