Just Jenda was Larry Jones's last starter at Keeneland before he retires. The trainer began his illustrious career with his first stakes win at the beautiful Kentucky racecourse, so it would've been a storybook ending to go out with a win. However, the trainer's luck has been plagued with disaster the past two years, beginning with the tragic breakdown of his filly, Eight Belles, in the 2008 Kentucky Derby, the bumps and bruises of his trainee Friesan Fire (the post-time favorite for the 2009 Kentucky Derby, where he finished next to last) and most recently with Just Jenda's flip in the post parade before the Raven Run; so maybe the tale is true to form in its disparity with Jones's last chance at Keeneland ending with a strike-out.
To her credit, Just Jenda ran a credible race for a filly who had the wind knocked out of her only minutes before the gates banged open. While sitting next to last for most of the race, Just Jenda passed rivals and got up to third place before fading to fifth in the final few strides of the 7-furlong stakes race, her first start over a synthetic surface. In contrast, the favorite, Flashing, never fired, and finished third from last for her first time out of the money; Flashing had previously placed, but never won, over a synthetic surface (Presque Isle Downs).
Great reporting, everyone.
All sarcasm aside, Thoroughbredtimes.com has reported on the status of Friesan Fire. The A.P. Indy colt has been passed into the training care of Steve Asmussen. It seems that Jones's Vinery Stables connections are dispersing their horses to Asmussen with Jones's pending retirement; earlier, Kodiak Kowboy was transfered to Asmussen's barn. Kodiak Kowboy won the Grade I Vosburgh under Asmussen's care on October 3. Friesan Fire is looking for a comeback in most likely the Grade I Donn Handicap after surgery on a stress fracture in his left front ankle and a bone chip in his right front ankle.
Larry Jones's final stakes starter will be with Payton d'Oro at Churchill Downs at the end of November.