Jolene Jolene might not be much when it comes to socializing in the barn, but trainer Jonas Czernyson doesn't mind as long as she is the life of the party on the racetrack.
The 2-year-old filly trotter heads to Saturday's $385,000 Peaceful Way Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack with a three-race win streak, including a 1 1/2-length triumph over Juanitas Fury in 1:55.1 in her elimination last weekend. She will start the final from post three with driver David Miller.
"She's very tough,” said Czernyson, who trains Jolene Jolene for owner Bill Donovan. "She's good on the track, but in the barn, you don't walk into her stall without asking if it's OK. You open the gate and ask if today is a good day to come and visit. She will let you know if it is or not. But she's good on the track.
"The fillies should have some attitude to them,” he added. "I like them to have it. The good ones all have some quirks to them that you have to try to work around.”
Jolene Jolene, who has won three of six races and is 6-1 on the morning line, will have her work cut out for her in the Peaceful Way, which features Merrie Annabelle Stakes winner Mission Brief. Last weekend, Mission Brief won her Peaceful Way elimination in a world-record 1:52.1 for trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras. She starts the final from post five and is the 3-5 choice.
"I think she's a freak,” said Czernyson, who has watched Jolene Jolene twice finish second to Mission Brief, beaten a total of 14 lengths. "She went (1:)52 under wraps up there. She looked very strong doing that.
"I think we can go with her, but of course we've got to have luck. We've been in (1:)54 and she's been in (1:)52, so we've got to drop a few more seconds, but (Jolene Jolene) is coming into herself pretty good and she's pretty brave right now. I'm just hoping for a little bit of luck and hoping we can go with her.”
Jolene Jolene is a daughter of 2009 Horse of the Year Muscle Hill out of the mare Celebrity Speedie, who is a half-sister to stakes winner Celebrity Sweedie. Jolene Jolene was purchased for $87,000 at last November's Standardbred Horse Sale. Her extended family includes Dan Patch Award winners Banker Hall and Broadway Hall.
"I liked the way she was put together and everything,” Czernyson said. "She had a presence about her. You could see already at the yearling sale that she was tough. It took us a little longer to get her broke, but she's been doing everything right.
"I never thought she was going to be what she is. She was doing what we asked her to do, but she never did anything more. She trotted nice, but there was never a ‘wow' (moment). Most of the time, those are the ones that turn out to be good too. They do exactly what they have to do and don't waste anything.”
Following the Peaceful Way, the plan is to send Jolene Jolene to Lexington's Red Mile for the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes. She also is eligible to the Matron and Breeders Crown, both in November.
"I'm hoping we can finish the year pretty good and put her away and hope for next year,” Czernyson said. "We're just going to take it one step at a time and see where she's at. She was in the Merrie Annabelle and that's a long season if we're going to race through it all. But as long as she stays healthy and fresh we're going to keep on going.” (HRC)