TJ’s Top Pick, the two-year-old standout trotting gelding from the Jeff Cullipher Stable, kicked off his five-year-old season with a win in his second start of the year at Miami Valley Raceway Thursday, Jan. 13. Guided by Trace Tetrick, the gelding won in 1:58.3.
Starting from post three, TJ’s Top Pick got away well from the gate and slid in right behind Ozma and Trevor Smith, who established fractions of :28.4, :59.2 and 1:28.4. In the stretch, Tetrick popped TJ’s Top Pick to the outside and he trotted home in :29.3 for the win by three-quarters of a length. Ozma was second over Chip It In and Jason Beattie for third.
TJ’s Top Pick was a bit of a surprise, paying $18.80 for the win. He is owned by Tom Pollack’s Pollack Racing LLC and Cullipher. Freeman Bontrager bred the Swan for All son, who now has 13 career wins in 52 starts with earnings nearing the $400,000 mark. His career best time was taken as a three-year-old in 1:53.2 at Harrah’s Hoosier Park, just a tick faster than his mark as a two-year-old.
TJ’s Top Pick ended his 2021 season in Indiana with a win before taking a month off. He started the first week of Miami Valley before coming back for his win Thursday. The Cullipher Stable also has his full sister, TJ’s Too Much, who is now four, and has a mark of 1:58. His half-sister, Meadowbrook Nola, was a two-year-old last year, taking a mark of 1:56.2 and another half-sister by Muscle Massive, Meadowbrook Nora, sold at auction last fall in the Hoosier Classic Yearling Sale for $45,000 and was purchased by Anthony Lombardi and Kales Company.
Earlier on the card, Swan Fine Lady also trotted home to victory for Tetrick. The four-year-old Swan for All mare moved after the half and took control around the final turn, drawing away to a two and one-quarter length win in 1:57.0. Fun Time Charlie and Dan Noble finished second over Namje and Kayne Kauffman for third.
Swan Fine Lady paid $7.20 for the win. She is trained by Mervin Schmucker for Rocking Meadows Stable. Kristin Wagler bred the mare, who earned a new career best time with the effort. She now has 20 wins and more than $89,000 in earnings. After going winless at two, she won 19 of 40 starts as a three-year-old, with a lot of those wins recorded on the Indiana Sired Fair Circuit. At one time, she was on an 11-race win streak on the ISFC.