LEXINGTON, KY — If the 3-year-old harness racing pacing filly Single Girl stamped herself Tuesday as the undisputed 2021 Queen of the Fairs, then trainer-driver Randy Jerrell was the King. At least on this day.
Single Girl (Always A Virgin) swept all seven county fair races for her division this spring and summer but saved the best for last as she rolled to a 10 1/2-length victory over Ahoy in the $25,000 Kentucky Proud Series fair final at the Corbin at The Red Mile meet. Off at 1-to-20 odds, she was the most dominant of the eight final winners and did so with a mile in 1:50.2 that lowered her career mark by almost two full seconds.
Single Girl also was the last of four straight winners for Jerrell as a driver and the third that he trained. The 3-year-old trotter Timo Kemp started the streak, followed by the 2-year-old pacer Señor Sharpsburg. Jerrell then also drove the 2-year-old trotting filly Tilmylastday As for trainer Anette Lorentzon to victory, with Single Girl providing the explanation mark on the afternoon. Top Honors finished second in the 2-year-old filly pace to start off one of the biggest days in Jerrell’s long career.
“I knew I had a good shot with most of them,” said Jerrell, from Kevil, Ky., near Paducah. “The one pacing filly that finished second, I thought she had a shot to win. But she raced super. The way they all raced last week, we knew we had a good day coming. Timo was a surprise. I had no idea he could trot in 1:55. Blew me away.”
Jerrell was pragmatic about Single Girl, whose competition gets stiffer as she pursues the Kentucky Sire Stakes series. “Today might be her last shot to win a race for a while, so I did a little time trial,” Jerrell said. “I wanted to see what she had in her.”
“That was my new lifetime mark also, by two-fifths,” Jerrell said of driving his fastest mile ever. “She’s been a dream racing around the fairs this year… She went in 1:50 by herself today. Surely we’ll get her in with a field of horses and not have to put her on the front end. Maybe we’ll see 1:49-and-change.”
Jan Banks of Lexington leases Single Girl for racing from owner-breeders Missy Robertson and Susanne Johnson of Paris, Ky., who were joined by a crowd of family and friends cheering on Single Girl.
“She just flows,” Banks said. “She just does it so easy. She knows we’re here for her, and when she hears us, she always puts her ears up when she goes by. She knows what this is about.”
Robertson concurred. “Certainly she’s learned her job,” she said. “Of course she gets along beautifully with her driver-trainer, who knows her so well and knows what to do. I think a great deal of it is the cohesion they have.”
Johnson called the fair streak “quite a ride. This season has just been so wonderful.”
Timo Kemp racing to help co-owner’s neighbor in need
Randy Jerrell was so hot that he won one of the races as an owner as well, campaigning Timo Kemp with his sister, Joni Jordan, also of Kevil.
“I’ve had some sire stakes days and would get close,” he said of Tuesday’s haul. “I’ve won two or three Sire Stakes finals. But we haven’t had fair finals go for $25,000 in the past. Ten or 15 was the most we’ve gone for. It was just a great day.”
Jerrell might not know it until he reads this, but his sister has committed a percentage of Timo Kemp’s purse earnings to help her paraplegic neighbor Felecia “Tootsie” Fleming go to a top-flight rehab center in Texas after the single mom was in a devastating car accident.
“I decided that instead of just giving her money, I’m going to do something to help her stay positive,” Jordan said, adding that she hadn’t yet mentioned it to Jerrell. “I told her, ‘I want to give you a percentage of what Timo makes this year during the fairs.’ She was just floored. She’s wanting to go to this rehab. People have been raising money, and she’s waiting to get enough to go.
“After I decided to this, I came into the barn and told Timo, ‘We’re going to work on a little project together, and we’re going to do this for Tootsie.’ My daily devotional was about happiness and doing for others. I told my mother and boyfriend, ‘This is a God thing and a sign I need to do this.’ And every time he has raced, I’ve told him, ‘Remember, we’re doing this for Tootsie, and do your best, buddy.’ He was second the first time, and he’s won every time since. I text her after the race, and she is just beside herself. She’s followed him with his racing. It’s been a very spiritual thing for me.”
Timo Kemp now has three straight wins, including at 26-1 odds the prior week. “It’s just awesome to me,” Jordan said. “It’s like he knows and he’s doing it for her.”
Jazzy Jules sentimental winner for Martha Gray
Trainer Jackie Gray of Lebanon, Ky., had a big day Tuesday, with Jazzy Jules taking the 3-year-old filly trot at odds of 31-1 and Foolish Profit finishing second in the 3-year-old pace for colts and geldings. Gray also owns and bred Jazzy Jules, who earned her first victory in 17 starts.
Gray and his wife, Martha, bred and own Jazzy Jules, whose dam, Delmartha, was named for Martha.
“It was great, especially having a homebred,” Martha said of the win, adding with a small laugh, “I’m going to cry, because I lost her mama this spring. Delmartha was a good mare for us. She was second and third in the Breeders’ Cup as a 2- and 3-year-old.
“I knew this filly had it in her. I kept asking every race which Jules is going to show up today. We were just fortunate enough that she showed up on the right day. We use the fairs to prep our 2- and 3-year-olds. It’s like you send a kid to school. It’s lessons learned. We knew she was having a little trouble getting around the smaller (fair) tracks, and we were hoping the big track would help her. Which obviously it did. Winning a fair final is like winning a Sire Stakes to us, because we don’t have million-dollar horses to race. These are our homebreds. It’s special. We’ve been married 40-something years, and that’s where we spend a lot of time – at the Kentucky fairs.”
Foolish Profit lost by only a neck, or a big day would have been even bigger.
“Almost,” said Foolish Profit’s owner, Stanley Wildharber of Barlow, Ky. “I was just hoping for a check. I knew they’d go in about 1:51. I never dreamed he could go that fast. He’s a homebred, had a super year – one third and the rests were first or seconds. Tickled to death. Love the fair program.”
Over the winter and into the spring, Roger and Debbie Cullipher have around two-dozen “babies” at their farm in Calvert City, Ky., where they have a 37-stall barn, training track and paddocks. Those young horses include the 2-year-olds that their son Jeff buys to subsequently race at Hoosier Park and The Meadowlands. But with Jeff and other clients having picked up their horses, the Culliphers currently are down to one horse they own. But that’s a good one to have as the 2-year-old trotter Little Muscle won the fair finals finale by a half-length over odds-on favorite Joygo. As trainer-driver, the only one Roger has to share the purse with is his wife.
The Culliphers quit going on to Hoosier Park last year. “We sold our camper,” he said. “I told her, ‘I’ll just fool with a few and race at the fairs and stay at home.’”
Of what he calls “semi-retirement,” Roger said, “Usually I’ve got a bunch of them down there (in the winter and into the spring), but then in the summer I don’t.”
Said Debbie: “We’ve owned our home for 36 years. This is the first time that we’ve lived in it the whole year, because we were always at the racetrack.”
Roger said he’ll turn Little Muscle out until early September, when he’ll get him ready to race at Oak Grove’s harness meet just an hour from Calvert City.
“I’ll race him next year,” he said. “Then after their 3-year-old season (when there’s no more fair racing), I usually sell them anyway — unless somebody wants to buy him this year. All of mine are always for sale.”
The Corbin at The Red Mile meet concludes with racing this coming Sunday, Monday and Tuesday in July. First post is 1 p.m. ET. The meet is part of the collaboration between Kentucky Downs’ ownership and Keeneland to build a harness track in Corbin, Ky., and a historical horse racing track extension in nearby Williamsburg.
The Kentucky Proud Series fair finals winners:
2-year-old Fillies Pace: Lookatmyrapsheet. Owner: Arnold White, Hazard KY. Trainer: Charlie Conrad. Driver: Charlie Conrad. Time: 1:53.4. Win mutuel: $5.40. Margin: 2 1/2 lengths.
3-year-old Fillies Trot: Jazzy Jules. Owner: Jack Gray, Lebanon KY. Trainer: Jack Gray. Driver: James Stiltner II. Time: 1:57.1. Win mutuel: $65.20. Margin: Three-quarters of a length.
3-year-old Colts & Geldings Pace: Mayhem Like Me. Owner: James Redfern, Lebanon KY. Trainer: Randy Crisler. Driver: Randy Crisler. Time: 1:51.1. Win mutuel: $4.60. Margin: neck.
3-year-old Colts & Geldings Trot: Timo Kemp. Owner: Randy Jerrell and Joni Jordan, Kevil, Ky. Trainer: Randy Jerrell. Driver: Randy Jerrell. Time: 1:55.1. Win mutuel: $5.60. Margin: 5 lengths.
2-year-old Colts & Geldings Pace: Señor Sharpsburg. Owner: Lucinda Belcher, Elkhorn City, KY. Trainer: Randy Jerrell. Driver: Randy Jerrell. Time: 1:55.2. Win mutuel: $3.40. Margin: Three-quarters of a length.
2-year-old Fillies Trot: Tilmylastdaya As Time. Owner: ACL Stuteri Ab, Paris KY. Trainer: Anette Lorentzon. Driver: Randy Jerrell. Time: 1:59.1. Win mutuel: $20. Margin: nose.
3-year-old Fillies Pace: Single Girl. Lessee: Janet Banks. Trainer: Randy Jerrell. Driver: Randy Jerrell. Time: 1:50.2. Win mutuel: $2.10. Margin: 10 1/2 lengths.
2-year-old Colts & Geldings Trot: Little Muscle. Owner: Roger Cullipher, Calvert City, KY. Trainer: Roger Cullipher. Time: 1:57.1 Driver: Roger Cullipher. Time: Win mutuel: $8.40. Margin: half-length.