10/17/2013 3:07PM

Hoosier: St Elmo Hero's owner Barnard has a talented filly in Gold final

Balmoral Park
St Elmo Hero shown winning his 24th straight race back in 2011 for owner John Barnard.

John Barnard’s once-in-a-lifetime horse, St. Elmo Hero, will compete in a $32,000 Invitational pace Saturday night at Hoosier Park, but the 7-year-old gelding will be playing second fiddle to his youthful stablemate, the precocious trotting filly Hudson Jesse.

The daughter of Jailhouse Jesse—Angel Touched by Striking Sahbra, heads the field of 10 contestants in the $200,000 Indiana Sire Stake Gold level championship race for 2-year-old filly trotters.

Trained by William Crone and driven by Justin Dillander, Hudson Jesse is going into this first of Saturday’s four Gold level championships for members of the Indiana-bred freshman class flaunting five triumphs in six starts and a career best clocking of 1:57 in her last two outings.

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The last four of those races—all victories—have come since she was purchased by Barnard for an undisclosed amount on Sept. 2.

“We saw the first race she won at Hoosier,” said the Orland Park, Illinois owner whose stable base is Balmoral Park. “We liked the way she was going and we found out she was for sale. She’s a natural-gaited trotter. She’s very smooth and she goes out there and gives you all she’s got.

“She broke stride in her next race but that didn’t change my opinion of her. She had an incident in the race—she was hit across the face with a whip.

“The day of the Illini Classic, I went down to Springfield to take a look at her and bought her later in the day through (trainer) Nick Giberson. Tex Moat was listed as one of the owners. Tex broke the horse and they did a heck of a job getting her ready as a 2-year-old. I can’t say enough about the job they did.”

In her first start for Barnard, Hudson Jesse was victorious in a Silver level elimination and next time out she was crowned the Silver champion, winning by 5 1/2 lengths. Moving up in class to the Gold division, she responded with the back-to-back career best miles.

“She definitely has a lot of potential,” Barnard said. “I have about 20 horses in training and she’s one of the better ones.”

The best horse Barnard has ever had is St. Elmo Hero, whose 90-race résumé shows 39 wins, 16 seconds, 11 thirds and career earnings of $747,981. Last year the son of Western Hero—Crystal Crickett recorded a career best time of 1:49 1/5 at Mohawk Raceway and this year he has been successful in eight of 22 starts with earnings of $105,450.

The gelding is one of standardbred racing’s most incredible success stories. He was a 4-year-old making his first start when Barnard spent $8,750 to claim him at Balmoral Park in the summer of 2010.

“St. Elmo Hero won that start and just kept going,” Barnard said, recalling the 25-race winning streak that launched his career and ended when he lost a photo-finish to Art Professor in a $45,000 Open pace at Woodbine in April 2011.

 “He could have won 27 in a row—he lost his front shoe in the race he lost and the following week he came back and won.”

St. Elmo Hero’s race is the 11th on the 14-race card and Hudson Jesse’s is the seventh.

Another daughter of Jailhouse Jesse, Jessie’s Con, looks like the biggest threat to Hudson Jesse. Trained by Martin Rodgers and driven by Peter Wrenn, Jesse’s Con was second in her elimination, losing by 1 1/4 lengths, but she won the race before that by 3 1/4 lengths in 1:57.

Jailhouse Jesse also has a talented offspring in quest of the Gold title in the $200,000 colt and gelding trot. His name is Rose Run Parker and he has seven wins and a place in eight starts for trainer Ron Burke.

The other horse in field of seven with an eye-catching past performance sheet is Justice Jet with seven wins, three seconds and a third in 11 outings for trainer Roger Welch.

Speed Trap is the class act in the field of 10 that will contest the $200,000 Gold level championship for colt and gelding pacers. This will be his first start for co-owner and trainer Ron Burke and he will be driven for the first time by Rick Macomber, Jr.

Previously trained by owner-breeder Stanley Miller and driven by Sam Widger, Speed Trap has a claim to fame, the fastest time for a male pacer in Indiana Sire Stakes history, a 1:50 4/5 clocking in the second round of the Gold series.

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“I always knew he was a nice colt but I didn’t know he had that kind of speed in him,” Miller said after that Oct. 1 race.

Eight days later in his last start for Miller, he won by a head in 1:52 4/5, sending him into the Gold championship with seven victories and a second in eight starts.

With Macomber taking over as the driver of Speed Trap, Widger will be driving Macomber’s former fellow traveler, Bluehourpower, for trainer Wilbur Eash. Before being outdone by Speed Trap, Bluehourpower was the owner of the track record for 2-year-old geldings at 1:50 4/5 set in an earlier Gold level championship race on Sept. 11.

In the $200,000 Gold title race for 2-year-old filly pacers, the ladies with the most talent appear to be Nat A Virgin and Colors A Virgin, who will be racing as an entry with Candy’s A Virgin. All three are daughters of Always A Virgin.

Post time for the 14-race card at Hoosier on Saturday is 5:30 pm.