story by Frank Cotolo / quotes by Dave Briggs
Joviality S, with Brian Sears in the bike, rode a classic second-over trip to win the $600,000 Breeders Crown 2-year-old filly trot on Friday (Oct. 29) at The Meadowlands on a track rated “sloppy.” The winning time for the mile was 1:54.4.
Through the evening’s program, the weather deteriorated and it was pouring rain by post time for the freshman filly division’s Crown final. Leaving from post 10, Joviality S was mildly supported at 8-1. Sears said, “I was not happy with the draw.”
Still, Joviality S may have gone off even higher were it not for the fact that the outer most 10 post was a lively launching post all evening. There had already been an 18-1 winner early in the program and in the two Crown races before Joviality’s win, fillies leaving from post 10 completed the exactas at odds of 80-1 and 11-1, respectively.
Joviality left the gate with all intentions of finding a good spot early but was forced to sit fifth when Jiggy Jog S and favorite Lilbitalexis secured quick starts. As well, Sears had to keep Joviality S clear of breakers. As Jiggy Jog S cut the first quarter in :26.3, Ebbies Lady took a few steps bad enough to eliminate her chances, even though she returned to stride. And as Lilbitalexis came out and rushed to get the lead with co-favored Raised By Lindy pulling to chase her, Selfie Queen and Jaya Bae galloped out of the contest.
Out of trouble and with live cover, Joviality S sat second over as Raised By Lindy cut three-quarters in 1:26.1 and Sears guided the Chapter Seven filly to a photo-finish win over Raised By Lindy in 1:54.4, the first Crown win of 2021 for trainer Marcus Melander. Jiggy Jog S held on for third over Brickhouse Babe.
Joviality S defeated Raised By Lindy at Hoosier Park on Oct. 9 in a Kentuckiana Sales Stakes division and after winning an International Stallion Stakes race she finished second to Raised By Lindy in the Crown elim at The Meadowlands.
As it turned out from post 10, Sears said, “I couldn’t ask for a better trip,” and as for catching Raised By Lindy, he said, “She loves chasing them down, though [chasing in] the slop was difficult.”
She paid $18.40 to win. She has now earned $669,998 for her first racing campaign.
It was the eighth win of the season from 11 starts for Joviality, a Chapter Seven filly out of Muscle Hill mare Pasithea Face, bred by Am Bloodstock.
Courant, Inc. owns the filly, who became a New York Sires Stakes champion in the 2021 freshman filly-trotter division, winning the $200,000 final at Yonkers.
Trainer Marcus Melander was concerned with the 10 hole draw for the Crown final, too, as well as the horrible weather did not help his worry. Still, he praised Raised By Lindy, calling her “an amazing horse” and he went on to revel in his filly’s personality.
“She very angry, honestly,” he said, recalling some brazen behavior and how tough she was on the New York half-miles on the path to her sires-stakes championship.
“Before one of her New York Sires Stakes races at Yonkers,” he said, “I was going to lift up one of her legs and check her shoes and she kicked me on my leg. She just wants to be around herself. She doesn’t want to be bothered. But she really is a sweetheart and [the Crown win] says a lot about her, about how she’s so easy to handle and easy to be around and easy to train,” he said.
Melander attributes her ability to a naturally “great technique,” emphasizing again how she successfully handled the half-mile racing against the top fillies of her division.
“Going around the [four-turn] tracks in New York, she had no problem,” he said. “She’s so universal. She can come fast in the deep stretch and she can go [quickly] to the half.”
Melander won two Crown events last season with his resolute older trotter Gimpanzee and his barn began this season with expectations for a strong Hambletonian contender, Dancinginthedark M. Unfortunately that colt battled gait problems through a tough stakes campaign and the matter did not help him compete favorably, no less during the rise of eventual Hambletonian favorite and winner Captain Corey.
Joviality S is most likely done racing at two, Melander said. “She has been traveling a lot and it has been a long season.”
Brian Sears’ victory with Joviality S was his 35th win in a Crown event. He is listed as third in all-time earnings for Crown drivers with over $14 million.