04/24/2012 1:00PM

Golden Gate Fields: Janetta's Ginger beats odds just to race


When Janetta’s Ginger won a head bob over Snackable to score in her debut last Thursday at Golden Gate Fields, she went off at 8.90-1, returning $19.80, quite an underlay for a 2-year-old filly who was probably bucking 10,000-1 odds ever to start a race.

The filly is by a sire, Wistle Wind, who was 0 or 3 in his career before running – and finishing last – on Saturday, two days after his daughter’s victory. Her dam, Famous Author, and her granddam, School Books, were both purchased from a Thoroughbred rescue facility. Her trainer, Jacob Aguilar, was saddling his first runner since 2010.

Janetta’s Ginger wasn’t even supposed to be born. She was conceived when Wistle Wind found his way into Famous Author’s pasture and bred the mare.

Janetta’s Ginger had to be bottle fed with milk from a Quarter Horse mare after her dam was unable to produce drinkable milk for her because of contaminated grass in her pasture. At three days old, she needed a plasma transfusion and later she was sent to the University of California Davis with a joint illness.

Her breeder, Cynthia Hoskins, said after Janetta’s Ginger win in the two-furlong race, “I’m still kind of in shock.”

”She’s quite a special little girl,” Hoskins said of Janetta’s Ginger, who is owned by Roberto Ocana. “So many friends helped. She’s had lots of love and attention.”

Hoskins has raced Quarter Horses at Los Alamitos and has had more than her share of losing photos. Needless to say the photo that sent Janetta’s Ginger to the winner’s circle is now her favorite picture.

“We’re excited that things clicked,” said Hoskins, who has ordered a number of photos for people who helped her with the filly, including Dr. Greg Ferraro at UC Davis.

Hoskins had to do some research to get Janetta’s Ginger registered as a Thoroughbred. She had little information on her granddam, School Books, and eventually tracked down her breeding. She discovered that her dam, Famous Author, was the final foal of the California stallion Slerp.

“I was thrilled to get her registered,” said Hoskins.

Janetta’s Ginger’s sire, Wistle Wind, was a $2,000 yearling purchase at the 2006 Pleasanton sale, and Hoskins felt he could have been a show horse if he hadn’t made it to the races.

Wistle Wind, now a 7-year-old gelding, has made four starts, all this year and all in maiden $8,000 claiming races at Golden Gate. He has finished last in all four.

“He’s had so many problems, and he’s still not 100 percent,” said Hoskins. “There have been multiple injuries to overcome to get into training.”

When at Hoskins’s farm in Milpitas, Calif., Wistle Wind suffered a pastern injury. Later, when training to become a jumper, he injured his left hock. And though a good-looking racy type, he has always been a picky eater who suffers from ulcers, Hoskins said.

He also has sired a Quarter Horse who has started at Los Alamitos.