Columbus, OH --- Joseph Hemingway, Valarie Sutton and Sandbur Farms’ JJ Shark was an apparent late-bloomer, but hit his stride in an undefeated December to earn Horse of the Month honors from the U.S. Trotting Association.
|New Image Media photo|
|JJ Shark was a 1:52 winner for Randy Waples in the Valedictory final.|
The son of Cam’s Card Shark-Give Me Life swept two preliminary legs and the $60,600 final of the Valedictory Series at Woodbine during the month just ended.
Before December JJ Shark’s best performance was in a leg of the Summertime Series, but he didn’t seem to advance after that and went off at a ripe 21-1 in the Valedictory Series opener with Randy Waples in the sulky. Waples found a spot in fourth and then steered JJ Shark through a furious drive home in 1:52.1.
In the second leg the pair were parked every step of the way but came clear to win in identical time -- but this time as the $1.85-to-a-dollar favorites.
In the final at Woodbine, raced on Boxing Day, the Peter Hamilton trainee was parked early, in eighth, and came three-wide in the middle stages and won going away in 1:52 as the odds-on betting choice.
“I didn’t really know the horse,” Waples said in the winner’s circle following the Dec. 8 Valedictory opener. “He raced up here in the summer and did well. He won a leg of the Summertime Series at Mohawk and that’s a pretty good series, so he’s certainly got some speed to him. Some of his lines look very good and he’s just a beautiful horse to drive.”
Waples’ remarks didn’t seem like much a valedictory (a parting statement) for JJ Shark, but rather it sounded like “look out, I’ve arrived!”