08/29/2010 6:47PM

Just Jenda closes out career by winning Molly Pitcher

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Bill Denver/Equiphotos
Just Jenda, under Terry Thompson, closes out her career by winning the Molly Pitcher.

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Just Jenda went out a winner, decisively beating 3-5 favorite Malibu Prayer by 3 1/2 lengths on Sunday in the Grade 2, $294,000 Molly Pitcher Stakes at Monmouth Park.

Owners Larry and Cindy Jones announced before the race that the Molly Pitcher would be last race for their 4-year-old filly.
Just Jenda departed in style with yet another win at her favorite track. Eight for 17 in her career, Just Jenda was 4-0-1 in 5 races at Monmouth.

She lost her prior race here, a third-place finish to Malibu Prayer in the Lighthouse Stakes on June 26. Just Jenda was compromised in that race by a slow pace and pulled shoulder muscle that took some time to heal. She signaled her readiness for the final mission with a pair of bullet works leading up to the race, and then delivered a dynamite effort.

The Molly Pitcher unfolded ideally for Malibu Prayer, winner of the Grade 1 Ruffian Invitational Handicap at Saratoga in her last race. Breaking from the rail, Garrett Gomez let longshot Stage Trick set the pace while Malibu Prayer rated nicely in second.

Rounding the final turn, Gomez gave Malibu Prayer the signal and she quickly dispatched Stage Trick. No sooner did Malibu Prayer strike the front than Just Jenda pulled right alongside. They battled around the turn and as they straightened in the lane Just Jenda had the better momentum.

“When I asked her, she gave me a great punch,” said jockey Terry Thompson. “I just think it was meant to be. She wasn’t going to get beat today. She was on top of her game and was determined to go out a winner.”

It was an obviously emotional moment for the Joneses.

“It’s kind of sad,” said Cindy Jones who took over the training when husband Larry retired at the end of last season. “What a way to go out! Never did we imagine we’d have a filly of this caliber.”

The next step will be to let her down, and then prepare her for motherhood. Just Jenda will be bred to Proud Citizen.
“Hopefully, we’ll find us another Proud Spell in there somewhere,” Larry Jones said. “We gave her a lot of time after she pulled the muscle and we really focused on this race. This was our Breeders’ Cup.”

The time was 1:43.52 for the 1 1/16 miles on the fast track.
Milwaukee Appeal was third, 11 1/4 lengths better than Queen Martha with Stage Trick the trailer.

The scratch of Unforgotten reduced the field to five.
A Brilliant Idea wins first career race in Junior Champion

A Brilliant Idea rallied to beat the pacesetting Dos Lunas by 2 1/2 lengths in the $97,500 Junior Champion Stakes for 2-year-old fillies on turf.
One of the early trailers, A Brilliant Idea surged to score her maiden win in her third attempt.

Gomez was aboard for trainer Kelly Breen as A Brilliant Idea ($8.40) ran the one mile on the firm turf in 1:35.30.

Sleepless Dixie, also trained by Breen, was third as an uncoupled betting interest.