“He acts like all he wants to do is be taken to a paddock,” said the 57-year-old Michigan native. “I’ve seen a lot of horses that like to rest and not use themselves up unless they are racing. They are the ones that turn their heads to the back of the stall and nap a lot, but this horse is probably the quietest I’ve ever seen. He does like to put his head out though and will pin his ears back if you don’t pay attention to him.”
O’Mara, who possesses 2,269 victories as a driver and 291 as a trainer, first interacted with the 5-year-old gelded son of Pinetucky and Delphi Jolene in 2012 when he guided him to victory in one $200,000 Indiana Gold Sires Stakes final and a third place finish in another.
|Dee Leftwich photo|
|Jolenes Pinehonker has five wins so far in 2014, with a bankroll of $36,600.|
Owned by Lester Raber, who also trained the horse until moving him to O’Mara’s barn last fall, Jolenes Pinehonker has amassed $351,445 in earnings in conjunction with a record of 59-19-7-11.
This season while under O’Mara’s care, the gelding has compiled a record of 13-5-3-3, which has been collected solely at Pompano Park. He only failed to hit the board when he started from the 10 hole in an $11,000 Open on Jan. 29 and when he made an unusual break on April 2 in a $10,000 Open Handicap. He has earned $36,600 at this point of the season and established his lifetime mark of 1:54.2 on February 26.
Jolenes Pinehonker’s next engagement will be back in the state of his birth, as he is in to go on Saturday (April 26) at Hoosier Park in a $22,000 Invitational Trot. He will leave from post position five, with O’Mara in the bike, as the horse that has banked the most purse money in the field this year in addition to trotting the fastest mile of 2014.
“We will see how he does after the ship up from Florida, where he did so well,” O’Mara said. “These waters are a little deeper though. There are some very nice horses competing here in Indiana and some horses don’t take shipping very well, but he is a good horse and should give a nice account of himself.”
O’Mara collected his 2,000 driving triumph at Hoosier Park, where he has been a consistent performer on the circuit for more than 10 years. Jolenes Pinehonker is one of only three horses he currently conditions and for the last several years he has not been driving as much as he used to.
O’Mara is certainly no stranger to quality horseflesh, however, as he conditioned world champion Jate Lobell, who retired as the third richest pacer of all time in 1987 ($2.2 million) and Breeders Crown winners Firm Tribute and Lassie’s Goal.
“Part of slowing down over the last couple years has been partly by design and partly due to the opportunities that were available,” he said. “I have three horses in my barn right now and I was very lucky to get this one. Lester Raber normally trains his own horses, but he had so many he asked me if I would take him. I appreciate Lester providing me with the opportunity as he is a great owner and does a good job with all his horses.”
The plan for the rest of Jolenes Pinehonker’s 2014 season will depend solely on the horse.
“Good horses certainly come in all shapes and sizes,” O’Mara said. “This one is a good one and we will keep him in Indiana to see how he performs against these types of horses. There is a lot of opportunity here with a lot of very nice people that I am fortunate to keep receiving drives from. We will just let him tell us where he belongs each week and go from there."