A Last Hurrah for Jujubee

A Last Hurrah for Jujubee

October 26, 2023 — by John Sacco for the Breeders Crown

ANDERSON, IN — Jujubee, the 2021 Breeders Crown 3-year-old colt trotting champion and Dan Patch Trotter of the Year, will stand at stud next year at Ivy Lane Farm in Goshen, Ind., for a fee of $4,000.

But before retiring to the stallion barn, the brown son of stallion Creatine, from the Cantab Hall mare La Cantera, will the lead the post parade Saturday night (Oct. 28) at Harrah’s Hoosier Park for the 11th race — the $672,000 3-year-old colt trot final.

Jujubee, owned by Jon Erdner, and trained by The Meadows-based Greg Wright Jr., was plagued by injuries and a chronic problem with his feet the past two years and never reached his expected heights as an older trotter.

“People kind of forgot about him the way the last two years have gone,” Wright said. “He was the talk of the trotting world as a 3-year-old. This will give people a chance to see how beautiful he is. He’ll like being under the lights one more time. It’s a nice farewell.”

Jujubee won 14 races in 2021, finishing no worse than second in 17 of 18 races. His victories included the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male trotters, Kentucky Futurity, Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final and Phil Langley Memorial.

Though not Hambletonian eligible, he won the Muscle Hill on Hambletonian day at The Meadowlands in 1:49.4, the fastest trotting mile of the day on a star-studded card that featured victories by names like Manchego, Atlanta, Bella Bellini and Hambletonian winner Captain Corey.

The colt also won the Kentucky Futurity in 1:49.3.

Jujubee was stalled in pursuit of greatness as an older horse. However, he had his moments as a 4- and 5-year-old performer.

Erdner believed Jujubee would flourish as he aged. He once called Jujubee “the horse of a lifetime.”

He finally decided to retire the horse after a rough trip Sept. 9 at Eldorado Scioto Downs. Jujubee concluded his career with 18 wins in 38 starts (.474 winning percentage). He finished in the money 28 times (.737 in the money) and had lifetime earnings of $1.22 million.

“It was time,” Erdner said. “This seems like the best fit for (Jujubee). I wanted to play the hand out (racing) but he just had too many injuries to overcome.”

Erdner worked with Robert Boni, owner and president of Northwood Bloodstock and well-known Standardbred expert, to find Jujubee the right place.

“I trust (Boni) and felt like he had Jujubee’s best interest and best place for (breeding) success.”

Boni lamented Jujubee’s injuries and pitfalls of the last two years but said “make no mistake, (Jujubee) had a great 3-year-old season.

“Unfortunately, issues stopped him from showing himself (the last two years). This is a great program he is moving into and it gives him a chance for success.”

The owner said he had a couple $1 million offers for the horse after the big 3-year-old season. Some industry sources say he even passed on a $2.5 million sale offer.

Erdner said depending on Jujubee’s success as a sire, he still could be syndicated.

Jujubee’s performances were all over the board this season, as extreme as finishing 10th at the Crawford Farms Open Trot at The Meadowlands early this season to winning the $21,200 Open Handicap Trot (July 29) at The Meadows in 1:51.1 – the fastest mile trotted in the track’s 60-year history.

“He’s been such a true champion,” Wright said. “He’s the only 3-year-old trotting colt to post two sub-1:50 miles.

“Training him is the thrill of a lifetime. I hope he passes his power and speed to his offspring and is a good sire. I hope one day I get to train one of his babies.”

Boni added that Jujubee becomes the first Breeders Crown champion and Trotter of the Year to stand in Indiana.

“This is a great opportunity for Jon, Indiana, and the horsemen in that prominent jurisdiction.”